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World Wide Davey

UPCOMING DATES!

Jan18

Davey O.

B-Side, 5 Liftbridge Lane, Fairport, NY

Jan24

Davey O.

Lilly Belle Meads, 11 W. Main Street, Lancaster, NY

Feb6

Davey O.

The Barn of Harpers Ferry, 1062 W. Washington Street, Harpers Ferry, WV

Feb7

Davey O.

Corkscrew Wine Pub, 1365 Broadcloth St, Suite 102, Fort Mill, SC

Feb9

Davey O.

South Florida Folk Festival, Bergeron Rodeo Grounds, 4271 Davie Road, Davie, FL

Ticket Prices PREPAID SINGLE DAY TICKETS • BFC Members: $30  • non-members: $35   PREPAID WEEKEND TICKETS • BFC Members: $45 • non-members: $55   Single Day Tickets at the Gate  • BFC Members: $35  • non-members: $40  Full Weekend Tickets at the Gate  • BFC Members: $55 • non-members: $65

various pricing

Feb15

Davey O. & Tom Robert (co-bill)

The Tabernacle at Sweet_ness 7, 211 Lafayette Avenue, Buffalo, NY

$5.00

Feb20

ITR w/Greg Barresi, Amy Petty, Phil Henry

Nickel City Sessions, 83 Main Street, Akron, NY

$10.00

Feb21

Davey O.

The Irishman, 5601 Main Street, Williamsville, NY

Feb27

Davey O.

Penny Lane Cafe, 10255 Main Street, Clarence, NY

Audio

From the lonesome highway..... 

Four days after arriving home from my longest period of time away from home, some thoughts from the lonesome highway, (or what I did for the first ten days of March) ….

While on tour between March 1st and 10th, I realized fully what an amazing network of friends and family I have available to me. People opened their homes to me for house concerts, fed me, provided a warm and comfortable place to sleep, and engaged in conversation with me. Some of them were people I were meeting for the very first time, and were as accommodating as if we were lifelong pals. That alone concretized a feeling I have had for a while, that deep down, people are essentially good, they want to help, they want to be around others, and through conversation, we discover that we have much more in common with each other than not. We are much more than performer and audience, and the line (that shouldn’t exist in the first place) between us disappears completely. The walls we sometimes put up in an effort to closely guard ourselves – not only at the venues, but at gas stations, supermarkets, rest areas, etc….. quickly fall away with a genuine smile, and a friendly “hello”.

Despite being surrounded by my house concert hosts and their friends, this was a journey that was long and very lonely at times. Particularly the time spent driving. Phone calls back home, a visit with my sister and her family, and the use of video messaging certainly helped, but the highway hours were long, boring stretches, even on the shorter commutes. Aside from leaving the house, and saying your goodbyes, driving is indeed, the most difficult aspect of being a touring songwriter. The rare occasions when Sheila can come along – even if we don’t share the driving duties – make travel much more tolerable, simply because I have someone to talk to, and someone to share the experience with. I doubt that I will ever embark on a series of dates of this length again. 3-4 days max is good for me, and gets me home with a much faster turnaround.

Regarding highway travel – I’ve yet to understand the concept of having three lanes of traffic, a sign that says, “SLOWER TRAFFIC, KEEP RIGHT”, only to take that option away a mile later with a sign that reads, “RIGHT LANE ENDS”.  A long standing pet peeve of mine…..


When I performed my feature set at the “Find Your Muse” open mic at The Evening Muse in Charlotte, NC, a couple of things happened that evening that, for lack of a better term - changed my perspective. Or maybe it was just a reminder of how music can bring us together. The talent level and the diversity of acts at this open mic was like none that I had ever witnessed at an open mic. I hate to say this, but most open mics that I have attended are typically comprised of older, white, males, some of whom are singer songwriters, some who are keeping their connection to performing alive with a repertoire of Neil Young, Gordon Lightfoot, and the like in their catalog, and a handful of younger songwriters testing out new material, or using the open mic as an audition in hopes for a paying gig at the venue. Most of them sit in the audience with their guitar case at their feet, waiting for their name to be called, while the regulars usually sit at a table together. Sadly, many of the performers leave as soon as they complete their 2-3 song set so that by the time the last person gets to perform, they’re doing so for less than a handful of people. At The Evening Muse, everyone stayed until the end. On a Monday night.

