David Egan
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David Egan


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The best kept secret in music


"Shreveport Native Scores at Grammys"

Keyboard player and singer David Egan, a native Shreveporter known to many here for his years of work with the former A Train, was prepared to be upbeat and consoling last Sunday at the Grammys, as New Orleans singer Irma Thomas, nominated for an award, waited for the winner to be named.

Egan, son of Shreveport actress and singer Jasmine Egan, who had written three songs for Thomas' "After the Rain CD," was part of the singer's small entourage at the awards ceremony.

But when the winner of the Best Contemporary Blues Album was announced, Egan's better-luck-next-time speech quickly went down the drain.

"We all had a little short circuit there for about two seconds," said Egan, who long ago moved to Lafayette. "I think Irma was fully prepared to be philosophical about the nomination.”

"When it hit, she just about fell apart. We were all crying like babies.”
"She said something very gracious about New Orleans having believed in her for 50 years and they were all pulling for her. So when she won, the whole city won."

Egan celebrated with Thomas and friends in Los Angeles following her first Grammy win in her five decades in music. Heralded as the Soul Queen of New Orleans, Thomas enjoys a worldwide following after hits like "(You Can Have My Husband But) Don't Mess With My Man," "Wish Someone Would Care" and the original recording of "Time is on My Side," which became a million seller for The Rolling Stones.

Recorded at Dockside Studio in Maurice only months after Hurricane Katrina, Thomas' Grammy winner contains two songs written by Egan "(These Honey Dos, If You Knew How Much)" and an Egan-Thomas collaboration, "Stone Survivor."

Writing songs for the stars is nothing new for Egan. Percy Sledge, Marc Broussard, Solomon Burke, Etta James and Mavis Staples are just a few of the artists who have recorded his tunes. In 1992, Egan's Please No More appeared on Joe Cocker's "Night Calls" album, which sold more than one million copies.

But Egan is not resting on his laurels. A pianist in the Lafayette-based, all-star group Lil Band Ol' Gold, Egan and other band mates backed up Thomas, Dr. John, Art Neville, Allen Toussaint and others at a Fats Domino Lifetime Achievement Award performance in January at the House of Blues in New Orleans.

Lil Band O' Gold records a Fats Domino tribute album with Robert Plant in the spring. The group will also release a new CD and perform on the high-profile Acura stage at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.

The Promised Land, a forthcoming independent film, chronicles the band’s recording session and a concert in Memphis.
- Shreveport Times

"Sounds of the Fest"

David Egan
Twenty Years of Trouble
(Louisiana Red Hot Records)
Most Louisiana music fans know David Egan as the soulful piano player and vocalist for Lil' Band o' Gold and File. But to artists such as Johnny Adams, Percy Sledge, Joe Cocker and the Fabulous Thunderbirds, Egan's a wonderfully evocative songwriter whose compositions provide fertile emotional ground to cover.
Egan stakes his own claim to that musical and personal landscape on his debut CD, Twenty Years of Trouble. Other artists have given moving readings of Egan songs, but this CD shows that Egan's the best man to sing his compositions. The kick-off title track and "I Just Can't Do Right" sport sly rhythms and a wry vocal delivery that sound like vintage Mose Allison. "If She Calls ..." and "Half-Past the Blues" are impeccably crafted slices of blue-eyed soul, with Egan's vocals channeling Boz Scaggs' superb recent albums. The boogie-woogie stomper "Fail Fail" sports a vintage Egan lyric: "Open up to any page of my book/ drop your finger and take a look/ won't find any happy trails/ won't find anything but fail, fail, fail."
Egan's backed on the CD by the expected batch of stellar sidemen, including his Lil' Band o' Gold bandmate C.C. Adcock on guitar, and Shreveport slide guitar virtuoso Buddy Flett. The CD closes with three live performances that show that Egan is just as compelling live as he is in the studio. Here's hoping that we don't have to wait two decades for a follow-up to these brilliant Twenty Years of Trouble. -- Scott Jordan - Gambit Weekly

"Songwriting saved Lafayette pianist David Egan and paved the way for a comeback"

Friday, April 28, 2006
By Keith Spera
Music writer

Lafayette keyboardist David Egan logged a quarter-century as the consummate working musician, roaming the globe unencumbered by wife, children or mortgage.

Having acquired two of the three -- wife and child -- by 2003, he quit the Cajun band Filé after a 14-year run to focus on his own project. The world did not notice, finances promptly dwindled, and dark days ensued.

