Roy Davis and the Dregs
Gig Seeker Pro

Roy Davis and the Dregs


Band Rock Americana


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Shades of Grey"

Shades of Grey
Roy Davis debuts with a ramshackle warmth
January 11, 2007 12:14:51 PM

We know at least two things after Roy Davis’s January 4 Big Easy CD-release show: he’s got good taste — and a brass pair of balls. With Garrett Soucy (Tree By Leaf) and Pete Kilpatrick opening, the show was bound to draw, sure, but both of those guys are more established, and, well, better than Davis is at this point in his career. And everyone knows how a Portland club can empty during the break before the headliner goes on, if the audience feels they’ve already got their money's worth.
Confidence isn’t in short supply, however, in Grey Town , a place Davis has populated with earnest, closely mic’d vocals, songs of lost love and introspection, and a fair dose of the alt-country fakebook. Just that he has the ego to keep reaching for that falsetto he can’t quite deliver is evidence enough he isn’t self-conscious. Luckily, Davis mostly lives up to it, with a debut full-length that features at least one stellar song and a penchant for literate songwriting that ought to go over well in these parts.

My pick for multiple-playlist inclusion is "We’ll Always Be," which opens with the same cowboy shuffle of the bass and drums that made Ray LaMontagne’s "Empty" the best tune on his last album. Davis takes that opening and adds in a dash of classical guitar, then drops an earnest tenor that makes it easy to get wistful over a chorus that runs: "You’ve been runnin’ away since the first time that I came/I sat and watched the rain fall onto me/Everything was grey but the flowers in your hair/And we’re still here, and we’ll always be." At the finish there he arches up with a charge of passion, and there’s just the hint of a backing vocal throughout that lends the right spooky nuance.

This, like other tunes here, could easily have sat on Bright Eyes’s "country" album from last year, I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning. Right from the get-go, really, on "In the End," it’s hard not to also hear echoes of the Jayhawks, Ryan Adams, Wilco, and even, in the way he swallows his "ar"s, the ghost of Woody Guthrie. He’s got solid depth of feeling — I mostly believe every word he sings — for a 21-year-old, that’s for sure.

Strangely, with all this talk of confidence, it’s a lack of a brash chorus or bridge in some of these songs that keeps the album from totally wowing me. On "In the End," and especially "Unkind," there are parts that just beg for a big crescendo, a crashing of drums and screaming like the "Fuck You" on Damien Rice’s 9, that would give the listener a more disturbing peak behind the curtain. Otherwise, there’s the danger of monotony.

We get a tease of this in the coda of "Unkind," but it’s like half a crescendo, delivered mostly by the electric guitar getting moved higher in the mix. Come on, Roy, let your hair down a little.

The closest thing we get to rock is the Uncle Tupelo-themed "Hard Decline," which features the nice turn of phrase, "Oh, Holy Father, your sons and daughters do not believe/We want to be kinds and queens/We’re born into sadness and riches to daggers and shame." Here and often on the album, Davis alters his phrase endings, like a decent poet, to throw a different light of meaning on fractured sentence pieces. When he stays on the lower end of tenor, and throws in a few vocal bends like those in "Rusty Heart, Pretty Eyes," this can be quite winning.

I imagine Davis will collect his fair share of female fans. The mother in many of them will be drawn to his more self-deprecating moments, like those featured in the fairly sappy "Park Ave. Waltz," which starts with Davis literally "Alone again, on the day before Halloween." Right before it gets uncomfortable, though, he’s joined by drums and a pedal steel and dips over the edge into a cry of "I’m so alone," and then "drunk and alone," and even "fucked up and alone." As a light-hearted/ironic moment, it’s a rarity on the disc.

In his best moments, Davis succeeds with a bare-bones earnestness, supported by local scene regulars Calvin Goodale (guitar) and Bernie Nye (bass), both former and current members of the Pete Kilpatrick Supergroup. But even when he’s less than his best, Davis shows real promise.

Grey Town | Released by Roy Davis | playing next at Goat’s Head Soup, in Portland | Feb 8 |
- The Portland Phoenix

"Best of 2007? Happy New Year, Roy."

