Sunday, May 1, 2016
Guy Davis, Blues Musician
47 Jefferson Avenue, Hastings-on-Hudson, NY 10706 United States
While carrying the blues around the world, from the Equator to the Arctic Circle, Guy Davis came back with some fresh inspiration and new stories to tell. Kokomo Kidd, his first all new album in two years, finds the blues ambassador visiting fresh territory. “It’s a new beginning for me,” he says. “The first time I've produced myself. What I‘m showing here is a side of me that’s deep inside. It’s needing air and light, and here it comes!”
His deft acoustic playing and well crafted lyrics are here, as always. Some songs find Davis calling on his gifts as an actor and storyteller, while others are as personal as it gets. The rollicking title track, featuring Ben Jaffe, of New Orleans’ Preservation Hall Jazz Band, might be called a short story that you can dance to, featuring a rascal character who starts as a bootlegger and winds up a Republican advisor. The song’s New Orleans connection harkens back to a formative visit he made to the Crescent City in 1979, a trip that convinced him to follow his muse as a performer.
Another notable friend, harmonica ace Charlie Musselwhite, appears on a version of the Howlin’ Wolf classic “Little Red Rooster.” But the most surprising of the four non-originals has to be Donovan’s “Wear Your Love Like Heaven.” As Davis explains, “I loved that song back when I was a kid, and I wasn’t even sure why. It wasn’t especially rhythmic, more on the acoustic psychedelic side of things. Growing up as an African-American, it was always about James Brown, soul music. There was a time when I wouldn’t have had the self-confidence to do a song like that.”
Guy Davis’ work as an actor, author, and lately teacher, earmark him as a renaissance man of the blues. What music and acting have in common, he explains, “is that I don’t like people to see the hard work and the sweat that goes into what I do. I want them to hear me and be uplifted. And I want some little eight-year-old kid in the front row to have big eyes and say, ‘Hey, I want to do that!’”.