An Emotionally Rich Performance By Guy Davis
Every once in a while I see a show that truly takes away my breath, be it by the power of the music, the lyrics, or both, or by the passionate intensity of the musicians. Guy Davis who performed at The Extended Play Sessions recently delivered one of those shows in all those respects.
I arrived early and was treated to part of the sound check/rehearsal, which lasted until doors opened. After the first few notes, I was hooked (lucky me, I was able to hear even more of his fabulous music).
Guy’s style of blues is firmly steeped in traditional blues of musicians such as Son House and Robert Johnson, but as with all great musicians he has learned from the traditional and made the music his own.
His lyrics seem so deeply personal and while he may not necessarily seek to make a statement with his music, he does just that. His song ‘She Just Wants to be Loved’ is about child abuse; I felt that he was talking to me yet I am not a victim of abuse. I think all of the women in the audience felt the same and a number of us had tears in our eyes.
There was ‘Sugar Belly’ which I believe is the song that the band heard for the first time during rehearsal. That song is about a woman who was exposed to prostitution as a child. This was the début performance of it, and I dare anyone to say that they could tell it had been rehearsed for the first time that afternoon.
The band consisted of Professor Louie (of Professor Louie and the Chromatix) on keyboard and accordion; Chris James on guitar, mandolin and banjo; and Mark Murphy on acoustic bass. All provided backing vocals. Guy played acoustic six- and twelve-string guitars. What extraordinarily talented men!
Guy asked the audience – if we were so moved – to sing the chorus on a number of songs. We were definitely moved! Even when he didn’t ask, we sang along with them. There is an audience mic at the venue, so when the videos and documentary are produced, you may hear me and about 55 other people. We sounded good (if I do say so myself).
Guy prefaced each song with a brief (or not so brief at times) story about the song he was about to present, which added tremendously to my enjoyment of the show as well as my understanding of the songs.
He ended the ten-song set with a superb solo harmonic/vocal number called ‘Did You See my Baby’. This song was a tribute to the late, great Sonny Terry. It was much fun to watch because Guy gyrated his hips when that matched the lyrics!
Guy is a superb performer, and his style seems effortless. For those of you who do not know (and I did not realize this until a few months ago), Guy is the talented son of Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis, people whom I admired greatly during their lifetime. In most respects, Guy’s apple lands right under his parents’ tree!
There is a great deal of emotion in this music, and it deserves your time to truly listen to, hear and appreciate the lyrics. Even better, see Guy when he is performing at a venue near you. And be on the lookout for the film. It promises to be incredible! Click here to see the video of ‘She Just Wants to be Loved’.
I know it is early in the year, but I believe this show will be in my top ten of 2016.
Posted on January 16, 2016, in concert photos, concert reviews, music, Uncategorized and tagged acoustic blues, boston, Chris James, concert photos, concert review, Extended Play Sessions, Guy Davis, Mark Murphy, Professor Louie. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.