About Dakota Dave Hull

Hailed by everyone from Dave Van Ronk to Doc Watson, from the Washington Post to Downbeat to fRoots, Dakota Dave Hull’s guitar style spans a wide musical geography to create an infectious, uniquely personal blend of jazz, ragtime, folk, blues, Western swing, and vintage pop. Dakota Dave is a restlessly curious, adventurous traveler along the broad highway of America’s music. In his playing the masters speak, but in a vocabulary that is Dave’s alone: alternatively mirthful and moving, always melodic.

A gifted composer as well as a strikingly original interpreter of older tunes, Dave calls what he does “classic American guitar.” Folk legend Van Ronk called Dave “one of the best guitarists in the world.”

Most of all, Dakota Dave’s music is great fun. As Douglas Green (Ranger Doug of Riders in the Sky) puts it, “There is an imp within Dave Hull that always expresses itself on the fretboard; a witty, intelligent yet respectful imp who frolics in his music, an imp Dakota Dave neither fights nor lets take control, but simply absorbs into the heart of his style.”

On stage or in the recording studio Dave has performed with Utah Phillips, Doc Watson, Robin and Linda Williams, Dave Van Ronk, John Renbourn, Paul Geremia, Spider John Koerner, Cam Waters, Sally Rogers, Butch Thompson, Peter Ostroushko, Garrison Keillor, and Norman Blake, and many others. His albums include three with early performing partner Sean Blackburn and six solo efforts (the acclaimed Hull’s Victory and Reunion Rag, both on Flying Fish) with four more, New Shirt, Sheridan Square Rag, The Loyalty Waltz and Time Machine on Arabica Records. Airship, a duo album with singer/guitarist/fiddler Pop Wagner was widely praised. His three albums with guitar and mandolin ace Kari Larson (Double Cappuccino, Moonbeams and The Goose is Getting Fat, also on Arabica) have become legendary.

In 2011, Dave recorded an album of mostly traditional music duets with the noted guitarist Duck Baker, When You Ask a Girl to Leave Her Happy Home. A book of original compositions, Ragtime Guitar in the Classic American Style came out in 2012. A double CD of original compositions, Under the North Star was released in 2013, and 2016 brought two more CDs, the sacred and profane set, Heavenly Hope and This Earthly Life.

In 2018 he released Sukiyaki with Takasi Hamada, Xavier Ohmura, and Shohei Toyoda while on tour in Japan. That same year brought Another Cup with bassist Liz Draper.<

Since then he’s spent a fair amount of time in the studio with three solo albums to show for it. The Graveyard Shift and Six Guns and Fountain Pens feature a whole bunch of different acoustic guitars (played one at a time) and the latest, Better Late Than Never, dives into the guitar-banjo and features a bunch of photographs by Dale B. Hanson and some really interesting notes by Henry H. Sapoznik.

Now that the pandemic is winding down (at least we hope it’s winding down), you can expect to see Dave sooner or later at a venue near you.

Dave is a recipient of a 2013 Traditional Arts grant from the Minnesota State Arts board.