“How do I want to live out the second half of my life?” It’s a pretty big question that many of us don’t think about on a daily basis. Musician and author, Daryl Stevenett, not only thinks about it, he’s got his answer and is living it. He plays music, writes books here in the Hills, and then he leaves for a few colder months to do the same at the ocean. Among many successful endeavors in his life, he’s produced over 200 jingles and written eight books. His website, Stevenett.com, has some of the richest music and information I’ve found in the Hills.
He is likely part of the rebranding Deadwood was looking for when they hired a consultant a couple years back. The consultants suggested Deadwood try to make itself more of a music destination. I give credit to the Nugget Saloon and a couple others for taking the steps to do this. They did good when they found Daryl or he found them.
Daryl is a finger-style guitarist who’s traveled extensively playing music. If I had to describe Daryl’s voice in print, I’d say it resembles that of Kenny Rogers and Eric Clapton. Check out his song “Best of Friends” on his website and tell me if you’d agree. Listen to “Carol of the Bells” for a taste of his finger-style picking. His harmonica gives one more hue to his sound pallet that you won’t want to miss. Although I believe it’s best to hear him live; he makes many of his recordings available on his website for listening, and “Here Comes the Sun,” an instrumental album, can be downloaded.
“I Believe in Hammocks” is not only a statement from Daryl but the title of one of his eight books available on Amazon. He’s lived, and continues to live; a fascinating life and his books are hard to put down. Like hammocks, Daryl radiates a peace of mind and says he gets this in part from his father’s vision; that always looked for the positive and planned for it, and of his mother’s perseverance; which included driving him 100 miles one way each week to guitar lessons. His album “Hymns Latina” includes some of his mother’s favorite hymns which Daryl chose to arrange with a Latin percussion sound.
Taking a little excursion in conversation, we talked a little equipment tech talk. Daryl has the latest gear and knows how to use it well; he has a very full sound that will draw you in. As a matter of fact, that’s exactly what happens when he puts a speaker outside; people hear him playing and are drawn in. I also found it intriguing that he’s planning to have a live recording on YouTube soon and perhaps another one with a tutorial on some of his equipment; pedals in particular.
When I asked him about other Black Hills musicians he shared with me that Hank Harris has a terrific new CD coming out soon. He spoke of appreciating Steve Thorpe’s music and of strong character in the musician Yancey DeVeer who’s been playing in Deadwood for years. I leave you with a couple good quotes from Daryl, “Sometimes it’s your dreams that keep you from going crazy,” and, “Faith helps me get through the tough stuff; we don’t know the time line, and it helps me function.” Thanks Black Hills for taking time to enjoy the music!
• You can hear Daryl Stevenett during Wild West Songwriters Festival from 6 to 9 p.m. Oct. 13 and 14 at The Nugget Saloon in Deadwood.