At “Find Your Muse”, performers consisted of a wide age demographic and stylistically ranged from several hip hop/rap artists, poets, stand-up comics, singer-songwriters, and R&B vocalists who took the stage to share their talents. As this unfolded before me, I had a bit of anxiety as to how this straw cowboy hat wearing, contemporary Folk/Americana songwriter from Buffalo, NY would fare before this audience. After the changeover, as people were settling back into their seats, I started my first song. There were quiet murmurs coming from the audience, probably things like, “uh oh, WTF is this going to be like?”, but by the time I reached the end of the first chorus, I could see the faces in the audience begin to soften, smiles started to appear, heads began to move in time, and a hearty round of applause followed upon its completion. After the completion of my third song, “In Its Own Time” (a song which has become to me, one that is about transitioning from one period of life into the next), a twenty-something African-American male stood up, and shouted, “that’s what I’m talking about! That’s some profound shit right there!!!”  The walls came down. Age, race, gender, or any other metrics, demographics, or geographic location didn’t matter anymore. That’s what music can – and is supposed to do - regardless of how the industry, the media, or the perception of your own mind attempts to package it with a pretty bow, and assign it a genre. If it’s good, if it contains universal truths, and speaks to even one person – it’s does what it is intended to do – put us “in concert” with each other.


House concerts.  Five of the seven dates on this most recent tour were comprised of house concerts. There is something uniquely special about these shows, for the hosts, performer, and audience alike. They need not be fully attended to maintain that special feeling. Two of the house concerts I performed on this tour had less than 10 people in attendance, the others ranged from 15-25 people. Here’s what makes these shows so wonderful – 1.) It’s a gathering of friends and neighbors, and from that, a real sense of community is generated. 2.) As a performer, you have the undivided attention of a listening audience. No conversations are taking place, no one is looking at their cell phone, no one is approaching you after every other song to make requests for Jimmy Buffet songs, The Eagles, or Wagon Wheel. No one yelling "Freebird" (Why is THAT still a thing?). This is an audience that has paid good money to see you perform YOUR songs, and may very well be hearing you for the first time. Talk about having an open mind! 3.) As a performer there is absolutely zero onus on you to “draw”, sell tickets, send out press releases, posters, or have a street team plaster streetlight poles with flyers to announce your pending arrival in town. As an audience member, there is no logging into a ticketing website, trying to beat the bots for the good tickets and settling for ones in the nosebleed section, or buying better seats at twice the face value on the secondary market, paying inflated service and postal charges, fighting traffic, and paying $20 or more to park blocks away from the venue.  4.) The conversation, food, and drinks. That puts a big, fat bow on the whole house concert experience. It is truly wonderful to see the joyful reaction of those who are first time attendees, many of whom thought that live music was only consumable in a standard brick and mortar venue. It is that experience that over time, can lead to the creation of new house concert hosts and series. It’s a wonderful alternative for those of us struggling to build an audience, and those of us supplementing our income with bar and restaurant gigs. There’s not a thing wrong with that….

Thanks for reading. I get to do this all over again on the weekend of March 22nd-24th, so it’s time for me to head to my car dealership, and have the oil changed in my faithful Subaru, and give it a quick look over to make sure all is good to go for another venture on those “twisted turns and straightaways, where lonely nights turn into lonelier days”. After my Buffalo area gigs this St. Patrick’s Day weekend, and next Thursday when I host Nickel City Sessions, I’ll see you soon in Ohio, and Michigan…..

