LOCK HAVEN - Avenue 209 Coffeehouse, 209 Bellefonte Ave., will host folk artist Davey O., beginning at 7 p.m. tomorrow.
Buffalo, N.Y.-based songwriter Davey O. has been performing for more than 10 years. Performing songs from his 2012 release, "Testing For Rust", Davey O. hopes to bring a connection to the audience at Avenue 209.
"Testing for Rust" took a spot on the Top 25 releases on the Roots Music Reports in New York state for 11 consecutive weeks. His music has been described 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."
SOURCE: photo by Guy Whiteley
Folk artist Davey O. will perform at Avenue 209 Coffeehouse Oct. 11.
For more more information on Davey O., visit his website, www.daveyo.com.
BETHANY WIEGAND: You've been on the performing circuit for over 10 years now. Where did you start?
DAVEY O.: My beginnings in music actually go well beyond the 10-plus years that I've been writing, recording and touring as a solo artist. I started out my music career as a bassist and played in several hard rock/hair metal bands during the late 1980s and early '90s ... Between 1986-88 I also studied music in college and earned an A.A.S. (Associate of Applied Science) degree in music theory and performance, with my major in electric bass.
In 1997, I had just about had enough of all of the logistics of being in a band, keeping everyone interested, everyone with a common purpose. Around that time I had also purchased an acoustic guitar and started writing songs that I felt would require different instrumentation and musicality.
This was at a time when bands like Counting Crows, The Wallflowers, Toad The Wet Sprocket, etc. ... were starting to make some noise, and those bands in combination with what I was hearing on Canadian radio (living in a border city) - bands like Blue Rodeo, Spirit of the West and The Waltons - they all had these great songs that were beautifully arranged and contained instrumentation that I guess could be best described as "classic Americana." Things like mandolin, accordian, Hammond organ, all of which lent a different texture to the music.
The amalgam of that music interested me greatly not only as a songwriter, but in what I wanted to achieve in the recording process. While I knew that there was an appreciation for this type of music by my band mates at the time, they didn't have the musicality to pull it off and they actually wanted to get heavier, so I parted ways with them and started on this journey.
BW: In your bio, your music has been described as "No hackneyed story lines, no insincere polish, just an unflinching poet's look at life," What inspires your writing? Are you a poet at heart?
DO: I guess I'm a poet at heart - lyric writing is and can be poetic at times, in terms of meter and the nature of the language used to express what you're feeling.
It can be metaphoric and have meanings that don't always sit on the surface and that require a little more work from the reader or listener to dig a little deeper.
What inspires most of my writing are not only actual experiences but the undeniable fact that we as humans all experience the same joys, hopes, fears, falls and heartbreaks at some point in life. We are all going to die and not be here at some point, there's no denying that and our fears and concerns of "how will the planet survive without me?"
We will all have our heart broken at some point, either romantically, through the loss of family, friends or pets, but it will happen. Most of us will know what it's like to lose a job and worry about how we're going to pay our bills.
So, I think my goal as a songwriter has always been to find a common thread in our humanity and then finding a way to express that in language that is visual, accessible, but also with underlying messages within the framework of the lyric of either hope or "hey, I'm going through this too."
I also like to achieve within that framework, a storyline that takes the listener on a journey from point A to point B in some type of chronological fashion.
BW: Tell me a little bit about "Testing for Rust."
DO: "Testing For Rust" is easily my most complete piece of work to date. I took a lot of time and care in not only writing the songs, but also in crafting them. One of the things I have learned to do over the past few years as a songwriter is to be a better "craftsman" - to be a better editor of my work, to better select what words to use and how to use them to create the imagery I'm trying to achieve.
This is not always something you can learn on your own, this is something that came from the mentorship of others, people who I trusted that I could place my work before and receive an honest, direct, and blunt critique of my work.
I wanted to know how I could get much, much better at what I do, to write the same kinds of songs that affect an audience the way the songs of my musical heroes have affected and influenced me.
With the assistance of my co-producer Jeffrey Mikulski, we also strived for a certain sound and feel to the record - one that was sparse in its instrumentation and in doing so, choosing the correct musicians to play those parts on the right songs. I think between the radio airplay, chart success and that two of the songs from "Testing for Rust" got me the nod for Kerrville, I think we made a big step forward. But it's only one of many on the journey.
BW: If you weren't making music, what would you imagine yourself pursuing as a career?
DO: If the hours were not so ridiculously long, I'd love to work in a restaurant as a chef or sous chef. I love cooking and I find that there's a strong correlation between artistic creativity and cooking. The process of recording a song is very much like cooking in the fact that the instruments become the ingredients in the "recipe" and if you have the proper combination, you end up with a tasty result.
BW: You perform in a lot of coffee houses. How do you take your coffee?
DO: Two cream, two sugar, sometimes black with one sugar when I'm eating fried eggs.
BW: What can audiences at Avenue 209 expect for your upcoming performance?
DO: I really try to connect with an audience not just through my songs, but whenever possible, I like to tell the story behind the writing of the song. I think it's good in that environment for the listener to get the source material and it can set up the performance of the song rather nicely.
There will be points in the set where I will make you laugh, you might want to cry, you may disagree with me, but that's all OK, because it's all part of the human experience. One of the things I love about being a folk musician is that there really isn't a separation between you as the performer and the audience like there is in pop music.
In addition to performing as often as I do, I do try to attend shows on off nights whenever possible. It's always nice to see that the artists always make time to meet the people in the audience, spend time talking with them, in some cases, they become friends. What's wrong with any of that?
We're not gods on a pedestal when we perform - just someone who happens to write songs for a living. To complete the circle and make a personal connection, through the songs, through the conversation - that's what it is all finally about.