Governor Davis & the Blues Ambassadors
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Governor Davis & the Blues Ambassadors


Band Blues Rock


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"Governor Davis to serve up some blues"

Once again, powerful forces have guided Governor Davis to play the blues. It happened back in his college days at Ball State, where the "shy" Davis somewhat reluctantly shifted from Johnny Mathis-style singing to fronting a blues band as its lead vocalist and guitarist.

Decades later, those forces intervened again. The 59-year-old's band - Governor Davis & the Blues Ambassadors - was a fixture on the Midwestern club and festival circuit when his doctor detected a tumor on his right lung earlier this (on Aug. 1) revealed that tumor was benign and doctors removed it. Typical recovery time for such an operation was six to eight weeks. Last weekend, he returned to play festivals in Yorktown and Linton. And at 7:45 PM Saturday, he and the Ambassadors will perform at Blues at the Crossroads Festival. They've never missed Terre Haute's blues fest, and Davis figures keeping that streak alive could be therapeutic.

Crowd reactions at past Blues at the Crossroads Festivals seem to validate his statement.

Festival co-founder Connie Wrin first brought Davis and his band to Terre Haute in 2000 to play at The Verve, a night spot she owns on Wabash Ave. A year later, Wrin booked them for the inaugural Blues at the Crossroads. His local following has grown, along with the festival, ever since. "He's like a Buddha up on stage," Wrin said. "You can't help but adore him. He's the Gov". - Mark Bennett, Tribune Star, Sept. 7, 2007

"Tuned In - Governor Davis"

Serving as a Grand Marshal for Saturday's 40th annual Christmas City USA parade surely isn't the first honor afforded to Governor Davis. After waving to all the parade patrons and presiding at the awards ceremony, Davis and the Blues Ambassadors will get down to the business they know and love - playing the blues - beginning at 9 PM at Beatnik's Cafe, 141 E. Third St. With Steve Robbins on guitar, Ron Coffman on drums and Jimmy Valdez on bass, the group of Indiana rock and blues veterans fronted by the one-and-only Governor (yes, it's his real name) have presided over Indiana's blues scene since the early 1990's. If you haven't checked out their albums, my favorite is Governor Davis & the Blues Ambassadors Live -- recorded in 2000 at Indianapolis' Slippery Noodle Inn, Lafayette's Knickerbocker Saloon, and Seymour's Evergreen Room. The album features the band putting their distinctive stamp on covers of John Lee Hooker, Little Richard, Bobby Bland and others. It's just like seeing Governor and the boys live, which really is something. - (Nov., 2005)

"Muddy Blues Festival - Center Stage"

"...Governor Davis and the Blues Ambassadors presented a more traditional blues sound than [the previous act]. Frontman Governor Davis looked the part in full suit and top hat, and acted the part, displaying the demeanor of an assured, well-traveled bluesman. The Ambassadors' performance featured seamlessly traded lead parts, precise back-up vocals, walking bass lines, slap-bass solos, risque lyrics and a virtual tongue-picked guitar solo. Governor Davis and his crew's set was comprised mainly of originals and blues standards like Muddy Waters' "I Want to be Loved", but the group also took a foray into Motown, performing the Temptations classics "Get Ready" and "Just My Imagination". - Ball State Daily News (Oct., 2004)

"Governor Davis & the Blues Ambassadors - LIVE"

This isn't the most disciplined album in the history of live recordings, but it buoyantly succeeds as a portable party.

Captured in Seymour, Lafayette and at Indianapolis' own Slippery Noodle, Governor Davis and the Blues Ambassadors strut on the sunny side of life.

The album's handful or original compositions are good-natured, highlighted by bass player Jimmy Valdez's "Never, Never Ever". The quartet's winking sense of humor can't be missed during a lengthy rendition of the traditional tune "Lickin' Gravy".

Featuring classics popularized by John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters, Sonny Boy Williamson II, Bobby 'Blue' Bland and Otis Rush, LIVE almost serves as a one-stop blues tutorial.

Governor (his real name) has his moments as a scorching guitar slinger, specifically on "Help Me" and "Blues Thang". Rhythm guitarist Steve Robbins -- whose mandolin playing extends the local legacy of Yank Rachell -- makes a bid for the album's best solo during "Lickin' Gravy". - The Indianapolis Star (March, 2001)

"Governor Davis - LIVE"

Governor Davis is serious about his role as Indiana's emissary of the blues. When he's not rattling the rafters with his Blues Ambassadors, he can be found haunting the juke joints from South Bend to Bloomington, often sitting in with whomever happens to be playing whatever style of music. I've had the pleasure of playing harmonica behind Davis on a number of occasions, and I can tell you this much: once the Gov takes the stage and flashes a broad grin beneath an impeccably placed fedora, the house is just moments from falling down around his feet. It should come as no surprise that LIVE is a house party on a platter.