Sept./Oct. 2018 Newsletter 





Greetings!!!!
(Davey O. photo credit - Aaron Winters)
Welcome to the September/October 2018 edition of “O”vertones. It’s good to be back in touch with you. From observations during my walks around the ponds near my home, change is in the air.  I see it in the formation of the clouds, the absence of certain birds due to migration, I hear it in the breezes that rustle the drying leaves, and as the sun sets earlier and earlier, I see it in the shortening of these days. It won’t be long until my 6:30 am walks with our dog Addison are greeted with darkness, and a daily exchange of “good morning” with the high school students waiting for their bus on the corner across from our home. The start of football season, baseball playoffs, and hockey season are surely not far behind. Putting away patio furniture, and breaking out the clothing best suited for colder months will soon be inevitable in these parts…..
With all of that said, July and August were amazing months for touring and adventure, seeing old friends, and making a few ones, especially in what turned out to be an especially busy August that totalled 17 shows! It was one where I not only performed in a yurt for the first time – I also slept in one for the first time as well. The location was Parsonsfield, a small town in a fairly remote part of Maine, and just a mere 4 miles across the border from New Hampshire. In addition to performing for the attendees of a mountain bike festival, I was treated to a lobster and mussel bake, a variety of craft beer, and all the trimmings! The hospitality was simply amazing, and meeting and conversing with the festival attendees who came in from various parts of the world was uplifting, and connective. As I finally retired for the night, the sound of the rain hitting the roof of the yurt provided a soothing rhythm that under normal circumstances, would have lulled me fast asleep, but could not, unfortunately, drown out the snoring of one of my yurt mates. Perhaps a set of earplugs would have remedied that! I'll need to make a note to pack those for the next time.






There’s lots of good things coming up in my little ol' world over the next two months, including first time visits to Minnesota, and South Dakota, returns to Michigan, West Virginia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, as well as various parts of Massachusetts, including a date at one of my favorite venues - Luthier's Co-op, located in the beautiful Berkshire Mountains in the western part of that state, a house concert that will be hosted by my brother Ken and his wife Judy at their home near Boston, and I am honored to have been selected to kick off the stellar lineup for the 2018 Joe Davies Folk Festival in Middleborough, MA - bright and early (for a musician, anyway) at 10:30 am on September 15th. You can view all of these good things that are happening, and check to see if I’m coming your way, by simply visiting my website, https://www.daveyo.com/tour  These next two months will certainly be ones of making many more memories in the scrapbook of my mind!
My songwriter’s series, “Nickel City Sessions” rolls right along in September and October, with another pair of top notch singer/songwriter lineups on tap (please click on their names to visit their respective websites!). Joining us in September will be two of my favorite locally based songwriters – Nick Kody, and Maria Sebastian, along with Eric Lee, who will coming in from western MA for this date. You might recognize Eric’s name from the liner notes of my latest CD, “A Bright Horizon Line”, as he contributed wonderful parts on both mandolin, and fiddle to several songs. Eric is also a member of the touring band of legendary folk singer/songwriter, Eric Andersen. In October, I am delighted to welcome three artists who are well respected within the folk community who I have come to know through my attendance at the NERFA Conference these past 7 years. Joining us on October 18th will be 2011 Kerrville New Folk Winner, Louise Mosrie, from Massachusetts, 2001 Kerrville New Folk Finalist, Rob Lytle, and from Greenville, SC, Falcon Ridge Folk Festival Emerging Artists, Christine Stay and Aidan Quinn - a wonderful duo AKA, Friction Farm. And more good news – beginning in September, no more car show in Akron to interfere with parking/attendance!!! If you live in WNY and are interested in attending, set your GPS to – “83 Main Street, Akron, NY”. Third Thursday of the month at Nickel City Arts.   
I have already started booking the 2019 season of Nickel City Sessions, and we already have some incredible artists confirmed. You can learn more about Nickel City Sessions, and “like” our page right here -  https://www.facebook.com/Nickel-City-Sessions-1537538846300980/  Nickel City Arts owner Mark Buell and I look forward to seeing you, as we grow and curate this much needed folk music series!!!
If you’re a fan of my music, and would like information on hosting me for a house concert in 2019, please feel free to email me at booking@daveyo.com I will gladly go through the details on how we can cooperatively present a house concert in your living room, or backyard for you and your guests. As the saying goes, "have guitar, will travel".....
As we transition into another season, I wish you crisp autumn days, walks with your favorite person, or pet, with both of you wearing your favorite sweater, or spending a chilly evening gathered around the warmth of a campfire! I am always grateful to be of service to you in my performances, and most of all, I am grateful for your continued support.
In peace, and with kindness……
Davey O.
*A gentle reminder to always call the venue before leaving for the show to make certain there are no cancellations due to weather, accidents, or other unforeseen circumstances.

