“That girl gets down to the nitty gritty” – Koko Taylor
2014 Blues Music Award Winner for Instrumentalist – Bassist
There’s not a time in her life that Danielle doesn’t remember loving to perform. She’d sing for the family at holiday events and also took tap jazz and ballet for many years competing in numerous events. She also took band in middle school playing the tenor saxophone and enjoyed it quite a bit but was forced to quit when they moved to Kansas City and the new school did not offer band.
She comes from generations of singers. Her grandmother Evelyn Skinner was a big band singer. Her mother, Lisa Swedlund had taught her everything she knew growing up listening to all different kinds of music from the Everly Brothers to the B-52s. It wasn’t until she was 12 that she took to the stage for the first time singing Koko Taylor’s “Never Trust a Man” at a Blues for Schools program her parents were playing at Englewood Elementary. From then on, she knew music would be her passion for the rest of her life.
She began singing in coffeehouses and at open mic events around the age of 14 while jamming with her parents at clubs that would allow minors whenever she could. At the age of sixteen, she began singing lead in her father, Robert Schnebelen, band Little Eva and the Works until fall of 1998 when he became too sick to play. In March of 1999, she started her own band “Fresh Brew” with Kansas City music veterans Steve Gronemeyer, Steve Hicks, Chuck Payne and Terry Roney. They played all over Kansas City for four years and even represented Kansas City in the IBC.
It was during this time that she and her brothers Nick and Kris Schnebelen began talking about a family band and what it would take to make it happen. Not only would Kris and Danielle would have to move to Philadelphia where Nick was living, she‘d have to learn the bass guitar to keep it a family band. It took a few years of lessons and saving money before that could become reality.
When Fresh Brew disbanded in 2004, she was approached by guitarist John Brandsgard of “The Nortons”, another group of veterans including Dane Henningson, Randy Kassin, and Greg and Gharett Schaberg and was asked if she’d be interested in fronting them until she made the move to Philadelphia. The Nortons branched out a bit for Danielle’s style of traditional blues and incorporated more contemporary blues into her repertoire. What started as only 6 months turned into 2 years of touring the Midwest while practicing bass and occasionally playing shows with her brothers in Kansas City and Philadelphia.
Since then, TUF has continued to play the US as well as expanding into Canada and Europe to spread the word of the blues.