Smokestack Lightnin' Home Page -- The Blues Profile Page
Donna Herula was born and raised on the northwest side of Chicago. She began playing guitar at the age of 10. By 16, she was playing lead guitar in bands and writing original blues songs.
Influenced by slide guitar players Johnny Winter, Rory Block, Eric Sardinas, Bob Brozman, Bonnie Raitt and John Hammond, Jr., Donna set out to discover the early blues musicians that inspired these players, which included Son House, Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters.
At the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago, Donna continued her search for tradition, learning Delta Blues and bottleneck slide guitar by listening to old blues recordings. She also began collecting and learning music performed by women blues singers and guitar players such as Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, Sippie Wallace and Memphis Minnie.
An accomplished slide guitarist, Donna performed a tribute to slide guitar master Robert Nighthawk at the 2009 Chicago Blues Festival for his centennial celebration. She also performed as part of a Nighthawk symposium for the Delta Cultural Center in Helena, Arkansas (Nighthawk’s hometown), the Arkansas Blues and Heritage Festival (formerly the King Biscuit Festival), the Mother’s Best Music Festival (Helena, AK) and the Bayfront Blues Festival (Duluth, MN).
With harpist John Jochem, Donna won the 2010 Chicago Blues Challenge, solo-duo category, and represented the Windy City Blues Society at the 2011 International Blues Challenge.
Donna’s second CD “The Moon Is Rising: Songs of Robert Nighthawk” was released in February 2011.
Donna plays National steel guitars and is a featured artist on the National Reso-Phonic Guitars website.
She has been on blues radio programs including King Biscuit Time and Delta Sounds, with Sonny Payne, legendary host and member of the blues hall of fame, and Terry Buckalew, both on www.kffa.com through the Delta Cultural Center in Helena, Arkansas.
Donna plays as a soloist as well as in a duo with her husband singer/songwriter/guitarist, Tony Nardiello. Their sets include songs from Memphis Minnie and Kansas Joe McCoy, Robert Nighthawk, Lucinda Williams and Johnny Winter, just to name a few.
For more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.