Mississippi Strong: Dan Hanley - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Mississippi Strong: Dan Hanley

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
MENDENHALL, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Some people do things for others, some have made great accomplishments. Dancin’ Dan the Banjo Man proves we are never too old to accomplish something for ourselves.

“Dan Henley, I go by Dancin’ Dan the Banjo Man,” said Dan.

He sings an old time country song:

“Well, ashes to ashes and dust to dust, show me a woman that a man can trust.
A nickel’s worth of grease and a dime’s worth of lard, I would have bought more but the times are hard.”

We are a musical people in Mississippi. Just look at the list of Grammy winners from here. Mississippi is represented far and away better than any other state.

Many musicians started at least by the time they were in high school. Dancin’ Dan was a late bloomer.  

“I started playing about six years ago when I retired," said Dan. "I’ve been performing for about five years. I didn’t have much time to waste. Getting kind of old, you know. This is how I started. About seven years ago I got a hold of my granddaddy’s old banjo. My daddy gave it to me and I hung it on the wall. So I got it out one day and I said I’m going to get this thing down and I’m going to fix it where it will play and I’m going to learn to play it. And in a just in a few weeks, I was playing the old style Just like he did. And then the story goes on about this harmonica, I’ve been playing it two years. I got home from a gospel sing, we were singing down at Collins Mississippi and there was a Black guy down there playing the harmonica. Played “The Saints go Marching In.” And he was bringing the house down. I said, Well I’m going to go home and I’m going to learn how to play the harmonica. So I got home about 9:30 that night. By 12 o’clock I was playing anything I wanted to play. And the first song I learned was, “The Saints Go Marching in.””

Dan considers his late-found musical ability a gift from God. It’s a gift to himself, too when he didn’t convince himself he was too old to learn. That’s a characteristic of being Mississippi Strong, not backing down from a challenge.

Dan says, “I try everyday to put a smile on somebody’s face or whatever I can do to use my gift that God has given me,” said Dan.

Dancin’ Dan the Banjo Man, as his Sunday School teacher would have put it, not hidin’ it under a bushel and being Mississippi Strong in the process.

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