Who’s Roy Davis? Only my current favorite musician of 2007. Granted we’re only on day one, but still, wait until you hear this guy. delivered with a lonesome sounding voice that is singed with roots rock and folk. “If I sleep until the afternoon, then I’ll be up to see the glowing moon. Cause it’s a hard, a hard decline…” sings Davis. Jangly guitar, some bass, the occasional harmonica and some unobtrusive percussion is the context that Davis surrounds his music in. His lyrics are striking and honest and his voice climbs rises right at the right moments. His website,, revealed that this dude is but 21 years old. I’m impressed. Also, his links page included one to my long lost buddy, Graham Isaacson. I’ve been wondering what’s been up with Graham and was pleased as punch to read he’s getting ready to release a follow-up record to Nine Days on the Sinister Muse label. More on that after I track down Graham and have a little chat in the coming weeks. But getting back to Roy Davis. I don’t think I’m going out on too much of a limb by saying he’ll be one to keep an eye on. From what I’ve heard of his Grey Town record, he could be another breakout artist these parts. -Aimsel Ponti - The Portland Press Herald

"Grey Town by Roy Davis"

GREY TOWN by Roy Davis is lodged solidly in familiar Americana territory. This is not necessarily a bad thing. I have been unkind enough elsewhere to suggest that a good deal of Americana releases sound as if somebody in Texas had been slapping five hundred different labels onto the same CD. A lot of the genre sounds the same; there is just no getting around it. While Davis mines all of the expected influences (Townes Van Zandt on “In The End,” Neil Young on “Hard Decline” and “Rusty Heart, Pretty Eyes”, and Richard Buckner damn near all over the place), what sets GREY TOWN apart from its seemingly endless class of peers is Davis’ ability to straddle the fine line between detail and emotion.

Many of Davis’ peers tend to load up on the arrangements, partly to keep friends employed, partly to mask a lack of talent. Davis keeps things simple for the most part, guitar and piano and drums, with his unpolished but genuine vocals in the forefront. Someone associated with this project --- I'll assume it’s Davis --- also paid some attention to track order, so that the tempo varies as the listener travels from first song to last. In fact, the more I listen to GREY TOWN the more I am put in the mind of Neil Young’s AFTER THE GOLD RUSH. I'm not saying that GREY TOWN is on a level with that classic, but it puts me in the same frame of mind, aurally and professionally if not topically. There is a level of professionalism here that many projects lack these days; GREY TOWN has ten tracks on it, as opposed to twelve or fourteen, but I can about guarantee that a few years from now you'll be able to play any one of them, from “Unkind” to “In The End” to We'll Always Be,” and you'll play the track from beginning to end and still feel something.

Davis may not have the label deal and the budget but he has the songs and the chops, and, perhaps most importantly, a keen sense of when to start and stop. This one’s going into my Sunday morning heavy rotation stack. -Joe Hartlaub,

"Grey Town review by Miles of Music"

Davis writes simple tales of broken-hearts and big dreams. While the sound is closer to Ryan Adams or Clem Snide`s Eef Barzelay, Davis cites The Rolling Stones, Adams, The Drive-By Truckers and Nirvana as major influences. You can hear that in the emotional honesty of his songs. The album stays on a low musical country/folk simmer, forcing you to feel the words and his emotional turmoil. Just 21, Davis showcases a songwriting talent and a weariness beyond his years. -- Jeff Weiss, Miles of Music - Miles of Music

"Roy Davis CD Release Party"

The best thing running tonight though might be ROY DAVIS’s CD release party at the Big Easy. Rightly touted as Portland’s answer to Ryan Adams, his new album Grey Town has some serious potential. -Christopher Gray, Portland Phoenix - Portland Phoenix - 8 Days a Week


Debut album 'Grey Town' was released on December 12th of 2006. The first track 'In the End' is being played on 93.9 WCYY Spinout, and the 3rd track 'Hard Decline' is seeing airplay on 98.9 WCLZ Greetings from Area Code 207

Recent recording 'Dead Wight' is due out in Spring of 2008 on Milltown Records (Say ZuZu, Jon Nolan, Cluff Murphy).



Roy Davis exists in a space where the only thing that matters is the sound of guitars and drums hitting microphones, and an aching voice reminding you to feel anything at all.

Though just 21 years old, he has shared the stage with internationally acclaimed acts Josh Ritter and Say ZuZu, and his debut album has received nods of approval from the music community and sales from across the globe.

The latest album is called Dead Weight and will be available online and in stores April of 2008. It is new and different and exciting.