‘A good representation of their work': Long-time sideman Jon Herington picks Steely Dan’s signature song

Guitarist Jon Herington has worked as a sideman with Steely Dan going back to 2000, while also playing a showcase role in the Dukes of September all-star amalgam with Donald Fagen.

Along the way, he’s been featured on the last two Steely Dan studio efforts, as well as recent solo efforts from both Fagen and Walter Becker. As part of their touring group, Herington’s been charged with recreating iconic guitar parts originally executed by the likes of Becker, Denny Dias, Larry Carlton, Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, Jay Graydon, Lee Ritenour and Mark Knopfler.

That’s given him a unique vista on — and a very deep appreciation of — the Steely Dan catalog. Asked to pick a favorite, he perhaps inevitably demurs. But that doesn’t mean Herington can’t pinpoint the song that perhaps best represents the band’s genius.

“It’s pretty hard to pick a single favorite song from the Steely Dan catalog; there are just too many great ones,” Herington says in a new Q&A on his website. “But, for what it’s worth, one that comes to mind right away is ‘Deacon Blues.’ It always struck me as a song that somehow, if you had to pick one, would be a good representation of their work. It has so much of their signature music sound about it, and the underdog character’s ‘voice’ is classic Steely Dan lyric brilliance.”

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