Thursday, November 19, 2009

CHUNKYmusic: Bluegrass Badass: Michael Daves

When you look at Michael Daves (pronounced Dave's) he is a lanky, tall, (6' 2'') rawboned cowboy looking type of guy.  His general sensitivity to that which is around him is evident.  He notices everything. He notices the people walking by outside of Rockwood's Music Hall.   He notices the room filling up (Nora Jones makes a surprise appearance).  He is comfortable with the one-on-one and has solid relationships with fellow musicians (i.e., Dred Scott of the Dred Scott Trio) but he is uncomfortable with large crowds, for crowds sake.  He quickly, but cordially, excuses himself rather than be a star-fucker and stick around to rub shoulders with the famous.  He is a quiet, sensative, but solid Southern man with an artist's shyness and Midwestern sensibilities.  He cares deeply and understands his music.

His style is a singular literally and musically.  He is a man on a stage with a drum kit, a cymbal which was found in the garbage can, and a guitar which serves as an extension of himself.  The sound, bluegrass, as he describes it, easily fills the room.  Personally I think his music is much more country as there is a gravity about it often not found in bluegrass music.  Either way, it's just good.  Musically his sound is a spit-on-your-shoes insult to sythesizers, autotune, Pro Tools, and the countless techno-nonsense which pervades "musicians" today.  He laconically sets up his minimalist kit and goes about his business.  His music, his style, his entire lack of fan fare, would make our grandfather's proud.

Michael Daves music stands for a brand of masculinity that has been lost.  It is a brand that is unvarnished, uncompromised, non-pretending, untouched by anything unsacred.  It is a message that while, may be a given in certain rural societies, it certainly has great value in an urban setting, an land of greys in dire need of the black and white, painfully looking for clarity.  Tonight the faithful have come to hear reminders of a code of manhood that is more and more often forgotten.  Not the ubiquitous message of commercialized gangster hip-hop music which proclaims that women are bitches and whores and should not be respected, but offers nothing for it's male audience in it's part of the coital dance.

But rather in Daves' music he sings about a man who loves his woman but refuses to be treated badly i.e., Rain and Snow.  He emotes openly in a song "Sophronie" (available below) about a player who is untouchable until he falls in love and his player psyche falls apart and the ensuing sadness and doubt encroach.  He talks about the sadness of a man when he loses a woman he really wants but can't get back, how he never really appreciated her and now it's too late in "You Never Miss Your Water."  He talks about a man who refuses to let go of the memories of a woman that has long left him but he still loves in "I Live in the Past."  The most impressive part of his entire set is a song which is beautiful on which he does something every man respects, he just plays, and communicates,  but doesn't talk at all.  The list goes on and on.

I was not going to write about Michael Daves.  After I received his CD and realized that these songs were not written by him but rather are anywhere from fifty to hundreds of years old I was going to simply write about another singer/songwriter.  But Daves' message isn't optional.  It's a message that offers a guiding light and is affirmational to all men.  It serves to affirm what men have known for a long time and women have suspected, that men have deep emotions but Daves' music respects them in that a man's emotions are like tectonic plates, shifting the whole landscape of character when they move.  He has a message that by, simply singing his music, acknowledges and sends the message to men that these emotions are shared experiences.  But there is a comfort in his delivery and the way he plays  that removes any softness.  He doesn't go Dr. Phil on the men.  He doesn't want others to express how they feel.   He doesn't want you, God forbid to shed a tear.  Michael Daves does what man's best friend does on a much higher level.  He doesn't need you to speak for you to know that he understands.  Women listen to Daves but men learn, attention rapt, wordlessly but solemnly agreeing with what he has to say.

Buy Michael Daves' CD.  Buy it not because you want it.  Buy it because you need it.  Buy it because it's great.  Buy it because your grandfather would.  But most of all, buy it because it may very well save your soul.   

Listen to Sophronie here:

Hear an Interview with Michael Daves below:

Interview Part 1:

Interview Part 2:

Interveiw Part 3:

Interview Part 4:

Interview Part 5:

Interview Part 6:

Interview Part 7:

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