Contact - is anybody out there listening? 

I willfully admit - over the last 7 years or so, I have been guilty of surrendering countless hours of valuable time that I will never get back, to the mind numbing addiction of social media. It is unfortunately - a necessary evil of what I do in my line of work as a touring songwriter. Having what is often referred to as a “web presence” is deemed as “important” to building one’s career, and fan base, so you go along, play the game, and by the time you realize it, you've been sucked into the debates, the arguments, the sharing of all things in your life - good, bad, or indifferent - which in addition to posting your righteous opinion on every topic under the sun, eventually leads to the inclusion of photos of what you just ate for breakfast, newly acquired possessions, badly taken selfies, family vacations, and of course, your pet(s) - (sigh…..guilty as charged - on ALL counts!).

But perhaps it was a weekend of recent birding treks Sheila and I embarked on that finally hit me hard enough to make me realize that there is so much more to experiencing the world we live in, by getting out and interacting with other people - often complete strangers - and with the other creatures that inhabit this planet. While I experience a lot of one-on-one, human interaction in my work touring around the country, and playing my music, it’s been a welcome change to have those interactions in a different arena.

I guess that’s the deal – at some point you must get up off your ass, get out there and have the conversation – face to face, and in your community. Holding the meme of a protest sign up on your social media page might raise some awareness, but does little if you don’t actually get out on the street and hold it high, even if you’re alone in doing so. Bitching about the elected officials in your local, state, or federal government, without exercising your right to vote, turn those complaints - valid as they may be - into nothing but empty cries emanating from a silenced voice. Putting a donation button for a charitable cause on your birthday post may be a sign of your compassion for others, but from my personal experience, it isn’t quite the same as volunteering your time and efforts for that cause. Talking about your favorite bands and their albums sure is nice, but it doesn’t mean much if you’re not willing to buy the ticket, gather a few friends, go to the concert, and buy the CD. This action is of utmost importance when applied locally.

Who knows? You just might become a respected voice, or a catalyst for change by running for a local government office. You may actually find something new that you can become passionate about, whether it’s supporting a cause or a movement, a band or solo musician, participating in an art class, a creative writing workshop, an open mic where you can finally summon the courage to publicly read some of that poetry you’ve been secretly writing all these years, a group that meets once a month to discuss books they’ve been reading, a song circle or jam session to get out that music that’s been hiding inside of YOU, and the walls of an office cubicle for all of this time. Right there, in your zip code, where it has been all along.  And if it doesn't turn out the way you expected?  At the very least, you tried to engage in the experience!

Instead of posting pictures of your life events on Facebook (as I often do!), maybe it’s time to contact one of those friends you haven’t seen in a while, set up a time to meet for coffee, to share and discuss those photographs, and talk about what is going on in your lives, IN PERSON. Shake hands, and hug each other when you say hello, and in parting. Contact is, and should be - much more than messages sent electronically, and contacts - in the plural sense - need to be more than a falsely inflated number of how many “friends” you have collected on your social media pages, or in the address book(s) of your email server, and smart phone.

Yeah, I realize that I might have come across as preachy in parts of this blog, and I apologize if I have. But in the humble opinion of this lowly songwriter, wealth comes not from accumulation of money, or possessions, but from the relationships, and experiences we gather along the way. That, my friends - is where the true treasure is hidden……  
     

April 2018 Newsletter 

Greetings!!!!

Welcome to the April 2018 edition of “O”vertones, and welcome to the new subscribers to the newsletter. No April Fools jokes here – just everything you need to know about my travels, musings, and all things Davey O.!!!