"For a while I was beating my head against the wall," Egan recalled recently. "My wife and I went round for round, trying to figure it out.

"She finally put it in focus: 'What has always separated you from the pack is your songwriting. And you're going to write your way out of this mess.' "

He did. Over the years Joe Cocker, Solomon Burke, Etta James, Percy Sledge and John Mayall have all recorded Egan's songs. He contributed three to Irma Thomas' new album, "After the Rain." The album's producer, Scott Billington, is a fan of Egan's work.

"David Egan is in the same league as Doc Pomus, Dan Penn, Allen Toussaint and Bobby Charles, among the crème de la crème of R&B songwriters," Billington said. "Each of his songs has something special, a lyrical or harmonic turn that you can't forget. And he's always soulful and deep."

Today at the Fair Grounds, Egan and his boogie' n' blues band usher in the 2006 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival on the Acura Stage. On Sunday he returns with southwest Louisiana all-star ensemble Lil' Band o' Gold.

He'll perform 12 times in the next 10 days.

"Luckily, one great thing after another seems to fall in my lap," he said. "I get a pretty decent hand, and I play it out as best I can. For a guy who has no booking agent or no big management or anything, I stay pretty darn busy."

But not too busy. At 52, Egan has found that the road has lost much of its allure, in part because of his commitment to his wife, Rhonda, and his son, Reuben, 5.

"I will travel, but not to the extent I did up until I was 44," Egan said. "I spent my whole life doing that. I saw a lot of the world, and it wasn't always so romantic. It's a good adventure for a younger man. And if you can do it first-class, it ain't so bad at my age.

"But I've got a 5-year-old, and I'm going to be here for him. I don't think I'll regret that."

A taste of success

Egan grew up in Shreveport, then studied jazz and composition at the University of North Texas. He joined the school's jazz choir and sang commercial jingles. A job offer led him to Memphis. He then moved on to Nashville, a songwriter's town.

To make ends meet, he schlepped tourists around to the homes of country music stars, a cruel irony for a struggling songwriter.

He bounced back to Shreveport to join popular rock band A-Train, then returned to Nashville to tour with country-Cajun singer Jo-El Sonnier. In 1990, he settled in Lafayette and joined Filé.

By then, his songs were getting noticed. Joe Cocker recorded Egan's "Please No More" -- the same song Etta James later included on a Grammy-winning 2004 release -- for the 1991 album "Night Calls." "Night Calls" sold millions of copies worldwide.

Suddenly flush with songwriting royalties, Egan lived it up.

"I had been thirsty for a long time," he said. "Then I got this big drink of water, and I drank it. I was lulled into thinking that that was the way it was going to be from then on."

It wasn't. When the Cocker windfall subsided, he went back to being a working musician with Filé.

In 2003, soon after quitting Filé, Egan released his debut album under his own name. "Twenty Years of Trouble" on Louisiana Red Hot Records showcased his robust brand of piano-driven soul and blues, and matched hooks to wry turns of phrase.

"My big, courageous move was to break away from Filé," he said. "Sometimes I haunt myself with the idea that I should have made that break sooner. But I was scared not to make that solid $90 a week."

Tired of touring, Egan decided not to take his own band on the road. The decision may have saved his life.

He had been a "light smoker" for years, then quit. Eight years later, in 2004, his annual chest X-ray revealed an ominous lump in his right lung. Doctors removed a cancerous tumor.

"If I had a big ol' national tour going on and I was on the go, I wouldn't have discovered the spot on my lung," he said. "Anything that was ailing me, I would have put on the back burner: The show must go on.

"And I would have let things go too far."

'Dinosaur money'

Aside from short tours with Lil' Band o' Gold, songwriting is Egan's primary occupation.

A single spark of inspiration can yield years of royalty checks, fondly referred to as "mailbox money." Egan collects on a diverse portfolio of mailbox money.

After Little Buster & the Soul Brothers recorded his "First You Cry," it turned up in the Denzel Washington movie "The Siege." Egan received a sizable check, and more comes with every TV broadcast.

Irma Thomas - New Orleans Times Picayune - cover story

"Soul Survivor - After a major health scare, songwriter and piano man David Egan rebounds with another career milestone."

