dave tamkin
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dave tamkin

Boulder, Colorado, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2001 | SELF

Boulder, Colorado, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2001
Solo Americana Acoustic




"Dave Tamkin Takes Over the Last Chapter pub"

southern new hampshire university article

Dave Tamkin Takes Over the Last Chapter pub
By John Bergeron

How does a song speak to us as individuals? How do we interpret the music that we hear everyday and somehow find a connection with something so abstract yet so simple?
Singer/songwriter and down right cool cat Dave Tamkin is still trying to answer this question but I think he’s found a temporary solution, “write a good song and play it well.”

It was between classes and while meandering around the halls I noticed a flyer for a show at the coffeehouse at the Last Chapter pub on Sunday night. Looking for a change from the everyday typical nonsense that is the life of a college student and in need for a good story I decided the struggling musician route would be the best idea, so I put it into my schedule to check out this Dave Tamkin guy. Recovering from a nasty hangover and with no fluids in my system besides Sam Adams and coffee a chilled out night was the perfect solution.

Listening to Tamkin play is like a therapy session, you don’t know exactly what you have figured out, but you realize in the end that you feel better. He treats his guitar much like you should treat a relationship, with each song being a different woman, gently and loving, but with enough control over it that when the song is over the guitar knows who the boss is.

All jokes aside, the intricate finger play constantly kept me watching, and Tamkin’s heartfelt lyrics and vocal prowess gave me a soundtrack to the show that was unfolding before my eyes. There is an almost controlled chaos to his percussive playing that is oh so beautiful. He is all over the place and it becomes hard to imagine how he maintains such discipline yet after a few songs I soon realized that Dave Tamkin knows what he is doing and all my subconscious confusion slowly faded away.

With a good hour or so of playing time Tamkin managed to fit in a fairly extensive set list consisting mostly of originals but with like every virtually unknown, there were a few covers thrown in. Tamkin threw his signature label on “In Your Eyes”, the classic Peter Gabriel love song, a funky version of “The Wind Cries Mary”, but the highlight of the night for me was probably the best and only cover I’ve ever heard of “Burning,” by Blue Oyster Cult.

Judging by Tamkin’s list of originals, it’s easy to see how he commanded the songs of others. Playing a style that borrows its sound from everything from folk to blues, Tamkin’s lyrics tell a story that you swear have been playing in your head throughout your life, leaving you asking yourself if you have heard some of his music before. With songs about everything from relationships to leaving everything behind to start again hoping that everything will come out ok in the end, I found myself taking a good look at my own situations.

I managed to sit down with Tamkin after his set, and instead of asking him the clichéd ‘where do you get your ideas’ type of questions, we ended up talking about music, nothing more, nothing less and he told me his secret to his style and his influence.
“I always liked it when a song would speak to me and I knew that I wasn’t alone in my feelings, so if I write about something that happened to me I know that when someone hears it, they can come up with their own conclusion. But no matter what it means something to them.”

Tamkin has been playing music since about the fifth grade but has only about two years of real experience under his belt. But to me, Dave Tamkin’s big break is long overdue. With the music industry constantly bombarding the general public with the same recycled crap, finding music that can speak to you on such a basic human level can be a daunting task.

In a world where a musician’s popularity is based solely around their ability to sell merchandise instead of pure raw talent, Dave Tamkin stands above the rest. His music speaks directly to anyone who has ever experienced life in its purest form. He demands your attention, and once he has you in his grasp you won’t want to be let go.

So if you enjoy your music simple yet abstract, chaotic yet beautiful and lastly but certainly not least, if you enjoy music the way it was meant to be played, and that is with heart, soul and a few laughs along the way, check out Dave Tamkin. You wont be disappointed.


