Cole Davidson
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Cole Davidson

Burlington, Vermont, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2017

Burlington, Vermont, United States
Established on Jan, 2017
Solo Folk Singer/Songwriter




"Album Review: Cole Davidson, 'Fable'"

In 2016, folk-rock trio Navytrain emerged from the University of Vermont's creative ether. The hardworking group gigged constantly, hitting practically every venue in the Burlington area, often two or more in the same week. Seven Days first honed in on the group, which singer-songwriter Cole Davidson fronted, after the band released the eerily beautiful, continuous-shot live video for its single "Runaway." Davidson's earnestness and fragility were staggering, and his voice and guitar skills were ear-catching, to say the least.

Navytrain split up somewhat shortly after they began, but not before gaining notoriety in the local and regional jam band scene — with eyes particularly on Davidson. Now that Navytrain has left the station, Davidson continues the group's neo-Americana sound. However, his debut EP, Fable, is dreamier and more ethereal than anything his former trio cooked up.

There's a sense of newness across Fable's five tracks. Wispy atmospherics support a foundation of lightly plucked acoustic guitar and sparse percussion, all bathed in reverb. Davidson wields space like just another tool in his collection, weighing emptiness against the full force of his musical prowess. Davidson's voice is powerful — though he shows this not through overblown wailing, but rather with control and nuance. It takes a lot of power to sing with this kind of effortless restraint and finely tuned modulation.

On the airy opener "Praise Be," Davidson confronts temptation. As his guitar lightly flickers in and out, layers of vocal harmonies converge for a reverent, gospel-infused hook.

In a completely meta tune, "Troubadours," Davidson questions his entire musical career: "Lord knows I know / My sound is a dime a dozen / Another sad song from a tortured soul / Cue the eye roll / White boy thinks he's something." True, the singer-songwriter genre is overcrowded with young, white men who think what they have to say is original and important. But Davidson admits his faults and hopes for the best.

"Someplace" features the artist's finest fingerwork, weaving together a spritely nylon-stringed web of tones. Subtle R&B vocal influences emerge as the singer fully reveals the song's meandering melody.

The final track, "Fable," is a soft and uplifting ballad that connects the EP's sonic dots. Again, Davidson frequently uses sonic vacuums to underscore emotional moments that can't be fully conveyed with sound or words.

Fable operates like a palate cleanser for Davidson. You can hear that he's hard at work carving out space in a congested artistic arena. His acute sense of structure and dynamics will serve him well on his journey.

Listen to Fable on Spotify. Davidson celebrates the release of a new EP on Wednesday, February 6, at Nectar's in Burlington. - Seven Days

"Check out Cole Davidson"

Today we’d like to introduce you to Cole Davidson.

Cole, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.

Music wasn’t something I took too seriously until college. Going off to school gave me a kind of independence I never had. I was far enough away from home to have the freedom to embarrass myself in front of strangers. You have to at first. It’s definitely worse to perform in front of people you know, or who know you, when you’re starting out. Strangers are more honest. Not to say I’m not still starting out, but I’m lucky enough to have music paying the bills at the moment.
So, I played a lot of open mics and small gigs and started releasing some music online. When I graduated, I was in a band and doing solo shows. I moved into an RV for a few months, put my head down and just worked. Eventually, things with the band didn’t work out and I decided to go off on my own. I kind of refused to get a real job because I liked the pressure. I made myself make the music thing work. When you keep at one thing and don’t stop, things seem to eventually fall into place and you dig a deeper and deeper groove – and you work your way out of an RV and into an apartment. That’s what I had to learn.

I didn’t study music in college so I do have some other skills to fall back on, but that’s a safety net I don’t plan on using right now. I just released an EP and I’m traveling quite a bit. I don’t know, I just turned 23. I consider that pretty young. I just look forward to keep on building.

We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?

I guess I fall into the singer/songwriter category – a little folky. It’s a lot of acoustic finger-picking and ambience. I’m not trying to be a hero with my vocals either. I just try to sound like I believe what I’m saying – which I do. A lot of what I write can be subjective. I struggle with the idea that you have to make songs that are relatable. I think if you try too hard to be relatable you actually end up doing the opposite. It’s almost like the less you try to relate the more you do. My themes can be a bit sprawling but you’ll catch on if you listen through a few times – I think. There’s just no way people can get an accurate look inside your head. I’ve found that music is a better translator than speaking. But I could just be making excuses for not being a big talker.

How can artists connect with other artists?

Just wade into your local music scene. Go to local musicians’ shows. They’ll come to yours in return. Don’t pressure people or place expectations on them. Just play music, bounce ideas and keep things light. And if people want it, let them move on. Everyone’s an individual and not everything is personal.

Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?

My website ( has an events page where you can see where I’m playing live. I’m always adding new dates at a progressively quicker pace. All my music can be streamed on Apple Music and Spotify as well. - Boston Voyager Magazine

"Soundbites: Brother to Brother; All Aboard"

Attention, passengers. The train is leaving the station — the Navytrain, that is. (I apologize for making such a corny joke. It was low-hanging fruit, and I'm better than that.) The acoustic folk-rock trio will strum its last chord on Thursday, November 30, at Nectar's in Burlington.

Navytrain burst onto the local scene in fall 2016. Their gorgeous song "Runaway" and its accompanying live video signaled that they were a noteworthy new band.
Navytrain's founding members — guitarist Cole Davidson, percussionist Ray Belanger and bassist Zebulon Carney — were seniors at the University of Vermont when they formed the group. As graduation approached at the end of the 2016-17 school year, the band's life expectancy was a looming question — particularly when Belanger left it after graduation.

"Drummers have come and gone since he left," Davidson writes in an email. "Naturally, the dynamic shifts with each newcomer. We were searching for the band's original feel, but, of course, that's impossible."

"Everyone is so different, so you have to adapt," he continues. "If adapting means changing the musical dynamic, then you're somewhere else entirely — especially if it's a three-piece band."

Now that the group is ending, Davidson is embarking on a solo career. He just released his first single, "Phenomena," along with a brooding music video.

"I wrote [the song] just around the time I started to see Navytrain's and my own future start to come into focus," he writes. "It's [about] how it's usually in your best interest to learn to accept change. A pretty generic theme, I know. But it was cathartic at the time."

Davidson says to expect more singles before a solo album surfaces. He's confident that it's the right decision to permanently park Navytrain in the metaphorical rail yard.

"Pushing on in a disingenuous way feels wrong — almost exploitative," he writes. "There's no bad blood or anything. It's just the next step." - Seven Days


Sleep Talking (EP, 2019)

  • Lore
  • The Creek
  • Nick of Time
  • Sleep Talking
Fable (EP, 2018)
  • Praise Be
  • Hold Me Down
  • Troubadours
  • Someplace
  • Fable
Colors (Single, 2018)

Last Lifetime (Single, 2018)

Phenomena (Single, 2017)

All tracks available on Apple Music & Spotify



Cole Davidson is a 24 year-old, howling, fingerstyle American musician. His two EPs earned him spots on hundreds of legendary stages in the US and England since 2018. Pop sensation Dinah Jane recently chose him to play at Xfinity and Sofar's "Future of Awesome" tour. Davidson emits dark and sunny melodies that have proven to stand out, mainly through word-of-mouth, in the modern folk music arena.

Band Members