On an April afternoon, a British film crew is packing up its audio and video equipment from the living room of the cozy house David Egan and his wife, Rhonda, recently bought in Lafayette, and Egan is spinning contentedly on the piano stool behind his portable Yamaha keyboard. He’s just finished an hour worth of interviews and performance footage for a documentary on swamp pop supergroup Lil’ Band O’ Gold, plans are being made for a late-afternoon run for burgers at Judice Inn, and Egan is booked for headlining gigs at Festival International and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. The glorious spring weather is an added bonus; it’s a good day to be alive in south Louisiana.

Now that the cameras are turned off, Egan lifts up his shirt. A purple scar stretches from his rib cage all the way around to his back. There are also two small adjoining dots from separate incisions where doctors cut him open last September and removed a cancerous tumor on his right lung. The 6-foot-4-inch Egan drops his booming voice a few notches.

“We closed on this house on Sept. 7, and my surgery was Sept. 9,” he says.

It was a terrifying time for the 51-year-old singer/songwriter. He and his wife have a 4-year-old son. They’d finally saved up and bought their first home. Professionally, Egan was basking in the positive reviews of BeauSoleil’s Gitane Cajun, which he’d co-produced, and it was only two years ago that he’d released his acclaimed debut solo album, Twenty Years of Trouble, after lengthy tenures in esteemed Louisiana bands A Train and Filé.

And then there were the songs. Joe Cocker, Etta James, Irma Thomas and more have recorded Egan’s compositions, but Egan had a fresh batch of tracks that were his best yet. As he went into the hospital that September morning, there was no way of knowing whether his new material would ever become more than lyrics and music tucked away in Egan’s notebooks.

Nine months later, Egan is cancer-free and celebrating one of the most gratifying artistic achievements of his career. On Solomon Burke’s new album Make Do With What You Got, The King of Rock ’n’ Soul delivers a heart-wrenching version of Egan’s “Fading Footsteps.” The honor’s magnified by the heavyweights whose tracks fill the rest of the album: Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, Hank Williams, Robbie Robertson, Van Morrison and Dr. John.

“We listened to about 1,000 songs before choosing the 10 on Make Do With What You Got,” says producer Don Was, who’s helmed albums by the Rolling Stones, Bonnie Raitt and Willie Nelson. “The first time Solomon heard David Egan’s version [of ‘Fading Footsteps’], it went straight to the top of the list. … I can’t think of any other song that so effectively conveys that particular sense of emptiness and betrayal.

“We were looking for songs that Solomon could sing with total honesty,” continues Was. “After we first listened to it, nobody could speak. We were all propelled into our own individual, introspective states of funk, all able to project our own unique and disparate set of neuroses onto the lyric. That, of course, is the mark of a truly great song!”

Burke was equally affected. “I think he’s a genius writer,” he says. “I thought it was such a unique song, where we get the tastes and textures of history, and it’s a great method he’s using. The first time I heard it, I fell in love with it. The beauty of it was I was trying to put together a package of unique songs that told a message spiritually; this album is based upon great songs, great stories and new avenues. This is one of those new songs that people will take hold of — it has its own stuff, its own style, its own avenue.”

The effusive praise from Burke and Was is sweet validation for Shreveport, La., native Egan, who grew up in a musical family. His mother, Jasmine, was an acclaimed opera singer. His upbringing gave him the opportunity to see numerous symphony and opera performances, as well as local appearances by jazz luminaries like Dave Brubeck. The Egan household was frequently filled with visiting artists; classical piano giant Van Cliburn once serenaded a young David Egan with a living room performance of “Happy Birthday.”

“I gained a lot of tolerance of crazy characters and Philippine dance troupes and guest conductors from Switzerland and opera people and cast parties at the house on school nights until 4 o’clock in the morning,” he remembers. “It was always real crazy and colorful and interesting, with people gathered around the piano.”

When his mother was performing or traveling, Egan received a grittier music education. The nanny and maid who helped out the Egan family played 45s by Fats Domino, Chuck Berry, Little Richard and the popular R&B and rock ’n’ roll acts of the day. She let the Egan children watch TV the nights that Elvis Presley and The Beatles made their historic appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show.

“I remember thinking, ‘This is some strong juju,’” says Egan.

By th - The Independent

"A happy homecoming for David Egan"

David Egan loves coming back to his hometown to share the stage with friends. On Tuesday he played with old band mates Bruce and Buddy Flett, who are now in The Bluebirds. But tonight at 7, Egan, the piano man and songwriter, will perform as the frontman of his band for a two-hour set.