The highlights here include the soul revival romp of "Lovelight" and the classic Otis Rush blues-bossa "All Your Love". Both feature tasty backing vocals by "The Govettes", Mercedes Miller and Charisse Hampton-Moses. Davis' guitar playing favors punch and patter over pyrotechnics (in other words, it's more BB than Stevie), and his vocals are more conversation than shouting match. "Help Me" is a somewhat different take on the standard Sonny Boy drone -- its jangly guitar groove suggests Van Morrison and Them ala "Gloria".

As their titles suggest, originals like "Blues Thang" and "Blues With A Groove" are vehicles for playing the blues (as opposed to offering up any deep insight into its root causes). But they keep the ball rolling by changing up the groove, and in the case of "Never, Never Ever", keep the mood from getting too heavy. After all, fun and variety are the name of the game here.

This disc is designed to display a blues band at its bar rocking best, and Davis and company include all the ingredients: time-tested standards, slippery funk, light hearted stage patter and rousing party preachin'. And of course there's the near obligatory 11-minute nasty-as-you-wanna-be twelve bar blues opus.

The fellas score big points for including two songs by the late blues legend and Indy resident Yank Rachell, and Steve Robbins' electric mandolin playing is a unique touch. The live recording quality is clean and keeps the Governor in full focus. And, although the otherwise fine reading of John Lee Hooker's "Boom Boom" is a bit of a low-key opener, it seques into what turns out to be an energetic set. Davis fans should be pleased with this foot stomping souvenir. - whatzup (Feb., 2001)

"Governor -- Davis, that is -- to give Summit City blues"

Dealing with politicians can be enough to give you the blues, but that's certainly not a bad thing if you've got an audience with the governor -- Governor Davis that is.

Singer and guitar slinger Davis will bring his four-piece band that includes Steve Robbins on guitar, mandolin and vocals, Ron 'RC' Coffman on drums and Allen 'Smooth' Banks on bass. An acclaimed master of numerous blues styles from stinging B.B. King covers to gut-bucket tunes from the likes of John Lee Hooker, Davis has earned a reputation as a topnotch showman and a genuine crowd-pleaser with his stylish guitar playing (at times with his teeth!) and ability to interact with an audience. Originally from Chicago where he got an early exposure to the blues, thanks to his father who played piano on weekends in the city's north side clubs and his Aunt Ollie, a church organist, Davis, or 'Gov' as he's affectionately known, learned how to play the blues in the best tradition.

He and his band have played not only in Indiana's top clubs but has performed in some of the most famous blues hotspots throughout the country including gigs at Buddy Guy's Legends and the Catalyst Ranch in Chicago, the Center for Southern Culture and Wet Willie's in Memphis, TN, Humphrey's in Huntsville, Alabama, and Stevie Ray's Blues Bar in Louisville, KY. Davis also has a significant European following, touring extensively in Scandinavia.

An Indiana icon, Davis' face is familiar to scores of people, including folks outside the music realm, thanks to a popular Indianapolis commercial some years back that featured the capital's top attractions. Gov made his entry with a blistering guitar lick and the famous line, "Me, the blues."

Tickets to the October 27 concert are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. - Frost Illustrated, Ft. Wayne, IN, October 18, 2006

"2006 International Blues Challenge"

"With 130 acts playing 16 venues each night, there was no way to hear everyone. The word on the street was that Governor Davis & the Blues Ambassadors, Aunt Kizzy's Boyz and the Luther Badman Keith Band were the real competition for Joey Gilmore. There was no doubt that these ensembles could kick some righteous Blues butt...."

DC Rapier, President/Blues Society on Taiwan (remarks on the 2006 International Blues Challenge in Memphis, TN; BSoT sponsored Joey Gilmore at the IBC, who won the competition) - Blues Society on Taiwan Website (January, 2006)


LIVE: Governor Davis & the Blues Ambassadors (2001) - available through and
I Am The Governor (1997)
"Soul Town" (Monumental Mix: The Music of Kroger CircleFest, 1997)
"Shake Your Moneymaker" and "Faith" (Live From the Slippery Noodle Inn, Vol. 2, 1994)



GOVERNOR DAVIS & THE BLUES AMBASSADORS is a 5-piece blues -- injected with soul/R & B/rock influences -- outfit based in central Indiana. Formed in January ‘91, the act is comprised of Governor Davis on guitar and lead vocals, Steve Robbins on guitar/mandolin/vocals, Ron ‘R.C.’ Coffman on drums, Allen 'Smooth' Banks on bass, and Frank Loyd on percussion/vocals. Their repertoire includes original music written by Governor and Steve, as well as blues covers ranging from John Lee Hooker to B.B. King.

