Guy Davis
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Guy Davis

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Press


"New York Times"

"Talent and charisma....Davis performs with authority." - New York Times


"Acoustic Guitar"

"Davis serves as a reminder that country blues was never meant for a sit-down audience. More than anyone else in this generation, he plays the blues to get people dancing." - Acoustic Guitar


"Blues Revue"

"Often touted as a member of the new generation of country blues artists, Guy Davis is well-versed in the music's traditions. His Red House albums Stomp Down Rider (1995), Call Down the Thunder (1996), You Don't Know My Mind (1998) and Butt Naked Free (2000) gained him recognition for his playing style and lyrical sensibilities. In a recent guest column for 'Blues Revue', "Davis tackles a subject that still rankles some fans and performers: What has race got to do with playing the blues?" (Click here for the article.) "No matter how you look at it, the issue isn't simply black and white." - -


"The Scotsman"

"A singer and guitarist in the rural mould of Robert Johnson and Mississippi John Hurt, he has got a voice like Howlin' Wolf dipped in honey. He is also an enchanting storyteller, able to deliver a shaggy-dog story while barking and simultaneously making train noises on a harmonica - a reminder of a time when the phrase "novelty song" didn't necessarily have music-lovers running for the exits. He utilised ye olde food/sex metaphor in Home Cooked Meal and made it sound dirtier than you would have thought possible. He is fabulous." - -


"Playboy"

"Davis hits all the right notes all the time . An ace on both six and 12-string acoustic guitar, Davis brings a glorious sense of melody to his understanding of the blues." - "Davis hits all the right notes"


"Icon Magazine"

"It's difficult to know where to begin with the story of New York City bluesman Guy Davis. Accomplished and acclaimed as a musician, composer, actor, director and writer, Davis somehow makes the term multi-talented seem woefully inadequate." - Jim Musser


Discography

Skunkmellow 2006
Legacy 2004
Chocolate to the Bone - 2003
Give in Kind - 2002
Butt Naked Free - 2000
You Don't Know My Mind - 1998
Call Down the Thunder - 1996
Stomp Down Rider - 1995
Guy Davis Live - 1993

Photos

Bio

BIOGRAPHY OF GUY DAVIS

He’s got some Blind Willie McTell and some Fats Waller, some Buddy Guy and some Taj Mahal. He’s got some Zora Neale Hurston, some Garrison Keillor, and some Laura Davis (his one-hundred-and-four year-old grandmother). He’s a musician, composer, actor, director and writer. But most importantly—Guy Davis is a bluesman. The blues permeate every corner of Davis’ creativity. Throughout his career, he has dedicated himself to reviving the traditions of acoustic blues and bringing them to as many ears as possible through the material of the great blues masters, African American stories, and his own original songs, stories and performance pieces.

Davis’ creative roots run deep. Though raised in New York, he grew up hearing accounts of life in the rural south from his parents and especially his grandparents, and they made their way into his own stories and songs. Davis taught himself the guitar (never having the patience to take formal lessons) and learned by listening to and watching other musicians. One night on a train from Boston to New York he picked up finger picking from a nine-fingered guitar player.

His influences are wide and varied. Musically, he enjoyed such great blues musicians as Blind Willie McTell (and his way of telling a story), Skip James, Mance Lipscomb, Mississippi John Hurt, Elizabeth Cotton, and Buddy Guy, among others. It was through Taj Mahal that he found his way to the old time blues. He also loved such diverse musicians as Fats Waller and Gustav Holst. Zora Neale Hurston and Garrison Keillor have influenced his writing and storytelling.

Throughout his life Davis has had overlapping interests in music and acting. Early acting roles included a part in the film Beat Street and on television in One Life to Live. Eventually Davis had the opportunity to combine music and acting on the stage. He made his Broadway debut in 1991 in the Zora Neale Hurston/Langston Hughes collaboration Mulebone, which featured the music of Taj Mahal. In 1993 he performed Off-Broadway as legendary blues player Robert Johnson in Robert Johnson: Trick the Devil. He received rave reviews and became the 1993 winner of the Blues Foundation’s W.C. Handy “Keeping the Blues Alive” Award.

Looking for more ways to combine his love of blues, music, and acting, Davis created material for himself. He wrote In Bed with the Blues: The Adventures of Fishy Waters — an engaging and moving one man show. The Off-Broadway debut in 1994 received critical praise from the The New York Times and the The Village Voice. Davis also performed in a theater piece with his parents, actors/writers Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee, entitled Two Hah Hahs and A Homeboy staged at the Crossroads Theatre in New Brunswick, NJ in the spring of 1995. The show combined material written by Davis and his parents with music, African American folklore and history, as well as performance pieces by Hurston and Hughes. Of Davis’ performance, one reviewer observed that his style and writing “sound so deeply drenched in lost black traditions that you feel that they must predate him. But no, they don’t. He created them.”

Davis’ writing projects have also included a variety of theater pieces and plays. Mudsurfing, a collection of three short stories, received the 1991 Brio Award from the Bronx Council of the Arts. The Trial, an anti-drug abuse one-act play that toured throughout the New York City shelter system was produced Off-Broadway in 1990, at the McGinn Cazale Theater. In 1992, Davis lengthened the play, renamed it The Trial: Judgment of the People, and presented it at the same theater. Davis also arranged, performed, and co-wrote the music for an Emmy Award winning film, To Be a Man. In the fall of 1995, his music was used in the national PBS series, The American Promise.

Over the past few years, Davis has concentrated on writing and performing music. In the fall of 1995, he released his Red House Records debut Stomp Down Rider, an album that captured Davis in a stunning live performance. The album landed on top ten lists all over the country, including in the Boston Globe and Pulse. Davis’ next album, Call Down the Thunder, paid tribute to the blues masters, but leaned more heavily toward his own powerful originals. The electrifying album solidified Davis’ position as one of the most important blues artists of our time. It was named a top ten album of the year in The Boston Globe, Pulse! magazine and Request. Acoustic Guitar magazine called it one of the thirty essential CDs from a new generation of performers.

Davis’ third Red House disc, You Don’t Know My Mind, exploded with passion and rhythm, displaying Davis’ breadth as a composer and powerhouse performer. The San Francisco Chronicle gave the CD four stars, adding: “Davis’ tough, timeless vocals blow through your brain like a Mississippi dust devil.” Charles M. Young best summed up Davis’ own take on the blues when he wrote in Playboy, “Dav