On Saturday, June 20, Flying Cat Music brings New York native and Buffalo favorite Davey O. to Phoenicia to perform at the Empire State Railway Museum located at 70 Lower High Street. The doors open at 7:00 p.m. with the show beginning at 7:30 prompt. Admission is $12 or $10 with RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 845-688-9453.
Davey O. describes his music as “pretense-free Americana,” and, though that’s unlikely to be recognized as a music sub-genre any time soon, it fits Davey O. perfectly. He’s the son of a Buffalo New York factory worker, and Davey unabashedly credits his father with imparting a solid blue collar work ethic to him at an early age. Frills and false veneer have little place in Davey O.’s world as reflected in his music, but simple pleasures and raw beauty abound in both. It’s those core qualities that have steadily won Davey O. increasing attention and acclaim in an independent folk scene crowded with singer-songwriters.
Building on having been named a Kerrville New Folk Songwriting Finalist in 2013, 2014 was a breakthrough year for Davey O. His latest release, No Passengers, wound up on numerous “Best of 2014″ radio station lists from Auburn, Alabama, to Tacoma, Washington, while finishing at #26 on the Top 100 Contemporary Folk Albums of 2014 list issued by Roots Music Reports. Here in our region Wanda Fischer, the highly regarded Dee Jay of The Hudson River Sampler on WAMC, included No Passengers on her own “Best CDs of 2014” list.
Davey O. is no newcomer to the folk circuit; his family work ethic has served him well as a troubadour who now plays upwards of 120 shows a year in his second decade of performing. It’s part of what keeps both him and his music grounded in down to earth realities; Davey isn’t in this for the glamor. Sarah Craig, who manages Caffe Lena, one of America’s oldest and premier music coffee houses, describes Davey as “a rare voice for the actual struggling everyday people of this world–not filtered through legend or tradition, but as actually and personally experienced.”
Musically speaking, in the words of Ronny Bervoets of Rootstime, “Davey’s voice resembles that of Don Henley so that you quickly get what could be described as capturing an “early” Eagles sound. Combined on single numbers with harmonica reminiscent of Neil Young, you get a delicious sound, homogeneous of Folk and Americana numbers.”
While reviewing a 2009 release by Davey O. the Songwriter’s Monthly described The Long Way Home as “a powerful collection of songs that stand shoulder to shoulder with the best of such writers as John Hiatt, Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan… There is a fierce yet tender yearning driving his music. His many years of being an artist have refined his style to an exquisite rawness. Davey’s songs are something tangible, something real that you can hold in your hands and draw close to your heart. He wrings meaning from the quiet moments and turns it into lasting memories, sometimes changing the way you might look at life.”
The insights Davey captures in song are simultaneously subtle and familiar, basic but somehow hard to put simply in words, until you find them in lyrics like these about what could be virtually anyone’s home town, found on his latest release
“I hear the sound of my footsteps
echo off the walls and the pavement
I want to know where my city went
now that Main Street ain’t the main street
It’s the beauty of a well-crafted song that can pick you up and take you in–hook, line, and sinker.