ST JAMES HALL i
3214 West 10th Ave, Kitsilano
Accessible All ages
Guy Davis is an American blues guitarist and banjo player, and actor. He is the son of the actors Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis. 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.
Davis says his blues music is inspired by the southern speech of his grandmother. Though raised in the New York City area, 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 first exposure to the blues was at a summer camp in Vermont run by Pete Seeger's brother John Seeger, where he learned how to play the five-string banjo.
For the past two decades, Davis has concentrated much of his efforts on writing, recording, 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 lists all over the country, including in the Boston Globe and Pulse magazine. A string of other critically acclaimed recordings have followed.
Throughout his life, Davis has had overlapping interests in music and acting. Early acting roles included a lead role in the 1984 film Beat Street opposite Rae Dawn Chong and on television as Dr. Josh Hall on One Life to Live from 1985 to 1986. Eventually, Davis had the opportunity to combine music and acting on the stage. Davis creates his own work: 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 New York Times and the Village Voice.
Many notables in the entertainment world who call themselves Davis fans include Jackson Browne, Maya Angelou, and Jessica Lange, who had Davis perform his cover version of the Bob Dylan song, “What’s a Sweetheart Like You (Doing in a Dump Like This)” for a special fundraiser she and her husband Sam Shepard organized for Tibetan monks in Minnesota.
'Kokomo Kidd' Reviews
The ghost of Pete Seeger is present throughout Guy Davis' new album. Davis hits all the high marks on Kokomo Kidd, releasing his best album to date, to my ears. Casting an eye over his shoulder, he finds the juice to move forward with a batch of songs that represent the breadth and depth of his remarkable career, showcasing his strength as a songwriter, performer, and producer. Davis is in full storytelling mode here, with compositions that paint portraits of politicians, dealers, victims, and lovers. A few of the numbers unfold like scenes from a movie -- you can see the secret late-night dope drops, watch the heartbroken son hang his head and weep over the loss of his mother. - J. McSpadden, No Depression
With the acting chops this cat has running through his veins is it any wonder he can sell anything and make it look easy? A modern, down home acoustic blues set as inspired by his parents as it is Pete Seeger as it is the storytelling tradition, this is a sucker Sunday punch that’ll have you on your back before you know what hit you. And you won’t even know you were hit. With Professor Louie and various members of the Crowmatix providing the architecture in the background, this is a great reminder that there’s more to contemporary Woodstock music than the ghost of the Arkansas kid. This has got to be the best back porch record of this year. Killer stuff. - Chris Spector, The Midwest Record
Please note that the admission price for this concert includes a $2 Venue Improvement Fee that we are required by the St. James Square to collect from every patron. Starting in September 2016, the proceeds from this temporary fee will be used for construction projects such as air conditioning that will make the hall a nicer place for you to visit in the future. If you wish, you can make a secure donation of any amount over $5 (NOT $100 as it says) by clicking on the big blue button at the bottom of the page at www.sjcommunitysquare.org. For information on donating by phone or post, please contact the St. James Square office at 604-739-9373.