"Corporate America to Music America"

Adrienne N. Leon
Sporting a suit and tie in corporate America was never a good fit for marketing professional-turned musician Dave Tamkin. Armed with a business degree from DePaul, Tamkin knew his adoration for music could not be compromised for esteemed credentials, and encourages Roosevelt students to embrace their creative niche.
The guitarist/singer performed on Friday, Nov. 3 at the Herman Crown Center with hopes of inspiring the audience to be the “driving force behind success, regardless of how discouraging their circumstances seem,” he said.
“Besides inspiring my audience, I want my music to offer a fresh sound that they’ll enjoy,” Tamkin added.
He describes his style as “fuel-acoustic rock,” a pop-like, uplifting sound that is relatable, yet possesses a distinct quality.
“It’s good to know that there are still real artists out there who are true to their craft, and show perseverance. A lot of times people will say there’s no future with a music degree, but Dave’s performance shows that achieving success is possible,” said Arnold Steele, performance major.
Tamkin performed many lively selections from his self-produced album, “Only Traffic,” which he modestly mentioned is influenced by folk-rock band, Toad and the Wet Sprocket. “Smile,” was one of the well-received songs due to its “flavor-filled tempo,” asserted Alexia Pettis, political science major.
Though Tamkin’s musical talents have enabled him to perform nationally in major cities that include Boston and Portland, Tamkin admitted that he did not always fully embrace his passion.
He initially studied music before becoming a business major, which Tamkin felt would provide more job security at the time. But, while pursuing a business degree, he continued to sharpen his skills by participating in his school classical band.
“I’ve always been lyrically-driven, but as a classical performer, I realized that I could add a different twist to the authenticity of this music and make it my own,” he said.
Remaining skeptical about focusing on music professionally, Tamkin utilized his business degree by working a marketing position in the suburbs until experiencing what he considers a “magical moment.”
Tamkin was offered a position to become a musician at the House of Blues in Chicago, which sparked his music career. Soon after, Tamkin was performing nine shows a week around Chicago for a year.
“I’m grateful for the opportunities that have come my way and I am blessed to wake up every day to do what I love,” he shared.
Tamkin has made two albums, “Live in LA” and the aforementioned, “Only Traffic.” While currently working on his third album, he pleasantly stated that “it is a new challenge” because it is more hip-hop oriented, unlike his other compositions. A drummer and violinist will also accompany Tamkin on the third album.
“I feel privileged to have had Roosevelt’s SPEED Activities Board ask me to perform. I hope that my music has positively influenced someone else to accomplish their dream of success.”
More information can be found about Dave Tamkin at www.davetamkin.com.

- Roosevelt University, Chicago

"Tamkin Enchants at Coffeehouse"

It took approximately 15 seconds for me to conclude Dave Tamkin was the most instrumentally sound act to perform at the Coffeehouse so far this year.
Tamkin backed up this thought (before his first track had ended) with a solo jam that brought flashbacks of my first John Mayer concert experience
It was a pattern that would repeat itself often throughout the 90-plus minute set Monday in the Union.
He is one of the two house acts at the House of Blues in Chicago, a position that requires an excellent supporting cast and some outstanding musical talent.
On Monday, track after track provided a continuous wave of difficult chords and obvious instrumental skill.
Tamkin seemed to have a considerable bias for the top strings, but the result was anything but unbalanced. Nifty pick work and a wealth of cathy hooks gave this set all of the backing it needed.
Nearly halfway through the show my editor and fellow coffeehouse music fan, Jennie, asked me how I liked his lyrics.
I broke out of my guitar-induced trance for long enough to think, "oh yeah, lyrics." Up to that point, he could've been chastising my family name to the sound of those hooks and I wouldn't have noticed.
Eventually, I had to notice. The vocals definitely weren't bad. Tamkin's lyrics were more straightforward than those of some of the other acts on campus this year. In terms of voice, what Tamkin lacks in distinctiveness, he definitely makes up for in pure technique. Each note has a deliberate quality that brings the guitar to the forefront, and with a musician like Tamkin, that is right where it belongs.
As the show progressed, Tamkin had begun to remind me of musicians much more serious about the art that is guitar playing, most notably Keller Williams. I feel repetitive in writing that it was an honor to have Dave Tamkin playing at CSS, but in this case, it's necessary.
A more professional and talkented artist is impossible to find at at a venue as small as ourts. Find more about Dave and his music at www.davetamkin.com - Brandon Knettel

"Tamkin Plays Bloomington, IN"

