From the moment of his birth, David Johnson was exposed to the sound and sights of live acoustic music from the mountains of his native North Carolina. Nurtured by a family of musicians dating back many generations, David went from early performances as a square dance musician alongside his father, Billie Johnson, playing banjo, guitar, fiddle and mandolin to work in a country band with studio owner Marshal Craven as a steel guitar player in his early teens. This background, coupled with a helping of Top 40 and rockabilly in high school, led David to a two year stint as a sideman with Bill Hefner on a weekly television broadcast on WBTV in Charlotte, NC. During this same time he found employment in the budding area recording studios that were springing up in the southeastern states during the 1970s.
Combining work as a teacher of musical instruments with weekly recording sessions, David added bass, electric guitar, autoharp, keyboards and harmonica to his studio arsenal in the 1980s. Also during this time, David helped found and operate the exciting variety band known as Dixie Dawn. He travelled the east coast with this band for many years working clubs, concerts, and a long list of promotional clients such as Western Steer Steakhouse and Farm Credit Banks.
In the late 1980s, David retired from the road trips and settled into two very comfortable house jobs with Dixie Dawn on weekends and pursued a full time career in recording work as a sideman, arranger, and producer. Specializing in southern gospel, country and related acoustic music, David worked for many artists in all the above genres including The Kingsmen, The McKameys, The Talley Trio, The Florida Boys, The Isaacs, Tony Rice, Ralph Stanley, Doyle Lawson, The Primitive Quartet, George Hamilton IV, Arthur Smith, George Beverly Shea, Porter Wagoner, Larry Sparks, and a host of others. His professional career in recording started in 1969 and now spans well over 40 years.
David professes a love of music, a love for Christ, a love for his wife Anne, and his son Nathan. His father, Billie, was his mentor and accompanied him to many of his recording dates. David has always, and hopes to continue to, call Wilkes County and western North Carolina his home.