Bob White
Danny Casavant
Jean Savoie
& Vic Bicego

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Danny Casavant
Lead Electric Guitar & Keyboards, Lead & Background Vocals

Danny brings decades of experience to the stage. Playing both the 6 and 12 string electric guitars, as well as the exotic (made in Nashville) Jerry Jones electric sitar (see GEAR page), he delivers a wide array of stringed sonic textures and techniques. His keyboard playing is both tasteful and utilitarian - always playing only what the song requires. As well, Danny is both a strong harmony singer and a distinctive lead vocalist. Danny is a dedicated, creative and passionate musician who is both a true professional and a natural entertainer.

Danny was born in Tisdale, Saskatchewan in 1951 -- the first son of Joe and Margaret Casavant. His mother was a classically trained pianist and music teacher and his father was a farmer/RCAF airman who loved to dance and sing for the joy of it. The family moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba and it was in their new home that Danny took his first guitar lessons, at the tender age of nine. His interest in the guitar was sparked and fuelled by the rock and country sounds of guitarists Scotty Moore (with Elvis), James Burton (with Rick Nelson), Chuck Berry, Duane Eddy, The Ventures, Carl Perkins, Merle Travis, and especially "Mr. Guitar" Chet Atkins, as well as all the great radio hits of the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Danny was very focused on learning and developing his guitar skills, and as he entered his early teens he began playing with loose little groups of like-minded young rock and rollers. What happened that momentous night in 1964 on Ed Sullivan's television variety show would prove to be the ignition point for a lifetime as a musician, as well as the common bond among all the BobCats. The Beatles and the subsequent wave of British pop bands that turned the music world on its head would totally captivate Danny, and by age 14 he had joined his first band, The Collectors. (who were at first unaware that another band existed on the West Coast with this name - the group that later became famous as Chilliwack)

Like many of the countless other rock and roll groups who sprung up in Winnipeg during this period, The Collectors were very serious about becoming a great band. Taking their inspiration from local heroes Chad Allen and The Reflections (later The Expressions, and yet later The Guess Who), The Collectors paid rapt attention to them and other regionally prominent bands such as Neil Young's Squires, The Devrons (including future Guess Who vocalist Burton Cummings), The Shondells, The Quid (later The Fifth), The Lovin' Kind, Sugar And Spice, The Orphans, The Jury, and many others. His time with The Collectors afforded Danny his strong foundation in rock and pop music. Specifically, guitarists Randy Bachman, Kurt Winter, and Greg Leskiw (Guess Who), Ralph Watts (Pink Plum/The Fifth), and Donny Thompson (The Shondells) rank among the primary influences on Danny's rock and pop guitar style.

It was in this formative period that Danny first crossed paths with his future musical partner, Bob White (the man who puts the Bob in BobCats). At the time, Bob was a fixture on the Winnipeg rock and roll scene, playing in a variety of his early bands on the local community club and school dance circuit.

In 1969, The Collectors disbanded and Danny went on to play with a variety of Winnipeg groups. The Power Company, Mantae, and Plum Tucker propelled him into the 1970s, and when the liquor laws changed, younger bands started playing in bars. This changed the freewheeling musicians' focus to more of a current radio hits format. Danny did his time playing in Winnipeg bars, as well as road work that took him into Saskatchewan, Ontario, and the rural and northern areas of Manitoba.

In the early 1970s, Danny had an opportunity to take private guitar lessons with jazz genius Lenny Breau. He had long admired Lenny on CBC television shows and at local gigs, so this was an incredible experience that lasted about a year. This mentoring had a profound and lasting effect on Danny as a guitarist and as an overall musician.(see Lenny Breau)

Danny went on to formally study music; first at the University of Winnipeg and, later, two years of intensive jazz and popular music study at Grant MacEwan Community College in Edmonton. Bob Cairns of the Tommy Banks Orchestra was Danny's guitar instructor and, along with Lenny Breau, a great influence on Danny's jazz stylings.

Returning to Winnipeg in 1976, Danny played in the house band at the upscale Town and Country town club - the same chair Lenny Breau occupied in the mid 1960s. Through this prestigious gig, Danny came into contact with many other Winnipeg musicians and songwriters. After about six months at the "T & C", he moved on and played with Dale Russell (later a member of Jim Kale's version of the Guess Who). From there, Danny worked live and recorded with numerous other songwriters and musicians: Tom Jackson ( CBC's "North Of 60", The Huron Carol); comedy duo McLean and McLean (that's Danny's guitar on the infamous "Dolly Parton's Tits"); singer/songwriter Bill Iveniuk's debut album on El Mocombo Records "Bills,Bills,Bills", singer/songwriter Len Udow (later multiple instrumentalist/singer with Fred Penner), Juno Award Winner children's entertainer Fred Penner; Dan Donahue (his RCA LP "Motion"); Graham Shaw's debut Capitol album (1980 hit singles "Can I Come Near", "Roll All Night"); several of famed feminist singer/songwriter Heather Bishop's albums, and a host of others.

