An unabashed music fanatic, Don VanCleave first picked up a camera at the age of 14, documenting The Allman Brothers celebratory performance for the release of Eat A Peach at the Macon Auditorium in 1972.
Since then, VanCleave has captured many intimate and historic moments on stage and off stage for countless artists including: Lenny Kravtiz, Bruce Springsteen, Alabama Shakes, Kings of Leon, John Legend and Questlove are just a few of the famous names VanCleave has viewed through the lens of his camera.
VanCleave was born in Jackson, TN and raised in Macon, GA. A one-time resident of Birmingham, AL, and now residing in Nashville, TN, Southern life and culture have served as a deep influence on VanCleave's work. Southernacana, debuting at The Rymer Gallery in November of 2016, marks the first time many of these photos will be displayed for public viewing.
His coveted level of access to some of these intimate moments comes from years of working behind the scenes in the music industry. In 1988, VanCleave opened Magic Platter CD in Birmingham, AL. For 14 years, Magic Platter (and Birmingham) became known as a national starting point for many acts. Magic Platter received NARM’s Small Retailer of the Year in 1998 and 1999.
In 1995, VanCleave was a founding member of The Coalition of Independent Music Stores (CIMS) and served as its President until 2008. CIMS, now in its 21st year, offers coordinated marketing for labels in nationally recognized indie stores. During his tenure, CIMS launched the Thinkindie distribution company, which specializes in bringing unique products to the independent store community. VanCleave is a co-founder of Record Store Day, now an international success story.
In 2008 he joined The Artist Organization, a LA-based management company. At TAO, VanCleave ran point on artists such as Soundgarden, Chris Cornell, Lenny Kravitz and others. In 2014 VanCleave left TAO and joined the Made In Network in Nashville. VanCleave is responsible for recruiting and running YouTube channel strategies for artists such as Johnny Cash, BB King and Waylon Jennings. He also manages Nashville based artists Moon Taxi and Brent Cobb.