LISTEN: Daniel Ayers Display Courageous Twang On “The Guy Who Opened For The Guy (Who Opened For Dondero)”

Born and bred in the North Carolina Piedmont, Daniel Ayers is an award-winning songwriter, middle school teacher, tenth-generation Tar Heel, Nobel Laureate, and liar. At an early age, he was told by his mother that he could be whatever he wanted in life. She has since lived to regret this.

Anything I have to say about Daniel Ayers’ latest single “The Guy Who Opened For The Guy (Who Opened For Dondero)”, won’t be able to do any more justice than the man itself. This is playful and smart storytelling in the vein of Jerry Jeff Walker, John Prine, and Todd Snider, that tells a tale so many up and coming touring musicians know all too well about existing in the outer orbits of the big time. 

Ayers describes the song…

It’s a song about the performance that made me a household name and international music legend. Back in 2015, my manager got me a gig opening for David Dondero at a local music hall. At the time, it was the biggest gig I’d ever landed, and I was pee-in-my-pants excited. When I got to the venue, I ran into a guy with a guitar in his hand. “Are you David Dondero?” I asked. The guy chuckled and shook his head. “Me? I’m just the opener.” Confused and a little touched in my pride, I did a bit of poking around and soon learned the truth from the venue’s booking agent: due to some kind of planning mix-up, the bill had been expanded from two acts into three. Consequently, I played a thirty-minute set for an audience consisting of my manager, my manager’s girlfriend, and a few late-stage alcoholics, who teetered beside their barstools and shouted over the music about the time they saw Skynyrd back in ’72. Oh yeah, my mom and dad were there, too. They’d make the trek out to see their son get his big break. Which, of course, I did. Before that night I was just Daniel Ayers. After that night I became the Guy Who Opened for the Guy Who Opened for Dondero. And I’ve been the most acclaimed songwriter this side of the Mississippi ever since.

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