Arkansas Dave delivers an exciting, rock heavy edge to Americana which is thoroughly enjoyable in this slf titled album. From the start of the album to finish we are met with upbeat, energetic, head banging songs that make you eager to see him live as well as mid tempo and down tempo tunes that bring out your emotional side . The musicianship throughout the album is exceptionally good and incredibly infectious. The album overall is an outstanding masterpiece with enthralling tracks that are instantly gratifying.
The flow of the album is brilliantly done, forming a well crafted string of songs and tracks such as Bad at Being Good and On My Way get you up on your feet and feeling alive.
His cover of Tom Waits Chocolate Jesus is wonderfully dark with an outlaw country way about it blended with a bit of swamp styled Jazz and Blues.
In places the music is quite Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds mixed with Rockabily and Americana. Arkansas Dave has a strong and very mesmerising story telling vocal which sparks your interest from the get go and makes you want to hear more. Songs such as Squeaky Clean and Rest of My Days grab your attention, listening to every word. The Wheel shows off a lot more range to his vocal and brings a more soulful rock sound.
The instrumentation in Jubilee and Diamonds are beautiful and the lyrics and vocals are really quite captivating and are the kind of songs that you close your eyes and truly listen to. The gospel style to the song Jubilee makes it even more sensational. The words to Diamonds are noticeably honest and moving as he sings about his hometown and memories.
We are treated with a strong Jazz sound in the song Something For Me which is an very emotive song with a powerful gospel choir.
This is a truly fantastic album that deserves a lot of recognition – this album is timeless and has so much talent in all aspects from music, lyrics, vocals to production and beyond and is one I intend to be playing for years to come.
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About Arkansas Dave
Arkansas Dave learnt at an early age that there are only a few roads out of a place like Camden Arkansas. One road heads to the prison, another to a career in the army, and the other’s a swampy dead end.
It’s a romantic cliché to find an escape in music and the blues, but living that life is a different matter. Ask Dave about growing up in a broken home, with fundamental Christianity on one side, and crippling drug-addiction on the other, and you can see in his eyes that this is no easy ride, and that at times music really was his only friend. Escaping Arkansas as soon as he could, Dave played in bands, funding his music with a succession of jobs where he had to find his feet quickly – from bus boy to assembly-worker in a trash-bag factory.
His wake up call came at the edge of a breakdown with a cataclysmic weekend epiphany. He headed home for a rare visit, and was persuaded to play a few songs to his family. The response he got from his grandfather sent his mind racing, only for him to find out the next week that his grandfather had died 24 hours later.
Determined to clean himself up, and sort his life, Arkansas Dave enrolled on an audio engineering course at Media Tech in Austin Texas, driving into town with a trailer loaded with all his possessions, ‘like something out of the Beverly Hillbillies’. And that’s where everything changed – the college was housed at that time in the famous Arlyn Studios, home to sessions from Willie Nelson, Neil Young and Ray Charles. Dave with his musical co-horts took the night shift at the studios – laying down tracks and learning the ropes.
A succession of bands followed, picking up a strong local following around Austin. The final part of his musical education saw Dave touring North America as a member of old bluesman Guitar Shorty’s band, where he learned ‘what it took to be a professional musician’
Fast forward to 2016 and Dave has written the album he’s always wanted to create – a wide ranging blues-rock based record that tells the story of his life, but resonates with all of us. The project just needed one more ingredient, so enter the Swampers, the legendary Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section. In a blistering eight-day recording session at Fame Studios the band laid down the backing tracks, and Dave returned to Arlyn to complete the vocals.
So the next chapter of Dave’s life is about to be written as he pulls his band together and takes his album out on the road – this time on a road that he’s building….
“Honest Americana, Blues and Rock n Roll that reflects the spirit of the South.”
Arkansas Dave was born and raised in the piney swamps of South Arkansas. Bred on blues and rock n roll, Dave cut his teeth playing in dive bars and the best honky tonks Arkansas and Texas has to offer. A self taught musician, Dave’s songs are interestingly original, blended with the humble sounds of the South. From the blues to gospel to rock n roll, his work comes full circle showcasing his raw talent.
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