A particular high point in this highly active phase of Danny's career was traveling to Los Angeles for the sessions that produced the Capitol Records debut LP, "Graham Shaw And The Sincere Serenaders" - a Juno Award winner for Shaw in 1980. Danny was with this band from 1978 to 1980 and he considers his involvement in this band and the exposure it afforded him as a guitarist to be a pivotal point that moved him onto an even higher profile career path.

In this period. Danny's involvement with CBC Winnipeg as a session musician, which had begun in the early Shaw days, progressed to where he was the first-call guitarist on CBC dates. In honour of Danny, CBC producer and radio host Ross Porter arranged to showcase Danny on the national CBC Radio show "Jazzland" in 1981.This national exposure garnered much attention from musicians and writers across the country.
Danny was also kept busy with many private recording projects, jingles, and demos in various Winnipeg studios. Many of the projects of this era were produced by Juno award winning music producer Dan Donahue at Wayne Finnucan's studio, where Danny was a mainstay.

While still with Graham Shaw, in 1979 Danny first linked up gig-wise with Bob White for the first time when he substituted for him in Greg Leskiw's (of Guess Who and Mood Jga Jga fame) LesQ band, while Bob was touring with Lisa Del Bello's band, warming up for Burton Cummings. Later, Bob and Danny teamed up to back Rick Neufeld ("Moody Manitoba Morning") in his Prairie Dog Band.

By 1981, the two (playing dual lead guitars) were in Peter Jordan's ( star of CBC-TV's "It's A Living") Rocki Rolletti Band. Frequent live TV appearances with Rocki set the stage for Bob and Danny's future Vancouver collaborations, Fat City (1983 -89) and, ultimately, The BobCats (2002 to present)

Before leaving Winnipeg for Vancouver in 1983, Danny was well known in the Roots and Blues scene, often playing with Big Dave McLean, Houndog, Brent Parkin, Tom Jackson, Len Udow, Dan Donahue, Gary Preston, Shingoose, and Rick Neufeld. In 1981 Winnipeg Folk Festival founder and Artistic Director Mitch Podolak invited Danny to be the Folk Festival's house guitarist, where he backed up such legendary artists as John Hammond and Amos Garrett.

Amos, best known for his liquid gold guitar solo on the chart-topping 1972 Maria Muldaur hit "Midnight At The Oasis" had previously played with such stellar acts as The Dirty Shames, Ian and Sylvia's Great Speckled Bird, and Paul Butterfield's Better Days. Podolak thought Amos and Danny would be an inspired guitar match-up, and their 1981 Winnipeg Folk Festival main stage appearance proved him right.

Amos' second guitarist, Colin Linden (later a noted producer with Bruce Cockburn and others, as well as a solo artist and member/producer of Juno award-winning supergroup "Blackie and the Rodeo Kings) had a scheduling conflict, and after the Winnipeg show Amos asked Danny to join his touring band, playing rhythm/second lead guitar as well as singing. A 1982 summer tour from Victoria to Toronto opened many doors and was the experience that led Danny to eventually relocate from Winnipeg to Vancouver in 1983. The thriving West Coast blues and R&B scene of the early 80s, spearheaded by Tom and brother Jack Lavins' Powder Blues Band, Jim Byrnes, Doc Fingers, Jerry Doucette, Al Foreman, and Hans Staymer's R & B Allstars, was perfect for Danny, who was welcomed into the musical community as a first-rate guitarist adept at many styles. Danny was often heard at such venues as the Anchor, The Savoy, The Spinning Wheel, The Town Pump, and Darby D. Dawes.

Fate stepped in when Danny met up with his old Winnipeg buddy, Bob White. The two realized they could do well as a team, and they dubbed their new duo "Fat City". This unit gigged steadily over the next six years, initially as a duo and later as a trio, adding veteran Vancouver drummer Chris Nordquist, and finally as a quartet with the addition of Adam Rohrlick on saxophone/guitar/keys. Dave Jonnson often was the drummer when Nordquist had other bookings.

With the dissolution of Fat City in 1989, Bob went into an eight year stint with the Surreal McCoys, the house band at the famous Roxy nightclub on Granville Street in Vancouver. Danny replaced Lindsay Mitchell (Seeds Of Time, Prism) in Billy Cowsill's band from 1989 to 1991, and, after departing, added a cameo track for "On The Floor Of Heaven" - the 1993 Sony Music debut of Cowsill's new band, The Blue Shadows. After Cowsill, Danny went on to tour Canada and the United States with Canadian children's music icon Fred Penner's "Cat's Meow Band", playing major concert halls including Los Angeles' Universal Amphitheatre.