Known for its feel-good music, tastefully spiced with a little humor and a lot of fun, GOVERNOR DAVIS & THE BLUES AMBASSADORS is an audience-iinteractive show -- Gov often leaves the stage to dance with the audience, playing guitar with his teeth, and bringing audience-members up on stage to dance and sing back-up.

“ ...these guys are pure entertainment. The dance floor was full of sweaty bodies groovin’ hard and the band’s stage presence reflects their title with SRV-esque blues/rock covers and sassy originals...”
-- Charlie Workman, NUVO Newsweekly

Governor’s blues-based roots stem from early exposure to the form in its native habitat, Chicago. Growing up in Chicago with the name Governor may be the main source of his energy. The name was traditional for the first-born son of each generation, and it provided plenty of hassles. Gov’s first musical influences came from his family -- his father played piano on weekends at Chicago’s north side clubs, and his Aunt Ollie, a church organist, taught him piano and provided Gov with much of his gospel influences. As a teenager Gov went to the Regal Theatre whenever he had the admission price. It was there that he saw many of the hottest blues/soul/R & B artists of the time, most notably James Brown, Gov’s biggest influence with regard to showmanship and entertainment.

Gov’s father got him his first job, running errands for the owner of Walter’s Corner -- one of Chicago’s hottest clubs on the west side at the time. It was there that Gov got to see such blues legends as Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Junior Wells, and Little Milton perform, and where he met Cash McCall, who introduced him to Chicago’s music scene by letting him sing with his band occasionally. When Cash’s band asked Gov to front them while Cash toured Europe, both Gov’s father and Cash talked him into accepting a music scholarship offered by Vincennes University instead. It was there that he taught himself to play the guitar. After graduating from Ball State University, Gov made Muncie, Indiana his home where he worked, until his retirement, as a job-search counselor.

“We’re a people band...I want the show to be visual as well as musical. I like motivating the crowd. I do it in counseling, and I do it in performing. When a musician takes to the stage he becomes an entertainer...the crowd becomes a part of the action and excitement.”
-- Governor Davis

Since its inception in 1991, GOVERNOR DAVIS & THE BLUES AMBASSADORS has achieved a growing popularity in Indiana. The act performs an average of 170 shows per year in the U.S., as well as Governor touring Scandinavia (40 shows in 6 weeks) in 2005 (mid-February – March). The band performed at Wet Willie's on Beale St., Memphis, TN, as part of the Blues Foundation's International Blues Challenge 2006, on January 26-27. While in Memphis they jammed at the Rum Boogie, the Blues Hall, and were invited back to Wet Willie's for an 'encore performance'. The band has been voted in the top 3 blues band category in NUVO Newsweekly’s Best of Indy Reader’s Poll eight of the last nine years, and have performed at the following festivals and special events:

International Blues Challenge, Memphis, TN (2006)
Whistlestop BBQ Fest, Huntsville, ALA (2006)
Blues at the Crossroads Fest, Terre Haute, IN (2002-'06)
Madison Ribberfest, Madison, IN (2002)
Indy Jazz Fest, Indpls., IN (2000, '01 and '06)
Bodacious Blues-B-Q, Carmel, IN (2005-'06)
Grand Opening weekend of Indy’s Conseco Fieldhouse for a pre-Pacers game show and at ‘Fan Jam’, an open house at Conseco on Nov. 6 & 7th, ’99.
Taste of Lafayette, Lafayette, IN (2004)
Bean Blossom Blues Fest, Bean Blossom, IN (2003)4-H Fair, Marion, IN (2005-'06)
Abbondanza Fest, Terre Haute, IN (2006)
Blues & BBQ Family Reunion Fest, Indpls., IN (2006)
Danville Blues Fest, Danville, IN (2002 & '06)
Bus Stock w/WJAA, Seymour, IN (2000-'06)
Muncie Rib Fest, Muncie, IN (2006)
Reds, Whites & Blues, Carmel, IN (2002 & '06)
St. Joan of Arc French Market, Indpls., IN (1998-'00 & '06)
Corn Fest, Sullivan, IN (2004 & '06)
Indiana Roof Ballroom, Indpls., IN (2006)
Vintage Indiana Wine Fest,Indianapolis, IN (2003)
Zoobilation, Indpls., IN (2000 and ‘04)
Kroger CircleFest, Indpls., IN (1996 -‘99)
St. Christopher's Elementary, Indpls., IN (2006)

They have performed at the following clubs:
Knickerbocker Saloon, Lafayette, IN
Riehle Bros. Entertainment Complex,