Y O U R O T H E R L I F E
Dan Young is hardly the first student at the
Johns Hopkins School
of Nursing to play guitar. But he is likely the first
ever to put a career as a touring and recording artist on
hold while he completes the school's accelerated
undergraduate nursing program.
Young became hooked on flamenco guitar in the late 1990s while studying jazz and contemporary music at the New School in New York. One day he heard another guitarist play the improvisatory flamenco style. "I was just amazed at the sounds coming out of his guitar," he says. "Just this one guy playing. I immediately said, 'You gotta tell me where I can learn that.' I started taking lessons and kind of got addicted to it." In 1998, Young met another guitarist named Lawson Rollins at a Washington, D.C., flamenco shop called Guitar Gallery. They played a few songs at the shop, liked what they heard, and decided to perform together as Young & Rollins, playing a blend of Latin, salsa, flamenco, and jazz that's sometimes labeled nuevo flamenco. Two years later, as leaders of a five-piece band, they secured a recording deal and made Salsa Flamenca, which sold enough copies to occupy a spot on the Billboard charts in 2000. Their fourth album, Mosaic, was released last April.
When he wasn't touring as a guitarist, Young was a volunteer fireman in Bethesda, Maryland. From working on an ambulance crew there, he became intrigued by emergency medicine. His younger brother, who is a nurse, pointed out that were Young to work for a nursing agency, he could have a second career in medicine and retain the flexible schedule he needs to continue touring as part of Young & Rollins. So not long after his fourth recording entered retail stores, Young entered nursing school.
The guitarist sees his two interests as related: "The style of music we play is improvised. Everything plays off what everybody else does. The trust in other people and the improvisation and thinking on your feet ... I found similar thought processes working in an ambulance. A lot of firefighters are adrenaline junkies, and I don't know, maybe I'm one of them." —Dale Keiger
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