Danny also toured Eastern and Western Canada with then new and on the rise country artist Lisa Brokop and recorded on her debut album "My Love" on acoustic and electric guitar. Danny was the featured soloist on Lisa's Hagood Hardy produced single "Time to Come Back Home". He also toured Western Canada with Toronto based country BMG recording artist Joel Feeney appearing in concert with the Prairie Oyster Band and Wynonna Judd. He toured and recorded in the early to mid 90s with various other artists on a freelance basis. Danny was chosen to fill the guitar chair on recording sessions for the CKWX radio station's "Winners' Circle" songwriting contest series of CDs produced by Nashville heavies Ralph Murphy and Bobby Wood in the early 90s. He appeared on 3 of the 5 CD releases of that project. Danny was nominated as guitarist of the year for the West Coast Music Awards in '92.

In 1993 he linked up with another of his original guitar heroes from the early Winnipeg days, Randy Bachman (Guess Who, Bachman Turner Overdrive). Danny and Randy had a mutual association with, and great respect for the late jazz guitar legend Lenny Breau (both were Breau's students - Randy in the early 60s, Danny in the early 70s). Randy hired Danny as a researcher for his new "Guitarchives" record label, giving him the task of seeking out rare recordings of Lenny for a forthcoming series of Breau CD retrospectives. Danny eagerly accepted the undertaking, and until 1996 was Bachman's right hand man on the Lenny Breau project. While working with Randy on the Breau project he also had the honour and pleasure of participating with Randy at the "Taking Care of Business" guitar marathon, held in Vancouver in 1995. This live "guitarathon" set a Guinness world record for the longest live performance of a rock song. Danny was also heard playing guitar on a national CBC radio Canada Day special broadcast, aired live from Winnipeg in 1995. This session featured Randy playing his hits "Looking Out For Number One" and the classic 'Taking Care Of Business" along with Danny, fellow Winnipeggers bluesman Brent Parkin and jazz guitarist/producer/composer Greg Lowe (member of the first incarnation of Greg Leskiw's "Swing Soniq" trio).

Danny also has the distinction of having been the producer and guitarist for famed sci-fi writer Spider Robinson's music on the 1997 CD ROM release, based upon his "Callahan's Crosstime Saloon" writings. Amos Garrett is featured on this release along with Vancouver session heavies Brian Newcombe (electric bass), Gerry Adolphe (drums), Bill Runge (saxophones), Tom Colcolough (clarinet), Mike Creber (keyboards), Cathy St. Germain (BG vocals), and Ron (Rocko) Vaugeois (BG vocals).

Danny has been involved in music education as a private instructor, classroom teacher and clinician for may years. He taught various courses for the Vancouver School Board's adult education evening school programs for three years (1997 - 2000). Starting in 1999, Danny was a featured instructor for Rosemary Campbell's "Movable Music School" and subsequently has taught at the Sorrento "Swing Camp" yearly, since its inception in 2000. Most recently, he has been featured in a two CD ROM music instruction set for PG Music (link). The discs are titled "Essential Blues Guitar" - 101 Blues Guitar Riffs" and "Essential Blues Guitar --20 Tunes". These two discs were produced by Canadian jazz guitar virtuoso Oliver Gannon (one of Danny's all-time guitar heroes). Danny is available for private, classroom and seminar teaching. (contact info)

Danny is also an active music composer and songwriter, who has co-written with several of BC's best known songwriters. Chuck Brickley, Sue Leonard, Mike Henry, Darryl Havers and Bill Mac have all collaborated with Danny on original compositions.

Danny continues to do select recording projects as a freelance guitarist. Two of the more prominent recent projects that he is heard on show just how versatile his playing truly is. The first is the CD "House of Blue Lights". This release is a dream fulfilled for jazz/blues and boogie-woogie superfan/patron Byron Thorne. Danny plays guitar on all tracks on this all-star project, which showcases some of Vancouver's very best jazz and R&B singers. Give it a listen! (link)

The other recent CD release of note is Colin Arthur Wiebe's "Closer To You". This adult contemporary recording is Colin's third CD release and a true gem. On this recording, Danny can be heard on electric, acoustic, and baritone guitar. Colin is Randy Bachman's lead singer and keyboard/rhythm guitar player in his touring band. Give it a listen! (link) The BobCats have appeared with Colin performing a tribute to the great music of the Guess Who and look forward to doing future shows with Colin.

Danny returned to full time live performing in 1996, and by 1997 had met a new musical soulmate - the great R&B singer Mike Henry. Together they formed the Big Dawg Band (Danny's nickname in blues music circles). This eight piece old-school R&B horn band featured the cream of Vancouver's soul musicians and singers.

Female vocalists Christine Duncan, Kim Kuzma, Cathy St. Germain, Beverly Staunton, Candy Churchill, Sue Leonard (of kd lang band fame) and most recently the awesome "Miss Nadine" States complemented Mike's lead vocals.

Over the years, the Big Dawg Band has appeared in numerous concert and festival shows, corporate and private functions, CBC radio and Global television presentations.

These days, the band still comes together whenever the BobCats take a break in their busy schedule.

The BobCats formed in 2002 and, as is detailed in the History section of this website, they continue to grow and evolve as Vancouver's premier rock and roll / pop live band. Danny loves this band because it reflects his musical roots, as well as those of all the other BobCats.

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