David LaFleur
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David LaFleur

Charles Town, West Virginia, United States | SELF

Charles Town, West Virginia, United States | SELF
Band Pop Singer/Songwriter

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"David LaFleur Them Bones... Album Review"

“As folk and Americana continue to take the world of popular music by storm with giants like The Avett Brothers and Ray Lamontagne, all roads lead to David LaFleur. David LaFleur, in his latest release Them Bones..., is an authentic testament of folk music at its best…” - Sally Rosen Official Fan Club.net


"David LaFleur Them Bones... Album Review"

“As folk and Americana continue to take the world of popular music by storm with giants like The Avett Brothers and Ray Lamontagne, all roads lead to David LaFleur. David LaFleur, in his latest release Them Bones..., is an authentic testament of folk music at its best…” - Sally Rosen OfficialFanClub.net


"CD Review: David LaFleur - Them Bones"

"LaFleur clearly makes the critical (singer to listener) emotional connection..."

"As the CD progressed, I became more and more impressed..."

"...the playing, writing, and singing abilities of David LaFleur are amazing." - www.musesmuse.com


"In Touch With His Acoustic Roots"

In Touch With His Acoustic Roots

Publish Date: 06/08/06, Frederick Post
By Dickson Mercer
News-Post Staff

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va -- The instruments that make up David LaFleur's act -- acoustic guitar, dobro, mandolin, dulcimer -- rest beside the door of his townhouse, ready to be hauled off to the next venue.

For the almost 50-year-old singer/songwriter, a graduate of Gaithersburg High School, the next stop could be a coffeehouse or arts festival or restaurant; maybe a church or retirement home or tavern.

He plays 17 shows this month, about average for him at this stage of his career, which included a street gig at the last Saturday Gallery Walk.

You can hear him play at Port City Java in Hagerstown, where he plays the evening of June 16. Earlier that day he performs at another regular haunt: Jumpin Java in Charles Town.

His living room leads to an expansive and spare kitchen. A desk and computer rests in the corner, an office of sorts, where LaFleur sits down each morning and essentially makes it happen.
To be a full-time singer/songwriter, after all, requires a performer to be more than a performer: one must be an agent, manager, promoter, publicist, possibly a technician; efficiency makes this lifestyle work.
Yet once in awhile it happens: an artist has a chance to be just an artist. An artist is left alone for a time without distracting odds and ends, few distractions or superfluous thoughts -- just art.
---

He bought his first guitar from Sears Roebuck when he was 8 years old for $17.99.

He never even heard American folk music, however, until his family moved to Paris for two years. He had just entered his teens, and they were actually on vacation in Spain.

In a sangria bar, LaFleur stumbled upon a gaggle of Irishmen passing around instruments. Each had a song.

He remembers the night as the one that produced his "first real hangover." But he also remembers one singer's rendition of "Oh Freedom," a Negro spiritual, which he breaks into mid-sentence. LaFleur recorded the song for an audio book.

For two years, still enamored by the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Rory Gallagher, he played in rock bands. By 18 he was ready to go his own way; he played his first solo gig at Timothy's Pub in Rockville, across the street from Montgomery College, which he attended for two years. The pay was $15.

The college years came to a close at University of Maryland, where he graduated with a degree in English. It was the easy route, LaFleur says, but he was able to take poetry classes. He had proposed a songwriting major as an alternative to the more common jazz or classical track -- it would allow him to not get "too enmeshed in doctrine" -- but the idea got shot down. LaFleur wound up with a music minor.

Upon graduation he began booking gigs, many at the Varsity Grill in College Park. He would play some John Prine and Bob Dylan and Cat Stevens, but he mostly insisted on originals. "I didn't like to do covers," he said.

By 19 he was "tired of being broke." He took a job at Indian Point, a nuclear power plant in Peekskill, N.Y.

It makes little sense at first: a pacifist allies with nuclear energy.
Yet LaFleur, prone to understatement, does not often worry about explaining things in full.
"It sounded thrilling enough," he said.

After four years at Indian Point, during which time he obtained a license to operate a nuclear reactor, LaFleur took a new job in Miami, Fla., at Turkey Point. He remained there for 19 years.
---

The car turns suddenly onto a dirt road. LaFleur's Toyota rumbles and shakes and spins up dust as it passes through a tunnel of trees. He casually steers around potholes, not flinching the least when he strikes one.

In Miami, LaFleur had a house with a swimming pool. He lived among a community of 700. He worked day and night, sometimes 7 days a week. More often than not he felt "half-dead on his feet."
As the years passed in Florida, LaFleur picked up new instruments. During his last seven years there he frequently played four nights a week. He grew tired of the double life. He pondered the idea of quitting for two years until a new boss and management simplified the decision.

"I didn't like the way things were going," LaFleur recalls. "It was turning dishonest on some level."
Rocks ricochet off the bottom of the car. Thorns scrape the side. The road narrows and curves, then it steepens; he stomps the accelerator and slings around one last jackknife turn. We come to a halt.