"It feels doggone fine to be coming back in this fashion. I've come back a lot of times and played with The Bluebirds and done some little, quickie night spots," Egan said by telephone in Lafayette. "Without letting my ego run away, it feels good and validating to come from this town and be welcomed back. It means a lot to me, because I certainly carry a lot of Shreveport with me."

Egan is perhaps best known locally as a former member of two big bands, A-Train and the Miki Honeycutt Band. A-Train's original members were Egan, the Fletts, Miki Honeycutt, Paul Griffith and John Howe.

He left town in 1988 to play with Jo-El Sonnier in Nashville and landed in Lafayette in 1990 as part of the dance band, Filé. In 1997, he shifted over to Lil' Band O' Gold.

But the bread to Egan's butter has been songwriting. He has penned tunes for Etta James, Irma Thomas, Mavis Staples, Johnny Adams, Marc Broussard, Troutfishing in America and Jimmy Witherspoon. A tune he cowrote with Buddy Flett, "First You Cry," was made magic by Percy Sledge. His songs, and albums on which they appear, have been nominated for, and won, Grammys.

Tonight Egan will be performing songs from his first solo album, "20 Years of Trouble." It was released in 2004 and includes many of the songs recorded by big-name artists. On stage, he simply has fun sending them out to the audience in his own voice.

"It's quite a thrill," he said. "On the one hand, these recordings existed before the famous people got a hold of them and did them." On the other hand, the way Sledge sang "First You Cry" and Johnny Adams sang "Even Now" (cowritten by Flett) changed the way Egan hears them.

"I actually borrow from their interpretations, and they have affected the way I perform them," Egan said. "It might not sound that way because those are two of the greatest singers on Earth and I'm not, but I will actually sing nuances and licks that those guys did when they put out the great versions of them. It's tipping my hat." - Shreveport Times

"David Egan - "Twenty Years of Trouble" by Dan Wilging"

If, by chance, the name David Egan doesn't ring a bell, it's only a matter of time before you make the connection. The South Louisiana piano-meister has not only recorded with his bands, the star-studded Lil' Band O' Gold and the Cajun-Creole group Filé but has also appeared on records with Jo-El Sonnier, Cajun All-stars and Trout Fishing In America to name a few. Just as he's touted for pumping the ivories, he's also revered for crafting quality songs that endure longer than a Hollywood marriage, which have been recorded by the likes of Tracy Nelson, Marcia Ball, John Mayall, Terry Evans, Joe Cocker, Etta James and Percy Sledge. A fine pedigree indeed, so understandably it was practically music headline news when Egan's debut disc hit the streets after decades in the trenches. [Click Here For Larger Graphic]

This cache of contemporary blues represents the thrice-Grammy nominated songwriter's knack for letting tunes ferment until they're good and tasty. Every original heard here symbolizes a particular era of Egan's musical career such as "I Just Can't Do Right" that first appeared on Filé's 1996 gem, La Vie Marron. They're not only rendered with new life but with the same high standards as the aforementioned who've also cut an Egan composition. Some step with a swanky uptown jazz feel ("Twenty Years of Trouble"), others sport a slinky groove ("Half Past The Blues") or cast a swampy spell ("Fail, Fail, Fail") that can't be denied. While stylistically it's all over the map, thematically the proceedings are about life's troubles of one kind or another. Add to the fold a revolving door of guest musicians including drummer Doug Belote, guitarists C.C. Adcock and the Bluebirds' Buddy Flett, and there's always some cool riff, lick or effect to be marveled. The three bonus tracks include a live performance of "After This Time" that was penned by Egan and Flett in conjunction with Arkansas' Cate Brothers. "If You Knew How Much" was actually culled from a demo session when Egan was laying the song down for the Shreveport-based A-Train. Given the cohesive writing and Egan's steamy, soulful croonings, this one makes the mark: a record that endures day in and day out like a lifetime marriage. - Dirty Linen

"Satellite Radio Goes Strong On David Egan!"

David Egan
Slingshots and Boomerangs
XM 74 - Bluesville
Last Played: September 17, 2006 5:16 AM ET
David Egan
Fail, Fail, Fail
XM 74 - Bluesville
Last Played: September 22, 2006 2:00 PM ET
David Egan
Half Past The Blues
XM 74 - Bluesville
Last Played: September 28, 2006 3:23 PM ET - XM Radio

"Multi-Platinum Producer Don Was on David Egan!"

