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Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


"No, She's Not Going Anywhere"

Anne Davis will play at The Art of Coffee on Dec. 6 at
9 p.m., where she’ll be accompanied by cellist David
O’Gwynn; you can also catch Davis and O’Gwynn at Cups
in Fondren on Dec. 12th.

by Eric Stracener
Nov. 26, 2003

I have a confession to make: I am inherently
suspicious of confessional albums with a message. So
when I received a copy of Anne Davis’ "Letters,
Prayers, and Journal Entries"—which, by the way, is a
very confessional piece of work—I had my misgivings
about doing a review.

As I glanced through the lyrics, credits and art work
on the record, it became clear to me that Davis, a
Jackson native and longtime Nashville resident, is
serious about showing the world who she is, where
she’s been and how serious she is about her faith. I
braced myself for a listen, thinking that this must be
yet another earnest female singer-songwriter with a
beautiful voice and not much new to say.

One listen to this record, however, eliminated any
misgivings I had. Anne Davis’ debut is an extremely
well-conceived and well-executed collection.
Lyrically, Davis’ main focus does seem to be on very
personal matters of faith and experience but, like
fellow Mississippian Neilson Hubbard, even the songs
that seem to be based on feelings of Christian love
somehow work when interpreted romantically. Let’s face
it: love is love, right?

A particular lyrical highlight is "Temple of
Contradictions," a tough-minded song about spiritual
self-examination, guilt and doubt—all themes that
apply to issues of both faith and romance. "No, I’m
Not Going Anywhere" is another song that delves into
matters of faith, and the intimacy of depending on
others—worldly and otherwise— for support. It’s a
wonderful song.

What defines "Letters, Prayers and Journal Entries,”
however, are Davis’ fantastic sense of melody and the
unique instrument of her voice. Throughout the record,
Davis’ writing and arrangement shine through, as
dramatic and unexpected chord changes add depth and
complexity to the tunes that are all too absent in the
work of most of today’s songwriters. Rather than
settling for a song to go in the safest, prettiest
direction, Davis seems to strive for an emotional
connection in her music, and it works. Davis’ unique
vocal phrasing, with its breathy soulfulness, is
another facet that sets this record apart.

It is also worth noting that "Letters, Prayers and
Journal Entries" is an extremely well-made album.
Davis has clearly surrounded herself with excellent
musicians; there are tasteful glimpses of various
instruments such as cello, violin and accordion, that
complement the purposefully sparse arrangements.
Mississippian Shane Martin provides especially
outstanding acoustic guitar work. Davis’ voice is
recorded particularly well; throughout the record her
tremulous vocals get a well-deserved center stage in
the mix.

"Letters, Prayers and Journal Entries" was a
delightful surprise, and a pleasure to review. It
reminds me of the best work of Nashville alt-folk
songwriters like Kim Richey, and sometimes even brings
to mind Lillith Fair-type rock. Davis recently moved
back to Jackson from Nashville to recover from CFS. We music
fans are lucky to have her back for a little while.
Her CD is available at Be-Bop Record Shops, Family
Christian Stores, and at www.cdbaby.com/annedavis.

Eric Stracener is a lawyer and songwriter in Jackson.



- JACKSON FREE PRESS/written by eric stracener


"reviewers from BESONIC.com"

Reviews

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27.11.2003
Strehl Music about anne davis:


MASTER OF PURE FOLK MUSIC
she´s one of the most talented female singer/songwriters on BeSonic - lends us a hand to survive in this cold world of frozen emotions ... ! each of these songs on her site are giveaways for people who are really into FOLK - pure and strong, performed with a large amount of professional impact, but not flat at all - a heartbeat away from JOAN, JONI or BOB ! her voice lives, her songs are smooth in a way to make you feel alllllright, yeeeaah ! in fact - no campfire - simples, great production here ! ANNE DAVIS - have a listen, even if you´re more in " headbangin´ music ", it´s really worth it and ANNE´s gonna be a friend of yours, too ?!!!


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Song Features

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25.11.2003
HÄGAR Band about temple of contradictions:



A voice which attacks you like a tiger. So much feeling,so much live.Brilliant instrumentals accompany her lovable voice. Folkrock at his best!!!!!!


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27.11.2003
Strehl Music about where the roads cross:



she sings and she feels - emotional stripped - wide open and heartbreakin´ - great song !


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27.12.2003
WallyWally about get lost:



Some words to describe this artist and her music: Talent, Professional, Musician, Songwriter, Singer.....did I miss any? Oh, yes.....Wonderful, Great, Awesome!