LaFleur shifts the car into park outside of a small house, perched on a ridge above the Shenandoah River. His father bought it in the early '60s. For LaFleur, here "was a logical place to come home" after he quit his job in Miami. He could save money and live cheaply and he was ready to commit to music full time. LaFleur stayed here for about a year in 2003.

We walk out to the porch and sit down at picnic tables for lunch. The land below is strewn with rocks and fallen trees. The only sounds are of birds and the easy flow of the Shenandoah. Sunlight streams down through the trees.
"It kind of takes me up to the heavens," he says.

When LaFleur first came out here, however, it was winter, his first in about 20 years. For two weeks he had no address, no phone line. The leaves had fallen off the trees; he could see clear across the misty-gray river.

The way LaFleur explains this moment rings almost like a song.
He was snowed in.
He had the flu.
He was running out of food.
He was lying on his back -- and "the dog started looking like a nice set of porkchops."

Yet he experienced "a burst of creativity." He had lifted a "burden of restriction."

As the land began to thaw he could step out on this porch, light a candle, grab a slide guitar, "and come up with stuff."

As if mined from the land of its creation, "Blue Ridge" strays from LaFleur's usual repertoire, which is an upbeat mix of blues, bluegrass, folk, and rock.

Instead, the album is pastoral and mellow. LaFleur places his pure tenor voice in front of an earthy mix of instruments. It registers as a collection of Appalachian hymns.
"I like it a lot ... You listen to it and you start hearing the texture ... It's never going to be a popular CD ... that's a challenge for me: people want to hear what I sound like in public," he explains.

The performer in public is far more histrionic, a natural bluesman.
He breaks from talking and moves away from the table. A shiny resophonic guitar slides free of the case. Within a few notes of Muddy Water's "I Be's Troubled" -- the album's only cover, the oddball -- a new person comes to life, vibrant and confident.

Folk music once handed LaFleur what he believed was an opportunity to "make people think." Back then his hair fell midway down his back; his jeans were full of holes. He was young and "full of angst," disgruntled with the state of the world.

Then he actually started to play.
He ignored the fights that broke out. There were times he did anything he could just to convince people not to throw things.
These days the crowds may be small at times, but people are willing to listen and be engaged.
Now it's a matter of entertaining.
He tries to keep his music uptempo, to keep it flowing. He raises the energy and releases it. Then he tries to "build it higher."

- Frederick Post, June 8, 2006


"An Evening to Celebrate"

"..astonishing...an evening to celebrate."

Bob Sherwood
The Wichester Star, 2005 - The Winchester Star


"Blisteringly Good"

“…blisteringly good… This guy can play! ... a standout among the folk and Americana releases of the past year.”

Frank Gutch, Jr.
Folk and Acoustic Music Exchange, 2007
- Folk and Acoustic Music Exchange


"Intimate and Beautiful"

"...from intimate and beautiful to absurdly funny. One minute you're in awe, and the next you're rollin' on the floor with laughter!"

Cheryl Mansley
Riverhouse Concerts, 2006 - Riverhouse Concerts, WV


"Spellbound"

"...spellbound...wanted to hear more and more."

Barry White
South Florida Folk Digest, 2003 - South Florida Folk Digest


"The Cat Can Play"

"...excellent...must hear...the cat can play!"

Joe Rockford
The Brick, Miami, FL , 2002 - The Brick, Miami, FL


Discography

"Flowers of Love and Delusion" 1998
"Oasis Folk Sampler" 2005 (compilation)
"When Miners March" 2006 (compilation)
"Oasis Folk Sampler" 2006 (compilation)
"Blue Ridge" 2006
"Oasis Acoustic Sampler" 2007 (compilation)
"Shepherd's Pie" 2007
"Them Bones..." 2011
Oasis Acoustic Sampler 2011 (compilation)
Acoustic Rainbow Roots Radio Vol. 39 2011 (compilation)

Photos

Bio

With a rich tenor voice and a mastery of the guitar, dobro, mandolin, and dulcimer, David LaFleur has been performing his unique mixture of folk, blues, and bluegrass for over 20 years.

A former nuclear engineer turned full-time musician, LaFleur learned his “chops” performing among such acts as Danny Gatton, Nils Lofgren, and the Johnson Mountain Boys. He has opened for Emmy Lou Harris, Tom Rush, and the Seldom Scene, and his original music has been featured on TV as well as National Public Radio. In 2004 alone, he received honors in eight national songwriting contests, was a featured performer at the Mountain Stage NewSong Festival and performed for over 200 audiences from Minnesota to Florida. In 2005, he performed regionally for over 250 audiences and in 2006 was a featured songwriter at the Kennedy Center and won 1st place in the Pacific Songwriting Competition. In 2007 he again won a 1st Place in the Pacific Songwriting Competition and toured the UK for the first time. In 2010 he showcased in the DJ Showcase at the Northeast Regional Folk Alliance.

Superb musicianship and a masterful array of thoughtful, and sometimes hilarious songs mixed with dynamic stage presence and dry wit makes LaFleur an excellent entertainer in high demand at concerts, house concerts, coffeehouses, and festivals. For schedule and information see www.DavidLaFleurMusic.com.

www.davidlafleurmusic.com
drlafleur@comcast.net
703-842-9492