Friday, September 20, 2013

Worth Fighting For


 Hello friends, GD/FFB fans, and general well-wishers!
You must be thinking HOORAY! a "Walking The Walk" Newsletter from Garrick Davis, one of your favorite guitarist/singer/songwriter's in the whole wide world! If that's not what you're thinking, then as the saying goes: "To know me is to love me" or as this "new era's" central theme will bear out: "To know us is to love us!"
It seems I've been in 'exile' as a solo player over the past 4 years to avoid the complexity of fronting a band and what that entails. How easy it is and has been to play shows and not have to set up rehearsals around other lives, to not have to find the right(and available) musician to fill in a spot if a regular player can't make the gig. To not be concerned about having enough pay at the end of the night to make it worth someone's time, in spite of the mutual gratification of the work itself.
Something has happened over the past year that has changed my thinking. Perhaps a new perspective was in order as can be the case as we pass through different stages of life. I have gone out to see a lot of live music beginning in the early part of this year, mostly local artists and bands but some major acts too.
I've seen some really good shows, some great moments and that people were putting it all out on the line and doing it "together", musician-to-musician, musician-to-audience, etc.. Different scenes: Rock shows, Punk shows, Jazz, Blues, Singer-Songwriter.
What I felt in my heart upon seeing this beautiful, inspiring energy of music artists and musicians initally was that all the monumental efforts I and others had made throughout the first decade of the 21st century to establish a presence on the musical field had vanished. The momentum had left the building and one of the most annoying things is that what I do, my style, could not be identified exclusively into any one of those aforementioned genres(Rock, Jazz,Singer-Songwriter, etc.).
At one time I was told I am "unmarketable" (maybe that was a racial "slur" aimed at an African-American who did write or perform Jazz, R&B or Hip Hop, you get the picture). I now understand that certain parties didn't know what they were talking about, they just were too lazy or afriad to buck the usial trend. More importantly, they didn't know who I was, as I was being represented by an attorney who "definitely got paid" for his time.
Those that had invested in my rather 'late start' as a 40-year-old with a debut album into perhaps the most competitive industry on the planet still hadn't given up on whatever vibe I had created. Of course neither had I - I had been "away" between 2009-12 but always working - teaching(private guitar), writing and self-producing and engineering my greatest, most vivid work to date in Expose Your Self. Working to get better and in the meantime discover something inside had me feel as if I am letting "my people" down in not doing all I can to celebrate the talent I've been blessed with and "putting it all on the line" with and for people who want to Walk the Walk with me and this music that comes pouring out of my own soul with tangible results.
Something changed. Through a period of introspective soul-searching I came to find I had lost my sense of community and with that I forgot about my own "prime directive" which is to develop and use my certain talent as a means to bring people together. To have fun culled from the intense work and vision/hope I carry as a bandleader!
I am a creative. In the realm of organization and marketing I am...well, not as good as someone I might be inclined to hire for 'their' expertise. I have been slow and sometimes lost because I've not had someone or some people to pass the ball off to from time to time. Could or should this be the answer I give to those who have asked me "why are you not famous?" 
My satisfaction of working with others for a common cause, et al, isn't limited to the stage or studio. In getting people to come to shows I feel as though I'm working with a potential audience so that we may experience a mutually beneficial and spiritual uplift. I employ musicians of the highest caliber so they may utilize their skills and talent and go home with some money in their pocket for their time that doesn't quite equal the compensation given to those in the field of High Tech or even a short-sighted greedy attorney, not to mention the years of skill building.
The common cause is in sharing the ritual of the live performance and the emotional connection brought about by rhythms, melodies, messages and the vital audience response we call applause. This is something I knew I wanted to do ever since I heard Peter and The Wolf at age 3 already having sung in front of a church audience at 2-1/2.
I actually got an "early start" when I think about it. It's only now as my aging parents, who have believed in me from the beginning, show me the inescapable life direction in which we all will go that I feel a sense of urgency to continue to do the things I really believe matter in life...production, connection and Love.
As I begin to mount a new "offensive" to get my music out into the frenetic world we occupy, I feel focused and know that what I hope to add to the world and the lives I hope to touch in doing so is a cause worth fighting for.  I have never understood the gravity of my quest more vividly than now, especially with my mother, Marie, telling me why she has and will never give up on a worthy cause, which in this case is me. That is fuel for another blog.
FinallyI have never been more forgiving of those people who I wish would come to shows, but don't...as part of the fight involves getting you/them to know who I am so that they may see themselves in me. This fight is not about me as much as it is to persevere with grace and fully-loaded enthusiasm. No ego need show up.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Birthdays, Hopes, Wishes!

To all of my Facebook Friends,

I THANK YOU ALL for your kind and thoughtful BIRTHDAY WISHES for my father. I read many of your comments to him and will read the rest to him today since we're having a party with more family members!

I CAN"T TELL YOU HOW MUCH IT MEANS TO HIM HEAR SUCH AN OUT POURING OF LOVE and CARING. I have learned much from both of my parents - in fact it is in understanding their lives, hopes and dreams that pushes me forward in my own music career. They didn't have the opportunity I have now, having come up in the era of Jim Crow in the state of Wyoming.

Some of you have asked about my father "passing on some wisdom" - I am sorry to say that he has a form of dementia and doesn't always speak coherently, not that he speaks gibberish but that those cherished times I experienced as one of his four children soaking up his wisdom and stories from his past are practically over. The funny thing is, he can always remember music and songs he loves! No matter how difficult the day may be, music focuses his thoughts and heart.

My father was a swing band drummer in the 40's and my mother, Marie, is a classically-trained operatic soprano singer who was passed up for many jobs and opportunities, of course not for the "content of her character" but "for the color of her skin". My mother has sung on all of my albums but I luckily had both parents "guest" on my latest album "Expose Your Self" where she graced the title track and my dad on a song called Happy June" where we "traded 8's" "lap drumming" in a session at their house 4 years ago. As I grow older and become more aware of life as it "was" and "is",

I am inspired to continue to reach for "success" in the field of music because I love it, have an opportunity to contribute something beautiful and meaningful to society and finally because in my reaching to be the best I can be, I honor my parent's hopes and dreams, continue their legacy of inspiration, hard work and belief in "a life well lived" and pass them on to my own talented 21 year old son Zach who doesn't quite yet understand how talented he is and deep the lineage runs.

With clear sincerity and Love, GD