DarielB – Flying Under the Radar

Guest Post: Rickey Godfrey On Donny Trexler

Posted in Live Performance Previews/Reviews by darielb on October 11, 2009
Donny Trexler and Rickey Godfrey 'givin' it up for your love' at Captain Poo's, Little River Neck, S.C. Oct. 6, 2009.

Donny Trexler and Rickey Godfrey 'givin' it up for your love' at Captain Poo's, Little River Neck, S.C. Oct. 6, 2009.

By Rickey Godfrey

Observations About an Old Pro, Donny Trexler, at Captain Poo’s

When I walked into Captain Poo’s about a quarter till nine on Tuesday night, I already knew I was gonna be entertained by a real pro, Donny Trexler. The atmosphere was festive, but not too rowdy; you could tell right away that most of the crowd were folks who came here every Tuesday night to hear this one man band do his stuff. As I sat down to order some wings and tacos, and of course, a margarita,

I became immediately riveted by Donny Trexler’s soulful voice. It didn’t take me long to realize that Donny’s priority was doing a great interpretation of every song that he sang. His sequenced backing tracks that he used were a little subdued for my taste, but emphasized even more Donny’s desire for his audience to clearly understand the words to every song he did. On occasion he would encourage the crowd to sing along with him. Well, that’s normally nothing new for any entertainer, but in this case, I was listening to a first-rate singer do these songs. Donny’s vocals were very soulful, as good as it gets in my opinion, and his guitar playing was flawless, nothing flashy, but still supporting his vocals. I suppose you could say he knew how to lay down the rhythm grooves to help bring to life his backing tracks.

I got the impression that Donny was partial to the southern soul music of the 60’s. He did songs like “These Arms of Mine” by Otis Redding; “Midnight Hour” by Wilson Pickett; but then Donny shifted gears, and showed off his versatility by doing something slow – “Christmas in Dixie” originally performed by Alabama. He also did southern rock and blues tunes, too, like “Stormy Monday” by the Allman Brothers. When he played that song, he didn’t use a guitar pick, and then commented, “If y’all noticed, I didn’t use my pick on that song, cause Rickey Godfrey is here tonight, and he doesn’t use a pick, so I thought I would try playing without one.”

Calabash Flash got up and sang “Johnny Be Good” and I sang “Giving It Up For Your Love” by Delbert. While all this is going on, about every couple of minutes someone would come by and drop a dollar or two, and sometimes larger bills (grin) in Donny’s tip jar.
I was amazed to find out that Donny has been playing at Captain Poo’s every Tuesday night from 6 to 10, for many years, and he rarely ever takes a break. In his words, “I just don’t want anybody to leave, and I’m afraid they might, if I take a break.” Donny’s philosophy seemed to be “the customer comes first, whatever a person wants to hear I’ll do it if I know it.” On one song he said, “Give me just a moment to find the words, I haven’t done that song in a while.” He really tries to honor any musical request, meanwhile, the stack of money in the tip jar keeps growing looking like a pile of autumn leaves laying in there. Between songs, Donny tells me, “I work seven nights a week, if I can, and I make a little bit of money on each gig which helps me to survive.” Well, he was being modest, as folks continued their regular slow and steady parade to the tip jar.

At one point Donny plays guitar by himself with no backing tracks and does “39, 21, 40 shape”, and “Hey Baby” two beach music classics, encouraging the girls to sing along with him first, and then the guys. Here was an old pro at work who knew every entertainment trick in the book, and everybody was united in their approval of what he was doing.

One thing that really impressed me was Donny’s use of his digitech vocal harmonizer. When he turned on the machine it would electronically produce vocal harmonies on the vocal lines Donny would use it on. Donny told me, again between songs that he had this particular machine for 18 years, and had two more of them as back-up units, an important tool to enhance his vocals. Most of the time when you hear an entertainer like Donny, it’s an average singer, but as I said earlier, Donny is truly one of the best blue-eyed soul singers on the coast, what a great combination of skillful entertainer, guitarist and great singer. Donny has a huge following, many who regularly come out every Tuesday night to hear this gifted musician. Keep up the good work, Donny!!

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