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08.04.2004
Colin Lynch about where the roads cross:



This is such an amazing song, I'm voluntarily spellbound by the lyrics and by Anne's vocal which is supported by acoustic superiority of a kind I haven't heard for such a long long time! What a girl what a song


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07.07.2004
Phillip E. Hardy about temple of contradictions:



Anne Davis sings with zest and originality offering up a very nice chorus melody and cool psychedelic vocal effect on the bridge part. A good folk rocker in the tradition of Jewel and Sheryl Crow.


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14.07.2004
Jeza about awakening:



There but for the grace of god goes that recording contract. Every bit as good as Sheryl Crow but with less teenage angst. This is a well rounded, thoughtful performer and tight band from Tennessee Mississippi


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31.07.2004
Phillip E. Hardy about awakening:



Besonic folk fans, perhaps you didn’t hear me the first time I told you that Anne Davis is a bona fide, real-deal songwriting talent. Check out her smooth vocals, substantive lyrics and first rate melodies.


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- www.besonic.com


"review by gail worley"

Welcome to the Critics' Corner

Gail Worley

My personal tastes mostly fall in the rock and roll domain, branching out to various genres such as classic hard rock, heavy metal, melodic industrial, power pop and singer/songwriters. So I'll be looking for and listening to artists whose music excites me and about which I feel inspired to write. Any criticism will be constructive in nature; meant to shine a light on an area where the performance could be improved. I have never been one to review a song I didn't care for, just for the purpose of ripping on it, and I don't plan to start now. Hopefully, my reviews will be fun to read and will turn people on to some cool new bands. You can email me at Rezpect@earthlink.net.

anne davis
The first thing I thought of when I heard Anne Davis’ voice was a huskier toned Suzanne Vega with Warren Zevon-influenced phrasing, which is pretty exciting. Anne’s music falls into the broad, Folk-Pop, Acoustic Singer-Songwriter genre and although she doesn’t mention it in her Starpolish profile, she’s definitely a contemporary Christian songwriter. Her songs have an unmistakable spiritual message that’s poignant without being preachy. That said; these songs also work as conventional love songs or confessionals. Anne has a perfect voice for the type of music she’s doing, her songwriting skills are outstanding and the musical arrangements – which include the cello, violin, upright bass, mandolin, accordion, penny whistle and uilleann pipe (a reed instrument in the bagpipe family) -- are excellent. Anne lives in Nashville and has apparently been singing and writing songs for 30 years, but she looks like she’s still in her 30’s, so she must have been playing since she was an egg. My favorite of the three songs posted on Starpolish is the beautiful, soul-baring “Where The Roads Cross,” which is just an awesome song. Anne also has some excellent, outside the mainstream influences like Sam Phillips, Nanci Griffith, Patty Griffin, David Wilcox, K's Choice, Marc Cohn and Jonatha Brooke, which is reason enough to check her out.
- www.starpolish.com


"review by jesse rivera for illmedia."

May 4, 2004

I received my review copy of Anne Davis' debut CD last week. I listened to it twice and I was just blown away. I could not believe how good it was. I sat down to write a review for it but I didn't know where to start. There was just so much about the album I liked. I decided to take the advice a friend once gave me. He told me if I ever found a CD I thought was great but wanted to be sure about it to put it away for at least a week then listen to it again.

I lasted 6 days, I listened to her CD again today and I still really like it. Anne Davis is a native of Jackson, Mississippi, who after college let her heart lead her to Nashville. A contemporary American Folk artist who lists Sam Phillips, Nanci Griffin, and the Counting Crows as her influences.

This album took several years to finish. During the time spent working on this album, Davis went through many ups and downs that tested her strengths as an artist but most importantly tested her faith in herself. The passion and self-discovery felt on this album reminds me a lot of Depeche Mode's SONGS OF FAITH AND DEVOTION. Only where Depeche Mode were rediscovering themselves, Davis on this album has just begun to unearth the talents and craftmanship which could see her become the next great American songwriter.

Davis, like many artists, has been referred to as a poet with her words set to music. The proof that Davis is a poet is her unique phrasing ability. Davis stretches, shortens, and does whatever needs to be done to the words to make them fit into the content of the melody played behind her voice. If Bruce Springsteen is the Steinbeck of songwriters, then Davis is the Emily Dickinson. Miles Davis once said Bruce Springsteen and Frank Sinatra were the best phrasers he ever heard, I wish he were alive just to hear what he would have to say about Davis.

The songs are built around beautiful melodies performed by some of Nashville's most renowned studio musicians. Davis is also very proud to boast that no drum machines or any other kind of technologies of the sort were used to record the album. It has a very organic, homemade feel and sound. Some of the more unique instruments used in recording the album were upright bass, mandolin, cello, accordion, and uilleann pipes.