A man with two-day-old scruff on his face and self-described “Wolverine hair” has just walked into Kilroy’s Sports. He carries all his gear in two hands – a guitar in one and an effects pedal in the other. He looks tired. Maybe it’s because he played a show in Youngstown, Ohio, seven hours earlier then jumped in his Honda CRV so he could make his 10:30 show at Sports. Or, maybe it’s because he’s clocked 30,000 miles touring since January without more than a week’s rest – and playing two shows in one day is far from unusual. Tamkin drops his gear off at the stage and melts into a booth hoping to find a few moments peace before taking the mike.
He is a new kind of act. At 28, Tamkin defies the young musician stereotype. His tours aren’t remembered as blurry visions punctuated by long car rides with intense headaches. For the last three years, he has handled all of the business of his career, from booking venues to posting flyers to promote his shows. No street teams. No record labels. No time for anything but music and business. And it’s working.
Tamkin graduated with a degree in music business from DePaul University in 2001. Any other concentration would have been inappropriate for this musical workhorse, but Tamkin refuses to let business steal attention from the music.
“If you put your goal on something you can’t control, like selling CDs and gaining popularity, you’ll always be searching for it, you’ll always be looking for that lottery ticket.” While he maintains that the business end is vital, he tries not to let his focus slip from what is really important – writing and playing good music.
Tamkin isn’t shy when he describes the benefits and shortcomings of tooling around the country toting a guitar and a suitcase.
“I have the opportunity to check out the whole country because I write songs. I’m not a tourist, I’m just passing through, so I can’t choose what I want to see, the adventure is just given to me.”
At times, the life many aspiring musicians would happily trade for can become repetitive and lonely.
“My days are pretty much the same except for the scenery,” Tamkin says. He hates that sometimes he feels like he has to put a conversation or a relationship on hold – his world set to the rhythm of turn signals and curtain calls while the people he is close to move in different directions. “I hate that I get out of the loop of what’s going on with my family and friends at home.”
Heartbreak, loneliness, and finding happiness in a situation that went wrong are just a few of the things that keep Tamkin’s foot on the gas. His process is very natural. Sometimes, his mind is a reservoir and lyrics spout on a page like a geyser. Other times, the well runs dry.
“Songs are like magic. I can’t force them. They come out when I need to get something out of me.” In the past, that something was usually a girl. As Tamkin has matured as a musician and songwriter, his lyrics and their meanings have progressed as well. Songs don’t get written during boring lectures anymore – which is where he wrote “Prelude.” Songs like “Only Traffic” and “Home” have formed from Tamkin’s experiences on the road, and in remembrance of his family cottage in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.
Tamkin has learned; it’s not enough to just write about an experience. He needs to come out of the experience with something important to say. While his writing does serve as a kind of therapy, he also hopes that his audiences can relate.
“Hopefully someone else out there, sitting in their room, or driving in their car, is going to understand. We all have the same experiences and go through the same things.” Of course, he doesn’t mean exactly the same things. Not many of us have been on stage with other national touring acts, afraid we might vomit from nerves.
This past July, Tamkin shared the stage with Guster at Old St. Pat’s “World’s Largest Block Party,” before 10,000 Chicagoans.
“Guster was a big deal to me,” Tamkin says, fiddling with a CD sitting on the table in front of him. “I loved their instrumentation and their song writing. [Playing with them] made me feel like I was going somewhere with music.”
Going somewhere is one thing, but now, Tamkin feels like he’s breaking through.
“I’m getting better as a musician and I feel like I’m writing better songs. I’m getting more of a response when I play shows.” Tamkin’s checks from CD sales are growing, as are his audiences; but his goals and attitude are the same.
“I play because I have a passion for life and music. Music is a powerful thing. When I play, people can have fun, shake their ass and forget they have to work tomorrow.”

Patrick Giese - Indianapolis University


From the beginning, the reminiscent quality of his tone is contrasted by the unique production of this song. It starts with a boosted synth and a repetitious strum of the guitar. He sets a fast pace with the addition of a soft beat, recorded to imitate the beat of a butterfly wing. Then, he enters, honestly and powerfully, The roadtrip of “Bleeding Orange” concludes with some harmonies, a final chorus, and the tick of a clock. I am left reflecting on this song’s beautiful discovery of the pain of dreams. The honest lyrics, intricate production, and organically harmonious sound of Tamkin’s voice make the song resonate and rock. - Two Story Melody

"Dave Tamkin – Bleeding Orange"

