Nathan Royal, banjo

Photo Credit: Maria Nasioti

Nathan is a guitarist, banjoist, singer, teacher, and band leader based in Salt Lake City.  Whether it’s gypsy jazz, old-time fiddle tunes, trad banjo, bluegrass, roots country, or an artistic blend of all the above, his music is deeply rooted in a love for acoustic music styles and traditions. A regular on the Utah acoustic music scene, he’s performed thousands of gigs all throughout the state and beyond on stages big and small. 

After graduating from the University of Utah with a bachelor’s degree in jazz performance, Nathan immersed himself in the music of Django Reinhardt. Traveling extensively through Western Europe and Canada to study with many of the greatest masters of the style, he brought the acquired skills home and put them to work with his band, Hot House West. Combining intricately arranged horns with the explosive virtuosity and beautiful improvisations of gypsy jazz guitar, Hot House West has carved out a niche in the style “that is both readily accessible and deeply sophisticated.”

During the Covid-19 pandemic, the funeral market was booming and Nathan received the call for his first banjo gig, performing New Orleans style Jazz Funerals with a small brass band. With a calendar full of nothing but funerals and practice time, he took to the tenor banjo and has since taken it from the graveside to the stage!