Most of the songs on the album have a slow melodic flow. Like tubing down a lazy river on a warm day. Think of Sarah McLachlan's slower stuff. The first two songs on the album do have a more upbeat pop feel to them--think of the Indigo Girls. These are a couple of comparisons. Better yet, let me stop comparing Davis to others and just let her shine on her own, which she easily does. Her album can be previewed and purchased here. Give it a listen. Then buy yourself a copy. This album would be a great gift for anyone who loves music about faith and finding yourself in the chaos that is today's world. Support independent artists. This stuff is the real deal. These are the artists who should be in the limelight reaping the rewards.

jesse rivera for illmedia - www.planetofsound.tk - www.planetofsound.tk


Discography

LETTERS, PRAYERS, AND JOURNAL ENTRIES--new debut cd release with 15 cuts.

*anne has been receiving college radio airplay nationwide and in canada, as well as in germany.

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Jackson, Miss. native, Anne Davis' new self-produced album, Letters, Prayers, and Journal Entries, a compilation of thought-provoking upbeat tempos and ballads from the "folk-alternative" artist, has been turning ears as it has traveled throughout the U.S. and beyond by receiving quite favorable college radio airplay. Davis wrote all fifteen tracks, and the "organic feel" of the melodies is attributed to the defining instruments you'll find on the album.

"What I really wanted to go for was to put together a project using only real instruments....and that meant no compromise with using any type of fabricated sounds, including drum machines." And, that's exactly what you're going to hear--such instruments as the cello, violin, upright acoustic bass, mandolin, accordion, penny whistle and the uilleann pipe on the CD. "I wanted everything to be real....for me, as an artist, it only made sense for the production of the project to be as soul-baring as the lyrics."

Sharing a bit of background, Davis matter-of-factly will tell you, "I perform, sing, and write simply
because that's what I do. I've been writing and singing since I was a little girl, giving concerts for my Siamese cat, Feather, and our Greyhound, Zip, in the backyard with my tennis racket guitar. It just
seemed the thing to do. Years later, I'm still finding myself writing and scribbling down song lyrics on
napkins or backs of envelopes--and this time, playing to larger audiences beyond an attentive cat and dog. Apparently, it's just a part of who I am and why I'm here."

Although Davis' singing began at an early age around the house and in church, she really began pursuing music seriously while attending college. During a weekend retreat her sophomore year at Mississippi State University, Anne bit the bullet and performed a song she had written. "Nervously, with hands shaking, heart pounding, I got up and shared for the first time one of my own songs and the response was completely mind-blowing. I remember sensing that evening that something truly significant had taken place that would alter my life forever. I was left reeling for days....I guess it all started that night. Somehow, I've had gigs ever since."

Anne's passion for music bleeds over into camaraderie with fellow musicians, which has taken her overseas to perform in music festivals in Hungary. She says she would love to play in Eastern Europe again in the future, and spread over into Western Europe as well.

After college, Anne moved to Nashville to discover why her heart pulled so insistently for her to pack her bags and head her loaded-down car in that direction. Thus, the impetus for Letters, Prayers, and Journal Entries was born.

In the past, Davis had dabbled in the studio many times, walking out only with demos, but she knew when it was time to move forward with her first full-length project. "People continually began asking me for product after gigs, so it became apparent what I felt I needed to do--I hated sending them away empty handed." After spending several years in the studio persevering through many obstacles, including a debilitating illness known as CFS, she has finally emerged with the finished product of her debut CD release. "There were so many days I wondered if it would ever happen....so the day the CDs showed up at my doorstep, it felt incredibly surreal. I remember opening up a box, pulling out a CD and just looking at it almost in disbelief."

Her songs explore a sense of questioning that easily resonates with cross-generational segments of listeners. One of the most popular songs on the album, "Temple of Contradictions," meshes upbeat melody with poignant lyrics that contemplate such strong emotions as guilt, shame, and wrestling with temptation. Other songs such as "Where the Roads Cross" and "No, I'm Not Going Anywhere," though both favored ballads, offer different streams of thought. "Where the Roads Cross" reveals fragile, uneasy questioning, while the song
"No, I'm Not Going Anywhere" strongly declares steadfast commitment in relationships. "Days Like These" and "Journal Entries" stir up nostalgic emotions of days gone by as well as reminders of
reasons to hope. Also, included in the list of 15 cuts are "Until That Day" and "May Your Cokefloats Be
Overflowing," which were both wedding songs written specifically for good friends.

It's these soulful, human lyrics that are so relatable and reflect Anne's penchant for translating complex
emotions and thoughts to the everyday listener. It's her hypnotic melodies and raw, textured vocals along with her quirky, down-to-earth persona and sense of humor that make Anne so believable and endearing to an audience.

This singer/songwriter, also pegged as a "poet," describes her live performances as "wearing her
heart on her sleeve" experiences that she shares with her audiences, even to the point of her reading from her journals as well as singing songs that