Daniel Joseph Schafer

This article is about Dan Schafer (Detroit-Nashville Musician). For other uses, see Daniel Schafer.
Dan Schafer

Dan Schafer in 2011
Background information
Birth name Daniel Joseph Schafer
Born (1952-10-05) October 5, 1952
Mount Pleasant, Michigan, US
Genres Country, Christian, pop
Occupation(s) Musician, songwriter, producer/arranger, actor
Instruments Guitar, pedal steel guitar, bass guitar
Years active 1970–present
Associated acts Shania Twain, Barbara Mandrell, George Jones
Website danschafer.com

Daniel Joseph Schafer (born October 5, 1952), known professionally as Dan Schafer, is an American pop, country music and Christian singer, lead guitarist, songwriter, and actor, who has toured with Shania Twain, Barbara Mandrell, George Jones, Lorrie Morgan, T. Graham Brown, and played bass with Jack Greene on the Grand Ole Opry for six years. He was a recording artist for RCA Records and moved from playing guitar in the studio to songwriting and touring with national country music artists. His career includes singing commercial jingles for national products and as a co-writer, has had one composition reach No. 1 on the Inspirational Christian music chart.

Early life

Schafer was born in Mount Pleasant, Michigan and began performing as a child on local radio shows and performing jamborees. He learned to play guitar at age 9 and, together with his parents, performed as area dance clubs, such as Palmer's Idle Hour Bar in Weidman, Michigan. While in high school, he played with two rock-and-roll bands, The Bark of Paper Mulberry[1][2] and The Wild West Show.[3] He graduated from Beal City High School in 1970, and relocated to Detroit to perform with the music group, the Grand Band, which was previously known as the 'Popcorn Blizzard'. Schafer replaced Marvin Lee Aday (professionally known as 'Meat loaf') as lead vocalist in this band. Continuing in Detroit, Schafer's guitar skills caught the eye of local recording talents, including Moonstone and Skip Van Winkle, who'd scored records on the Billboard charts.

Detroit – Success in the 70s

RCA Victor Canadian promo & US release single 1976

In 1974, Schafer was signed to a two-year contract with RCA Records and worked with producer Jack Richardson(The Guess Who, Alice Cooper, and Poco). In 1976, Schafer recorded his own work, " A Day Without You Dear,"[4] which was released but failed to chart, despite substantial international airplay. That song was next covered by The Skyliners on their 1978 comeback album on the RCA Tortoise International[5] album, then released in 2010 on the double CD "Once Upon a Time" /"Skyliners"[6]

In 1978, RCA Records released "Baby, Now That I've Found You," the Schafer remake of the Foundations' hit single, working with producers Bruce Goldberg and Don Davis for the RCA Victor distributed 'Tortoise International' Label.[7]

RCA/Tortoise International single 1977

Based on increased experience in working with award-winning record producers, Schafer was given the opportunity to sing and produce radio and TV commercials in the Detroit area. Some of the commercials were broadcast nationally, including Kentucky Fried Chicken, and Dow Cleansers.

Schafer next became a full-time guitarist and background singer for recording artists including Larry Santos and The Skyliners.

Nashville – 80s and 90s

Relocating to Nashville in 1979, Schafer found professional success in the country music genre. Because of his versatility in playing lead guitar, pedal steel guitar, and bass guitar, Schafer was chosen, with the recommendation of Bobby Randall of Sawyer Brown, to tour with Leroy Van Dyke as pedal steel guitarist, which was a catapult that led to his opportunities in touring with several major recording artists including Barbara Mandrell, Lorrie Morgan, Keith Whitley, George Jones, T. Graham Brown, and Shania Twain. He was featured in Barbara Mandrell's "Do-Rite Band" on her "Moments" tour and appeared on the CBS Mandrell Family Christmas Special. Working with Shania Twain, Schafer was featured in multiple TV appearances on the Late Show with David Letterman on 10/2/95 and 2/26/96.[8]

Barbara Mandrell performing duet with Dan Schafer; 'Moments' tour 1986

These tours afforded him multiple opportunities to appear on TV as the featured guitarist backing these singers on numerous award shows including "Billboard Music Awards," "The American Music Awards," "Grand Ole Opry 'Live'," and "Blockbuster Music Awards."

Schafer then left the road and performed continuously for six years on the Grand Ole Opry, playing bass for Jack Greene. He performed at Opryland theme park and was featured in Dick Clark's American Bandstand Classics Show. He made an uncredited appearance as an extra in the November 1982, CBS movie, "Country Gold,"[9] which featured Loni Anderson, Earl Holliman, and Linda Hamilton.

