Burr Datz Lecturer, Bluegrass Ensemble Director

Burr Datz

Wilson Hall 2018

W.C. “Burr” Datz, ’75 grew up on Long Island and began taking guitar lessons in April of 1961. He was a rhythm guitar player for sock-hop bands until he came to Lexington in 1971 and traded electric guitar for the acoustic guitar in the style of Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young.

Lexington native Doug Chase introduced him to Rooster and Gary Ruley in the fall of 1973, and he was immediately smitten with the high, lonesome, and hard driving sounds of bluegrass music. He taught himself the mandolin in 1974. After graduating from W&L, he joined the City Limits band in New York City, playing monthly on St. Marks Place in Greenwich Village for two years.

Burr returned to Lexington in the fall of 1977 and formed the band WILDGRASS in late 1978 with Freddy Goodhart on banjo, Johnny Staton on mandolin, and Steve Seal on bass. They stayed together until 2001, with David Drain, Mike Frazier, Phil Smith, and Dan Newhall sharing duties on the bass. John Schofield joined on the fiddle in 1983. In 2001, they renamed themselves Monrovia and performed for another six years.

He currently leads the Datz Us Ramblers on mandolin, joined by Bert Carlson on guitar, Blake Shester on banjo, Dan Newhall on bass, and Dave Hunt on fiddle.