Producer Don Was Quote on Fading Footsteps:

"We listened to about 1,000 songs before choosing the 10 on 'Make Do With What You Got.' The first time Solomon (Burke) heard David Egan's version (of "Fading Footsteps"), it went straight to the top of the list. We felt that, behind a brave face of literacy and wit, David had so eloquently captured the profound pathos of a moment that is burned into the souls of all struggling artists. In fact, anyone who faces an uphill battle can relate. At some point, you realize that the faithful--your troops, your partners, your lovers--no longer believe in you. It dawns on you in one awful, tragic moment. I can't think of any other song that so effectively conveys that particular sense of emptiness and betrayal.

"We were looking for songs that Solomon could sing with total honesty. After we first listened to it, nobody could speak. We were all propelled into our own individual, introspective states of funk, all able to project our own unique and disparate set of neuroses onto the lyric. That of course, is the mark of a truly great song!"
- quote on egan song "Fading Footsteps"

"Quote on Egan Song"

"The David Egan-penned ballad, "If You Know How Much," may have inspired Thomas' most powerful and emotional vocal performance on record in many years." - Rounder Records Press Release


David Egan "Live at Jazz Fest 2006" Munck Mix 2006
David Egan "Live at Jazz Fest 2005" Munck Mix 2005
David Egan "Twenty Years of Trouble" LRHR 1159 - 2003
Lil Band O' Gold "Lil Band O' Gold" Shanchie 6047 - 2000

with songs recorded by:
Joe Cocker
Mavis Staples
Percy Sledge
John Mayall
Solomon Burke
Etta James
Irma Thomas
Johnny Adams
The Fabulous Thunderbirds
Marcia Ball
Tracy Nelson
Vernon Garrett
Francine Reed
Little Buster and the Soul Brothers
Maura O’Connell
Jimmy Witherspoon
Tinsley Ellis
Theodus Ely
Terry Evans
Lil Band O’ Gold
CC Adcock
Marc Broussard
Michelle Wilson
The Bluebirds
Nathan Williams & the Zydeco Cha Chas
Miranda Louise
Papa Mali
Trout Fishing in America


Feeling a bit camera shy


The list of great Louisiana songwriters including Dave Bartholomew, Allen Toussaint, Bobby Charles and Mac Rebennack is quite illustrious. Within the past decade the list has grown to include Louisiana tunesmith David Egan.

Irma Thomas won the Best Contemporary Blues Grammy for her magnificent 2006 Rounder Records' release "After the Rain," the album contains two songs written solely by Egan and third which he co-wrote with Irma and Corey Harris. Etta James won a Grammy and a WC Handy Blues Award for her Let’s Roll album containing the David Egan composition “Please No More.” The Egan penned “Fading Footsteps” was on Solomon Burke’s Gammy Nominated recording. Multi-platinum Producer Don Was had this to say “We listened to about 1,000 songs before choosing the 10 on Make Do With What You Got. The first time Solomon (Burke) heard David Egan's version (of "Fading Footsteps"), it went straight to the top of the list… We were looking for songs that Solomon could sing with total honesty. After we first listened to it, nobody could speak...That of course, is the mark of a truly great song!"

With two Grammy wins under his belt and two WC Handy Blues Award wins, Egan has become Louisiana’s premier songwriter. In all Egan songs have been on recordings that have garnered 4 Grammy nominations and 8 WC Handy Blues Award Nominations! Egan’s fans and peers awarded him the Offbeat 2003 Best Singer-Songwriter Album of the Year for his ‘Twenty Years of Trouble.’ That album chronicles the first “Twenty Years of Trouble” all Egan songs dating back to the 80’s. With scores of songs that have been recorded by the icons of our musical culture, Egan’s songwriting talents are now often noted alongside those of the masters.

Over the past decade David Egan has risen to these ranks as a Louisiana Tunesmith with original, soulful compositions. This past spring David Egan was summoned by Producer Scott Billington down to Dockside Studios in Maurice, Louisiana, where Irma Thomas was recording After The Rain, her latest release on Rounder Records. Egan contributed two songs and he wrote a third on the spot with Irma and Corey Harris! A Rounder press release touts, “The David Egan-penned ballad, "If You Know How Much," may have inspired Thomas' most powerful and emotional vocal performance on record in many years.” David Egan has struck gold again with his songwriting, Irma Thomas After The Rain won the Best Contemporary Blues Grammy!