Lucky Clark: On Music - interview March 16, 2022
Lucky Clark: Almost three years ago, I chatted with Stan Davis about his then new CD “Walking the Hathaway Road” and a show he was planning at the time. Well, fast forward to now and a similar scene is recreated: a new album (“All They Know”) and a CD release show (and a free one, as well)
Like before, I called him at his home in Wayne to ﬁnd out more about his latest, 14-song collection of slices of life and love and what’s been happening with him since last we talked. I began by exclaiming how much I enjoyed that soon-to-be-released CD.
Q: It had me laughing in places and being genuinely moved at others — it’s a well-rounded, entertaining album, for sure.
Davis: Thank you. I wanted to make connections because, from the beginning of the pandemic what was missing was connection with other people, so I wanted this music to connect —what you’re saying is great.
Q: One of the things I liked about it was that the 14 songs were just the right length … there was no incidents in the way I was listening to it where I said, “You know, that needs another verse,” “No, he should have taking that line out”; none of that, it’s really well-done.
Davis: Well, thank you. I’ll tell you what happened: right at the beginning of the pandemic, just before it hit, I was actually being busy in music for the ﬁrst time. I was out at bars and nursing homes and art galleries and art walks, and all of a sudden I went from full to zero and I didn’t know what to do. So like a lot of people I began playing and practicing all the time, it’s what we call ‘sharpening the saw,’ to the point where I had hurt my hand enough that I had to stop for a while (chuckle).
I was okay but all the time I felt like I was missing the magic and that connection with people so much and I didn’t feel like I could write because I didn’t know how long this was going to last. So I took my favorite songs that I’d written already and I thought, “How can I make them as good as I possibly can? Where are they too long,” as you said, “what’s missing? Where are the words that aren’t right?” I worked on each song and as I started doing that, then I started writing new stuff.
My granddaughter is a song coach, she’s 9 now, and one day she said, “I’m going to assign you a song,” and I said, “Ah, okay.” She said, “I want you to write a song that has imagery in it,” and I said, “Imagery?” and she put her hand on her hip, like the 8-year-old she was then, and looked at me and said, “You do know what a metaphor is, don’t you?”
Davis: (Laughter) And I said, “I’ll do my best to ﬁgure it out.” I didn’t really know what I was doing but I just knew I wanted to change the songs that I liked best and make them as good as I possibly could, and as it began coming together, I thought, “Well, there’s an album here.”
Q: So it seems it was happening in a very organic way.
Davis: But then I thought, “I really don’t want to do a studio thing where I’m not connected with people because that was the part missing: that connection, so I was going to do it live one evening with no second takes on a word or a phrase, I just wanted to do what I do live.
Q: So how did that work out?
Davis: I ﬁnally settled on a live (show) on Zoom because it wasn’t safe to do it otherwise, and that turned out to be a very cool way to do it, because you’re in the acoustic purity of a studio and yet you have connection with an audience. Working with Jud Caswell on that was terriﬁc, we just sat down together with a Zoom audience one night in November last year and did it, and I’m just really excited about the way it came out.
Q: So this is truly a live performance captured here, only without the applause.
Davis: And the glasses clinking and all that stuff, yeah. I just wanted people to be able to listen to this and say, “This is what I’m going to hear at a live show.”
Q: Now what number album is this for you?
Davis: This is the third. I did one studio album at Ed Desjardins’ studio with a whole bunch of other players, just a great group of people, and that was terriﬁc. I learned a lot from doing that. I took it out and sent it to people and they said, “Is this what we’ll hear when you come here?” and I thought, “Oh, there’s a lesson..” You can do wonderful things in a studio.
Q: Yeah, recreating it live as a solo artist does change it up, that’s for sure (chuckle).
Davis: That’s deﬁnitely a challenge. And then I recorded a CD here at home, that you reviewed, and I like that enough but I wanted some help with this one, I didn’t want to have to be thinking about the technical side while I was performing. So this is the third one and this is the one I’m really most excited about.
Q: And let’s face it, when you send it to venues you can say, “This is exactly what I’m like live!” And the purity of it, Stan, is what makes it such a great album, it’s just your voice, your guitar and your songs, its simplicity at its best.
Davis: That’s really what I’ve been about as a musician.
Q: I’ve always said that music that comes from the heart goes directly to the heart of the listener. Is there anything, Stan, that you’d like me to pass on to the folks reading this article?
Davis: Yeah, I think that we’re all due to take the backpack off. I used to do a lot of long-distance hiking with a heavy pack and when you’re done for the day you take the pack off and all of a sudden you’re about an inch taller and you’ve got all this energy. So that’s what happens when you re-emerge now into the magical give-and-take feeling of live performing. I’m going to be feeling that and I’m hoping the audience is going to be feeling that: that we can connect in this magical way that happens with music. I’m really convinced that music doesn’t truly happen except in a live exchange, it’s just an energy that goes back and forth, and that’s what I’m planning on and that’s what I’m hoping people will experience. It’s just exciting to be sharing this music.