Don Armstrong grew up in upstate New York and began hanging out at Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs as a young teen. Under the watchful eye of Lena Spencer, he learned through the graces of the performers passing through: Paul Clayton, Dave Van Ronk, Rev. Gary Davis, Bob Dylan, Hedy West, John Herald, Gil Robbins, Ian & Sylvia, Utah Phillips...the list is endless.
In 1968 Don began performing with Tom Mitchell and together they toured the coffeehouses, clubs & concert stages of New York & New England. In 1971 they began songwriting in earnest, and Tom's "Sam O'Gan" as well as Don's "White Mountains Good Bye" (which was later recorded by Bill Staines) are both stand-outs from that period. Audiences & critics loved them and the music they made together.
And it was Tom Mitchell who introduced Don to the love of his life, Victoria Garvey, in 1970. Don & Victoria were married in 1972, and began playing music together. They stopped touring extensively when their two children, Joaquin & Celeste were old enough to go to school. In their 42 years together, they recorded ten albums (3 were children's albums) all together, their latest recording "Get Me Down The Road" was released in April, 2015. Sad to say, Victoria passed away May 5, 2014.
Memorials were held for Victoria both in their adopted home of Tucson, Arizona, and at Caffe Lena, and tributes were paid by long time musician friends Tom Mitchell, Tony Markellis, Ed Lowman, Jane Voss & Hoyle Osborne, Frank Wakefield, Kevin Maul, Michael J. & Petie Ronstadt, Andy Cohen, Greg Morton & Nick Coventry, Huxtable Christensen & Hood, John Winn, Bob White, Michael Jerling, Gaylan Taylor, Mark Brooks, Bob Warren & Joy MacKenzie, Frank Orsini, The Trophy Husbands, Geneva Switzerland and Joe & Jesse Bruchac.
At Victoria's Memorial at Caffe Lena in September, 2014, Don was once again reunited with his long time pal, Tom Mitchell. Since then, they have performed a few reunion concerts before sell-out crowds at Caffe Lena and at Monterey Court in Tucson, AZ.
With nigh on to fifty years of songs - both his & Victoria's - and 6 & 12 string guitars and 5 string banjo in hand, Don has hit the road once again, singing his songs of the Southwest and Old Mexico, tunes from the '20's & '30's and his beautifully original songs that have been hailed worldwide. His song "White Mountains Good Bye" was recorded by Bill Staines, while "Santuario" has been recorded by Woods Tea Company, both on CD & video, and "Day After The Day Of The Dead" was covered by cowboy singer and Western Music Association Performer Of The Year (2014) Jim Jones.
Don has been described as a "Tucson Legend" and a "Folk Treasure." The Arizona Daily Star recently referred to him as a "consummate songwriter." Don is now a recording artist for The Ronstadt Record Company, with a new cd due out in the fall of 2019.
In 2017, Don put together his group, The Whiskeypalians (thank you, Susan Holden for the name!), with Nick Coventry on fiddle, Gary Mackender on accordion, Slim Rost on bass, and special guests like Peter McLaughlin on guitar, Petie Ronstadt on banjo and Alex Flores on saxophone they have delighted audiences in clubs, concerts & folk festivals around Arizona.
"Don is versatile and covers a lot of ground musically. He sings with an inherent sweetness and ability to sing seamless lines, the sign of a master singer...a folk treasure." -Daily Times
"Impeccable flat picking and banjo work...the Armstrong take on Western & non-Western imagery is unique and loved by the adventurously broadminded."
-Rick Huff; Rope Burns
"Don gets it right. His songs have a sense of positiveness and romanticism which leaves one feeling good. Uplifting. That's what music is for."
-Erik Darling (The Weavers)
"Both message & mood, sound & sense blended together perfectly."
-Joseph Bruchac; KITE
"Don's voice has the smoothness & flexibility that could allow him to sing almost any kind of music."
-Luke Baldwin; KITE
"Don's terrific storytelling through song is one of Tucson's genuine treasures."