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April 16, 2016 @ 7:30 pm$10
Speaking or singing, the voice of Joshua Davis is a disarming instrument: weathered and warm, as capable of conjuring confessional intimacy on a global stage as it is of making a small room, well off the beaten path, resonate with startling urgency and power. Couple it with an earnest poetic sensibility, a boundless work ethic, and an un- canny gift for connecting with audiences spanning generations, and it’s no wonder that Davis is now poised at the brink of the sort of widespread recognition that typically passes right over such a humble troubadour.
Over the past fifteen years, Michigan-based Davis has honed an impressive range of skills – songwriter, bandleader, guitarist, and vocalist among them – in the most honest possible fashion: night after night, song after song, show after show – Davis simply delivered every performance as though his life depended on it. Investing himself in the American musical diaspora, he has explored the common thread connecting folk, blues, jazz, ragtime, and country forms – discovering his personal perspective as a composer in the process.
Davis almost didn’t audition when the popular NBC musical showcase The Voice called. “I’d never even seen the show. Looking at music in a competitive way is totally against the way I was raised,” he says. “Collaboration is what it’s about. Music brings people together. So the competitive aspect of it was really foreign – to be judged like that.” From his first performance, Davis triumphed, and over the course of the season, his rootsy, sincere approach emerged as a refreshing alternative and propelled him all the way to finals, where he performed a duet with Sheryl Crow for a national television audience .
The unexpected gift of an instant national audience has given Davis a rare, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and he is careful when considering its implications and possibilities. The combination of his recent success and his long jour- ney to get there is inspiring a new batch of songs, still in their “larval form,” as Davis puts it. But he’s still doing things as he always have: Walking into the studio with his guitar, his songs, and his band, counting off, and rolling tape – taking the performance live off the floor, with little post-production sweetening.
“More than anything else, it’s really important to me to show people that you don’t need to rely on studio tricks and cheats to make a great album,” he says. “The music I love is raw and organic and it’s perfectly flawed. If more people are listening, I’d like that to be highlighted a little bit more. That’s where I see my place: Playing music that’s a little more raw, that’s a little more organic, that lives and breaths. And also that’s timeless in some way.”