In Nashville, Tennessee Schafer continued his jingle recording career and sang on commercials for Pepsi, Dole Pineapple, and Honda vehicles. Eventually, he was hired to do backup music work with Leonard Wolf for the Nashville-based GAC Network (Great American Country). He is an endorsement artist for Seymour Duncan SSL-1 and California single-coil pickup sets.[10] Thru a recommendation of Jimmy Olander from the group Diamond Rio, Schafer recorded 2 instructional DVD/VHS videos for Texas Music and Video & (1) for the Epiphone Guitar Company and a CD teaching "Bender style" guitar techniques. Thru his high profile with major artists, Dan is also endorsed by Peavey Instruments and Amplifiers,[11] Hohner Guitars,[12][13] and Steinberger basses.[14]

A renewed commitment to Christianity took Schafer into further Bible study and his current pursuit of additional credentialing. After completing a B.A. degree in Biblical Studies and obtaining a Master's of Theology degree from the Christian Bible College and Seminary[15] in Independence, Missouri, Schafer's music focus has also included Contemporary Christian music.

His songwriting next encompassed Inspirational and Gospel music. Together with Greg Nelson, he co-wrote "All Along the Way," which was recorded by singer Larnelle Harris and reached the No. 1 spot on the CCM Christian Inspirational charts and is included in Billboard.[16][17]

2000 to present

As a music industry professional, he was asked to serve as a Judge for Music City Star Quest.[18]

Schafer continues as songwriter, performs in concert as a solo artist, and has begun producing projects for Lifeway Worship[19] and other artists in Nashville.

In March 2012 "perhaps..the Very Best of Dan Schafer"[20] was released containing over 35 years worth of Schafer music including the 1970s RCA Victor & RCA/Tortoise International singles 'A' sides, as well as some songs recorded on other Schafer albums, some written by Schafer & collaborations with other writers during the Nashville years including pop, country & Christian songs.

In 2013, a 22 song companion CD to "perhaps" was released. "More ...Now & Then"[21] contains released and unreleased RCA Victor recordings from the 70's, 'live' cuts, as well as notable writes & co-writes to the present.


Schafer's song, "All Along the Way," co-written by Greg Nelson received distinction as a No. 1 radio hit by the artist, Larnelle Harris,[22] and remained there for five weeks in mid-August–September 1998, eventually, finding a home at the No. 6 spot in the Top 20 Inspirational songs of 1998.[23] In 2003, Schafer was inducted into the Michigan Country Music Hall of Fame.



  1. Get Yourself Together (Valvano)
  2. Wait (Schafer)
  1. A Day without you, Dear (Schafer)
  2. You mean the world to me (Schafer)
  1. Baby, Now That I've Found You
  2. New Year's Eve (Goldberg)


Contributed guitars, pedal steel guitar and background vocals

Contributed co-write "All along the Way"

Contributed vocals to 17 selections on four-CD set

Contributed co-write "All along the Way"


  1. "the Bark of Paper Mulberry". www.MyFirstBand.com. Retrieved 2012-04-04.
  2. "the Bark of Paper Mulberry". www.Beyondthe BeatGeneration.com. Retrieved 2012-04-04.
  3. "the Wild West Show". www.MyFirstBand.com. Retrieved 2012-04-04.
  4. "Dan Schafer 1976 RCA single & jukebox strips". www.DanSchafer.com. Retrieved 2012-02-05.
  5. "Skyliners, The – The Skyliners (Vinyl, LP, Album) at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2011-11-09.
  6. "Once Upon a Time – AND – Skyliners: Skyliners: Music". Amazon.com. September 9, 2009. Retrieved 2011-11-09.
  7. "Tortoise International". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2011-12-29.
  8. Letterman, David. "Epiguides.com". Episode Guides. epiguides.com. Retrieved November 6, 2011.
  9. ""Country Gold" CBS TV movie 1982". www.imdb.com. Retrieved 2012-04-12.
  10. "California '50s™ SSL-1 – Seymour Duncan Sets". Seymourduncan.com. Retrieved 2011-11-09.
  11. http://timashley.tripod.com/pix/peaveyadcollage.jpg
  12. "Hohner Musikinstrumente GmbH & Co. KG – Dan Schafer". Hohnerusa.com. Retrieved 2011-11-09.
  13. http://timashley.tripod.com/pix/Hohner07catalogcollage.jpg
  14. "S T E I N B E R G E R . C O M". Steinberger.com. Retrieved 2011-11-09.
  15. "Christian Bible College & Seminary". cbcs-degree.com. Retrieved 2012-01-22.
  16. "All Along the Way – Larnelle Harris". Billboard.com. Retrieved 2011-11-09.
  17. "Danschafer.Com". Danschafer.Com. Retrieved 2011-11-09.
  18. "The Judges". Musiccitystarquest.com. Retrieved 2011-11-09.
  19. "LifeWay Worship Producer interviews". LifeWayWorship.com. Retrieved 2010-11-09.
  20. "'perhaps..the Very Best of'". www.cdbaby.com. Retrieved 2012-03-05.
  21. 'More...Now & Then', www.cdbaby.com, retrieved 2013-03-06
  22. "Larnelle Harris discography". www.LarnelleHarris.com. Retrieved 2012-04-11.
  23. ""All Along the Way" @ No. 1 page"". Timashley.tripod.com. Retrieved 2011-11-09.
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