Bar Nine in Hell's Kitchen has been hosting the occasional unannounced performance by the one-and-only Dan Smith (Will Teach You Guitar) over recent weeks, which culminated in two performances this past weekend as part of "Dan Smith T-Shirt Weekend," in which Smith performed inside the bar with the windows open while people sat and stood in the bar's designated socially distant sidewalk area. Also, special Dan Smith t-shirts were being given out.
And while it would have been exciting enough for any native New Yorker to stumble upon the legendary Dan Smith in the wild, that wasn't the only surprise in store: Smith was joined on Sunday by former Governor David Paterson, who revealed he is one of Smith's students.
Paterson, who described himself as a "recovering governor," introduced Smith, and revealed he's been studying under Smith for just a few months so far. He also called him "not only a great guitar teacher," but a "spectacular person."
"When I was in high school, I was sent to guitar lessons—never paid attention, didn't practice, got yelled at by the guitar teacher and then by my parents, but I never threw the guitar away," he said. "And about 3 or 4 months ago, I was walking with my wife through Central Park and I said to her, 'I wish I had continued to play the guitar.' We came out of the park, we were walking down East 96th Street, and there was a sign she read to me: 'Wanna learn guitar? Call Dan.'"
"So we called Dan, I've been there for three months, and I must say it's totally changed my life. I waited 50 years to meet Dan, so I know many of you are friends of his and have met him, butI bet you haven't waited 50 years to meet him."
Paterson then jumped on guitar to join Smith to perform "Stand By Me" and "I Heard It Through The Grapevine," with Paterson taking the vocals on the Marvin Gaye classic. Skip to the eight minute mark below to hear that (sadly, Paterson was cut out of this angle, but you can hear him).
After that, Smith performed his own set, which included covers of the likes of "On Broadway," "A Little Less Conversation," "Raspberry Beret," "I've Been Everywhere," "Lola," and "Instant Karma," as well as a few originals including "Everybody's Different," "She's Magic," and "Whatever You Want."
You can see another pic of Paterson in his Dan Smith shirt, at Smith's Upper West Side teaching and recording studio, below.
If you want to learn more about Dan Smith, his teaching methodology, how his posters became ubiquitous throughout the city over the last 20+ years, and why being a guitar teacher is like being a life coach, check out our profile of him from last year.
The State Liquor Authority has officially banned any restaurants and bars in the state from offering live music (or any form of ticketed entertainment) during the pandemic. But that doesn't mean venues can't have live performers as long as they're making "incidental music," and the events aren't promoted beforehand. Dan Smith Will Teach You About Loopholes.