Updated: Feb 8, 2022
In 1990, Atlantic Records released a music video that featured Arkansas musician Martin Delray performing his cover of Johnny Cash’s “Get Rhythm”. It’s impossible to watch the video and keep still; It’s a joyful, lively performance that features Delray’s backup band, an adorable little actor who plays the shoe-shine boy, various street dancers, and even The Man in Black Himself, Johnny Cash. Another musician—much esteemed by Johnny Cash—watches the band, smiling. Study the video closely and look for the long-haired man with his hair tied back wearing torn jeans and a denim jacket; the camera will come back to him time and again. About half way into the song, he lifts the jaw harp to his mouth and plays the fire out of it. After Cash and Delray stroll off, he continues to play for the street dancers and the shoeshine boy.
That musician’s name is David Schnaufer, and he may be the finest world class musician you’ve never heard of if you’re not a mountain dulcimer player or a jaw harp player. Nevertheless, he’s worth knowing about for his determination to choose his own path in life; the way he lifted the spirits of countless people who met him, and the beloved mentor he became. Pluck is the story of his life.
By the way, if you did know David, you’ll notice this is a rare performance—he’s not wearing his glasses.