Since 2000, Emmy Award-winning actor, musician and playwright Jeff Daniels has performed his music at many venues such as The Birchmere in Alexandria, Virginia, Club Passim in Boston, New York City’s 54 Below, Chicago, New York and Nashville’s City Wineries, The Barns at Wolf Trap in Vienna, Virginia, Austin’s Cactus Cafe, Ram’s Head Tavern in Annapolis, Maryland, Mucky Duck’s in Houston, The Ark in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Chicago’s Old School of Folk Music, Chicago’s S.P.A.C.E., Seattle’s Third Door, Alaska’s Blue Loon in Fairbanks, Latitude 62 in Talkeetna and numerous opera houses and PACs throughout the country.
Making his film debut in Ragtime (1981), Daniels’s film credits include Terms of Endearment (1983), Arachnophobia (1990), Gettysburg (1993), Speed (1994), 101 Dalmatians (1996), Fly Away Home (1996), Pleasantville (1998), The Hours (2002), Good Night, and Good Luck (2005), The Lookout (2007), Infamous (2009), Looper (2012), Steve Jobs (2015) and The Martian (2015).
One of his most notable roles is Harry Dunne in the buddy comedy Dumb and Dumber (1994) opposite Jim Carrey, a role he reprised in the 2014 sequel Dumb and Dumber To (2014). He received Golden Globe Award nominations for Best Actor for his performances in The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985), Something Wild (1986) and The Squid and the Whale (2005).
Daniels’ work outside the film industry has received similar acclaim and accolades as to his work on screen. He has received a number of award nominations for his work on stage, including Tony Award nominations for Best Actor for his roles in the plays God of Carnage and Blackbird. He is the founder and current executive director of the Chelsea, Michigan-based Purple Rose Theatre Company. From 2012 to 2014, Daniels starred as Will McAvoy in the HBO political drama series The Newsroom, for which he won the 2013 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series and received Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award nominations.
Daniels has also toured both coasts with his son’s band, The Ben Daniels Band and has shared the stage with Lyle Lovett, John Hiatt, Joe Ely, Guy Clark, Keb Mo’ and Bruce Hornsby. He performed at David Bromberg’s 70th Birthday Bash at New York City’s Town Hall and he has studied with Stefan Grossman.
In 2012, the Martin Guitar Company began selling the OM Jeff Daniels Custom Artist Edition Guitar. He also narrated the award winning documentary, The Ballad Of The Dreadnought.
“When I moved to New York City to chase acting as a career, what I didn’t plan on was being influenced by all the playwrights I would work with on Off-Broadway. In particular, Lanford Wilson, who would later go on to win a Pulitzer Prize for his play Talley’s Folly – taught me so much about the writing process–the love/hate relationship one has with such a solitary pursuit, the endless rewriting, the search and struggle to find a way to say it better.” In Hollywood, continues Daniels, the joke is to ask any actor what he really wants to do and he’ll say, ‘direct.’ All I wanted to do was write. So I did. Forty years later, I still am.”
Simple Truths, with Brian Vander Ark, is the eighth recording of Jeff Daniels’ music and is available under the independent label Boomadeeboom Records.
“In 1976, I bought a Guild D-40 from Herb David’s Guitar Studio in Ann Arbor, Michigan, threw it in the back of my old Buick, and moved to New York City. That guitar led me to a creative outlet, became a solace, my church, a road into the artist I didn’t know existed. I put every song I ever wrote into a big, black notebook. I will be dead in the ground before anyone sees or hears those attempts. And yet, like Lewis & Clark, I found my way to my version of the Pacific. Been on that beach ever since.” -Jeff Daniels