Local musician inducted into Hall of Fame

Musician and pastor Darryl "D.C." Johnson, of Ashton, will be inducted into the Michgan Hall of Fame Music Barn in Delton at the end of the month. (Herald Review photo/Karin Armbruster)
Musician and pastor Darryl “D.C.” Johnson, of Ashton, will be inducted into the Michgan Hall of Fame Music Barn in Delton at the end of the month. (Herald Review photo/Karin Armbruster)

ASHTON — Next week Darryl Conrad “D.C.” Johnson, 66, of Ashton, will have his place in Michigan’s musical history as he is inducted into the Michigan Hall of Fame Music Barn, located in Delton.

Johnson, a Vietnam veteran, was born and raised in Big Rapids, graduating from Big Rapids High School in 1965. He began playing guitar at 12 years old and his musical talent and drive has not stopped since.

“I began because I found out it impressed girls,” Johnson said with a laugh. “I can play the five-string banjo, the fiddle, the dobro, mandolin, harmonica, electric bass and a mountain dulcimer. Basically, if it has strings, I can play it.”

Although Johnson listens to a variety of music, the genres he loves most are county, bluegrass and Gospel.

“I enjoy the sound, the simplicity. I just fit there. I feel comfortable there,” he added.

In fact, Johnson plays with a band called The Cousins, which consists of just that—John Cady, Brian Cady and Ben Crofoot—and is available for bookings year-round. In addition, Johnson has recorded five albums of both original and cover songs.

“Music is therapeutic,” he said. “You can say things in music that you can’t say in a one-on-one conversation. It’s expressive.”

Aside from music, Johnson has been a pastor at Ashton’s Calvary Gospel Church for the past 11 years. He graduated from Grand Rapids School of Bible and Music, earned his Master’s degree from the School of Biblical and Theological Studies and received his Doctorate from Landmark Baptist Theological Seminary.

“When I came to know the Lord, the desire to share Him with other people was overwhelming,” Johnson said. “I draw inspiration from God and life experiences. Everything in the end points to Jesus Christ.”

Now, after years of loving and making music in the state, Johnson will be inducted during a ceremony at the Michigan Hall of Fame Music Barn.

“I’m nervous,” Johnson said about the his time in the spotlight. “It’s extremely humbling and at the same time I’m very honored as well because someone recognizes what I’ve done over the years. I’m hoping this will open up some new doors and new opportunities.”

Five people each year are chosen to be inducted into the Michigan Hall of Fame Music Barn after a long process of selection committees and reviews. This year, at least a dozen were up for consideration. More than 200 people have been inducted thus far.

“We first look at their history,” said Hall of Fame Board Vice-President David Dickerson. “First and foremost, they have to be a Michigander. They also have to be 55 years or older, have been in the business for more than 25 years, have served the community and have provided a good example of classic country music.”

Dickerson has been a friend of Johnson’s for years and said he is thrilled to be handing him the plaque at this year’s ceremony.

“I’m just glad for him,” Dickerson said, adding there is a special quality about Johnson’s music that he believes is worthy of hall of fame membership. “It’s in his writing. His songs are so down to Earth and so truthful.”

The induction event will take place at 7 p.m. on Aug. 30 and continue through Aug. 31 and include a discussion about the musician’s history in music, a plaque presentation, live performances from the inductees and more. Tickets are $7 per day.

“It’s all about good country living and family life,” Dickerson added.

To learn more about Johnson and to hear his music, search DC Johnson Music on Facebook. For more about the Michigan Hall of Fame Music Barn, visitmichiganhalloffamemusicbarn.org.