A solo2 performer who combines the latest in keyboard samples and sequencing with the full and familiar tones of acoustic guitar.
Experience funk, folk, blues, soul and r&b all rolled into one!
I perform a wide range of cover songs from the following artists:
Don began playing piano at the age of 5. At the age of 9 he picked up the saxophone. At age 12 he composed his first original song. Don entered the recording studio at the age of fifteen. And somewhere along the way he learned to play the guitar.
In 1986, “What I’m Feeling for You” by Don Caplea and Michael Soli found its way to WJET-FM in Erie, PA. As a result of overwhelming requests, the song won WJET’s “Battle of the Bands” and remained the #1 most requested song for three weeks. This airplay found its way to country artist Kenny Rogers, who contacted the station interested in recording the song.
Don Caplea and Michael Soli formed the electro-acoustic duo, No Right Turn, and began performing full time in Pittsburgh and throughout Northwest Pennsylvania. NRT signed booking contracts with Concert Warehouse and Bay City Productions, for festival and out of state performances.
In 1993, Don was contacted by Jermaine Jackson, personally, who expressed an eager desire to sign No Right Turn to The Jackson’s new Record Label. This began a year-long weekly conversation with Jackson at his home, in which the two young songwriters were instructed on the lyrical and musical aspects of writing “hit” songs.
Through Jermaine Jackson, the sound and the songs made their way to David Crosby, who expressed interest in recording some of their songs. Possibilities of opening for CSN on a European tour were discussed.
In 1994 Don Caplea signed with Astron Music Publishing and received an offer from Willie Nelson to record, “I’m Coming Home” for a Christmas album featuring songs by new and unsigned artists. That same year, Don was invited to present the songwriting seminar at the National Music Industry Showcase in Pittsburgh, PA..
In 2001, Don produced the spiritual album, “There’s Something Goin’ on Here” by the group Daystar, as a fundraiser for Maria House Projects, in Erie PA. The entire printing sold out.
In the years between 2001 and 2016, Don Caplea withdrew from the stage and the studio to focus on the creation of a truly original tone and style. In 2017, after nearly ten years, Don once again returned to his first instrument…. The keyboard, focusing on the latest digital samples and sequencing. It was then that Don decided on a musical presentation that combined the full sound and orchestration of the keyboard with the earthy and subtle textures of the acoustic guitar.
Don Caplea is the founder and owner of SounDawg Music.
I can’t recall a time in my life when I wasn’t searching for original and creative ways to translate the inner landscape into the language of the senses. I discovered that certain chords could affect the mood and meaning of words. From very early on, I had a passion for writing, poetry, fiction, non-fiction… and songs! I studied creative writing and contemporary poetry at Penn State University under Pulitzer nominee, Diana Hume George, from whom I learned that poetry is simply “language under intense pressure.”
As I have grown older, the songs have matured and become less lofty and more detailed. I no longer focus on “the big picture.” I have learned how to paint detailed scenes of ordinary people in unusual or even life changing circumstances. Songs which convey stories of loss and redemption, songs of joy… songs of substance.
For me, songwriting is not an art. It is a craft. Words do not float down from heaven on silver clouds to form a deep, meaningful, multi-dimensional work of timeless brilliance! No. Words and music must be forged, and shaped, and refined before they can become a great song.
Influenced by virtually every genre of music, I can create a performance for almost any audience or event. My experience ranges from pre-school sing- a-longs, to long-term care facilities, fundraisers, festivals, restaurants, pubs, and more.
KEYBOARDS | The complex vocals, layers, and arrangements of the Yamaha MOXF have been meticulously programmed for live real-time performance, with an emphasis on the sounds of vintage electro-mechanical keyboards such as Wurlitzer, Rhodes and Clav and a special fondness for classic tones of the Hammond B-3.
GUITAR | I use a Yamaha AC3M solid wood electro-acoustic guitar with microphone modeling
VOICE | Due to the number of effects, controllers, knobs and keys which are being engaged as well as the need to switch positions and instruments, a Sure WH-20 dynamic headset microphone is used resulting in clear and articulate vocals encouraging more energy and motion on stage
EFFECTS | For guitar tone and effects I use the Zoom A3 acoustic modeling and multi-effect floor unit, with over 40 studio-quality effects in customized combinations. I create effect combinations for each song, to match the soundscape with the overall mood of the song. For vocals I use the Harmony GXT by T.C. Electronics for vocal processing and effects as well as 3-part harmony.
AMPLIFICATION | For sound reinforcement I prefer the JBL Eon One line-array system which utilizes the latest technology in acoustic amplification. Due to its vertical array of 6 high frequency speakers above a powerful subwoofer, the JBL can be heard from virtually any position in the venue with the same rich tone and clarity you would hear directly in front of the speaker.
I began performing professionally in 1990. From small pubs and coffee houses, to clubs and then larger festivals. I have performed in Pittsburgh’s I.C. Light Amphitheater, and have opened up for artists JGB, Donna Jean Godcheaux, and Mitch Rider (Devil with a Blue Dress) I am comfortable performing for a campfire sing-a-long or a crowd of 7,000.
Venues I have played