Dave Kenyon

Dave Kenyon


Country-tinged melancholia attempting to untangle the confusing knots of love and loss.


Dave Kenyon takes his inspiration from the raw immediacy and home-spun troubadour philosophy that typifies the storytelling of American folk and country heroes such as Woody Gutherie and Townes Van Zandt. Mix in a healthy dollop of bucolic melancholy that nods its head firmly in the direction of 1960’s British folk and, once an old guitar and a big set of lungs are added, the mix is complete. Dave tries to capture the spirit of the song by recording live with simple equipment in one or two takes and preserving all the sounds of a man toiling with voice and acoustic guitar to communicate the subtle slew of emotions we struggle to find words for.

I grew up on top of an isolated piece of Lancashire moorland in the mid-Seventies. It wasn’t the most obvious breeding ground for an aspiring singer songwriter as there was only one sort of popular music around and it was made out of brass. If there weren’t cornets and trumpets in evidence then the good folk of the Rossendale valley would usually just wrinkle their noses in distaste and move on.

Luckily there was musical salvation in the form of an eccentric aunt who had paid somewhat hit and miss attention to the Sixties music scene. Trips to her flat usually revolved around raiding the record collection and playing mysterious looking vinyl albums on her old Gramophone. These trips represented my first proper exposure to great songwriting talent, Johnny Cash, Crosby Still and Nash and Young, Simon and Garfunkel, Neil Diamond, The Byrrds and The Beatles. Fired with enthusiasm I shuffled through the Brighouse and Rastrick records at home and even managed to dig up some Bob Dylan and Donovan records.

I was spared a musical future as a trumpet player by a family move to the Isle of Wight in the 1980s. Aged 15, I started to hear a rumour at school that some of the weird kids were putting a band together. At this stage of my life I was academically average, poor at sport and unpopular with the ladies. I spent most of my spare time in my bedroom listening to music or hanging around amusement arcades watching people play Space Harrier.

I made my mind up that something had to change, this was my time, I loved music and I was going to be a musician. The snag was, I didn’t know anything about music theory, I didn’t own an instrument and I certainly couldn’t play one, unless you counted the detested trumpet! The solution was simple enough, I raided the supply of money that I’d accumulated from working as an ice-cream man during weekends and holidays and headed for the only music shop on the Isle of Wight that sold guitars and amps.

I was shitting myself as I approached the shop and almost didn’t make it inside. The place was full of cigarette smoke and huge blokes in leather jackets, I snuck in quietly feeling distinctly underdressed in my chinos and cardigan but the stealthy approach didn’t help me much, the whole shop turned around and stared murderously at me. I’d read in the paper about Hells Angels and what they were capable of, so every fiber of me was screaming to get out and forget about this crazy idea. But I stood my ground; something was whispering to me that if I quit and ran this time then this delicious opportunity to really be something different would be lost forever.

I balls’d it out and came away with a white Squire Stratocaster and an old H+H guitar amp and a high so zinging and extraordinarily intense that, try as I might, I would never manage to recreate again, either through narcotics, women, drink or song. I did think some years later, that my state of mind on leaving the shop might have been down to the bikers smoking some pucka strain of weed but then cynicism is an unfortunate curse once you get past 30!

So the journey was begun, I went on to play with many bands moving from the Isle of Wight to Bristol and then to London in pursuit of fame and fortune, playing the toilet circuit all over the North side of the capital. I cut my live teeth in The Hope and Anchor, The Bull and Gate, The Dublin Castle and The RedEye and many other backstreet pubs that I’ve forgotten or are no longer there. I filled my time between playing music with a dizzying array of different jobs; advertising salesman, removal man, public relations consultant, rigger, project manager, warehouseman, postman, boat yard worker, garlic picker, marketing manager and builder. I soaked it all in, there were stories everywhere, love and loss and pain and joy and all with a common human thread tying it together.

When the opportunity came to move back to the Isle of Wight several years ago I knew that I would find the peace that I needed to make sense of my experiences. I knew I’d have time to rake over the images that had stuck in my head and the sentences I’d heard spoken by ordinary people that had resonated with an order of magnitude out of keeping with their context. I set to work writing songs, trying to document the little human d

Set List

I have a catalogue of over 50 original songs and choose which to play off the cuff.