Singer-songwriter Dave Tamkin has made a career out of bringing his energetic personality and frenetic guitar to the stage and connecting with crowds all over the country. It is a style that allows him to stand out from the thousands of over singer-songwriters with acoustic guitars out there. This latest release continues that trend and it really helps add a new dynamic to the song. When Tamkin’s vocals take off on the choruses you can almost hear the pain those butterflies met on that fateful night. - Songs That I Like


Undoubtedly, its Tamkin’s gift of words that make “Bleeding Orange” stand out. “I was given wings young as I can imagine” is soon followed by the imagery of “building dreams on broken strings and napkins”. Tamkin continues to flex his lyrical gift with lines such as “when will my heart age to match my reflection”, “windshield crime scene running down this dream”, and “I learned to fly just to find my way home”. With every passing line, the listener is drawn in to hear the story behind the music and always left wanting more. - Gig Soup

"Listen: Dave Tamkin’s “Bleeding Orange”"

With a rhythmic guitar line strewn with distorted bass to let you know this will be a grave topic, Tamkin builds up to the soaring “I learned to fly just to find my way home.” In a unique blend of monarch butterfly migration set to a Petty-esque vocal and song styles, “Bleeding Orange” will touch your wounded, driving soul. As we all strive for something beautiful, and while just as often we unexpectedly collide into a proverb windshield, this incredibly original song will be universally resonant. - Americana Highways

"Dave Tamkin : Bleeding Orange"

Smooth melodies with powerful lyrics and moving beats are what Dave Tamkin is all about. The songs flow between slow and upbeat with multiple builds throughout. Tamkin’s emotion-filled vocals ring throughout the albums telling stories fueled by inspiration and hope. - 303 Music


dave tamkin & co. "SHOES" (2020)

dave tamkin "Bleeding Orange" (2019)

dave tamkin "EP" (2017)

dave tamkin "Empty Pages" (2013)

dave tamkin "CEDAR" (2013)

dave tamkin & Co. "let me hear you scream" (2008)

dave tamkin "only traffic" (2005)

dave tamkin live acoustic in L.A. (2003)

Dave Tamkin and the PPC. "...if you will" (2002)



“I brought “SHOES” to the band a while ago as I was struggling with not being on the road and touring more often. I was also struggling with seeing the growing population of people experiencing homelessness in Boulder, CO. A new shelter opened up where a guitar shop used to be down the street from us. With each passing week, the line would grow with people waiting for an opportunity to sleep under a roof with some heat. As winter moved in we heard that shoes were one of the hardest thing to come by. So we plan on trading some new music for a pair of shoes that need a new adventure and could help a someone further their journey to a safe and more secure life,” says Tamkin.

Tamkin has plans to tour Colorado, Utah, California, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming in support of the release and to collaborate with local shelters in providing shoes for the homeless. Originally scheduled for April, the tour has been postponed and will be rescheduled this fall, dates to be determined. With the world dealing with the global COVID-19 pandemic, Dave Tamkin & Co. will be staying in touch with fans through social media and their newsletter while they finish the new album due out later in 2020. 

“Start looking at your shoes, stop looking at mine. This is our story, it’s what we leave behind”

Recorded at The Huffkin Files Studio in Boulder, CO, mixed by Tim King in Cedar Rapids, IA, and Mastered by Jim Wilson (Gregory Alan Isakov, Yawpers, Charlie Crockett, Bob Mould, Richard Thompson), “SHOES” was a collaborative effort from Dave Tamkin & Co.. “I’m fortunate to share this song with Brad Huffman and Chadzilla,” says Tamkin. “Brad Huffman spent a lot of time orchestrating the instrumentation, it was fun watching him work. The two of us had many discussions in front of the console deciding which direction we wanted to take this song. After playing it a few times with Chad, it was clear his energetic approach would guide a feel we all could be proud of.” 


Dave Tamkin’s shows vary from intimate solo acoustic performances to a full band experience (Dave Tamkin & Co.) encapsulate a mixture of personal lyrics and skilled songwriting set against a high-energy percussive with an Indie Americana, guitar driven backbone. Tamkin has shared the stage with Guster, David Ryan Harris, Donavon Frankenreiter, Butch Walker, Stephen Kellogg, Brendan James, Eric Hutchinson, Willy Porter, Daphne Willis and Peter Mulvey to name a few. Tamkin has a style that’s hard to resist. His lyrics are unabashedly honest and his passion for playing is undying. 

Band Members