March in reverse -

The month of March turned out to be so very rewarding, and for several reasons. Each and every date – particularly the ones where I was able to perform my material – satisfied in ways that often defy words. It was a period of time when my travels allowed me to reconnect with old friends and contemporaries, to experience the relief of finally kicking off a new songwriter’s series (may I add, in successful fashion!!!), and to be of service to a wonderful nature conservancy in Central New York by performing for their concert series, which in turn raised much needed funds, and its membership base. All good things to look back on as I transition into another busy 30 days, sure to fly by in a proverbial blink of an eye.

Nickel City Sessions -

Well, on Friday, March 23rd, the big day of kicking off Nickel City Sessions, my new songwriter’s series finally arrived. Of course, being super organized, and wanting everything to go as smoothly as possible - I was the first performer to arrive at Nickel City Frets, the venue at which the series is held. Owner Mark Buell was there to greet me, and we engaged in small talk between trips to my car to bring in my gear. Most of it centered around a shared, nervous anxiety regarding attendance. I think Mark was more nervous than I, because I have reached a point of little to no expectations. Sometimes, I have found that it’s just best to let things be what they are, and live with the results. That is by no means an endorsement for laziness! That said, I did tell Mark that while I didn’t expect us to have only 5 people in attendance, I also didn’t expect a sold out house either. We landed somewhere in between, with about 25 people in attendance which included a few family members/spouses in addition to paid attendees.


Overall, it was a success in my book for several reasons. 1.) It allowed an opportunity for 4 local songwriters to finally get to not only do a show together, but to also have the opportunity to hear each other perform, and spend some time catching up with each other as friends. If there is one drawback to being a musician, it’s in the fact that we’re all usually working on the same nights, be it locally or on tour, and rare are the occasions that we have the opportunity to get out and support each other. Performing together allowed that. 2.) By virtue of the attendance for its first installment, it’s clear that there is an appreciative audience for this type of show - and this genre of music, in Western New York. In conversation with the other local artists on the bill, it also became evident to me that this type of venue, along with having the opportunity to perform in this type of setting – an intimate, listening room environment – is sorely lacking for many non-touring songwriters in the area.  It is an unfortunate reality that many of us are relegated to performing three sets of covers in a bar or restaurant, or when we do get to perform our original material, it’s in a small coffeehouse, for tips, where a good portion of those in attendance are either students studying in front of their laptop with earbuds in, or people wrapping up an evening out with a post dinner coffee, dessert, and conversation. 3.) At some point during the first Nickel City Sessions, I realized that in addition to providing a listening room opportunity for local and touring artists, there is a greater function of this series, and that is to serve the audience by exposing them to artists they may be unfamiliar with. There is a joy in discovering new music that is not of the mainstream variety, and that is not to be taken lightly, IMHO. And lastly, 4.) This type of series ultimately helps to grow community. Not only between the participating musicians, but in the very act of gathering for these events, it allows audience and performers alike - to meet, and make new friends who share a common interest. To draw people to a venue, makes them aware of not only the venue, but the additional events presented there, and in kind, lends support to a small business/entrepreneur.

Happy Anniversary!

April 1st marked the one year anniversary of the release of my most recent CD, “A Bright Horizon Line”. It’s kind of hard to believe how quickly those 365 days have passed, but not a one of them has gone by without some thought of gratitude for those who backed the project via my Kickstarter campaign.  It should come as no surprise that I am often asked “what is the favorite album you’ve made?” This question is typically asked at the merch table at one of my shows, when a potential buyer is only able to purchase one of the three titles available, and is looking for my recommendation. I guess like children, they all have a special place, and should be loved equally, because each one acts as a chapter, marking a period of time in my life. And I suppose if listened to in chronological order, as an artist you hope each one reveals to the listener, an indication of even the smallest amount of growth as a songwriter, as a musician, and in the way you look at life and the world we live in. Ask any artist to answer in complete honesty, and in full disclosure – they will most likely pick the most recent work as the favorite in their catalog, because it’s the new toy that hasn’t lost its lustre yet. In the end, regardless of the medium, all one can do is create the best work they can, at that particular point in their life, with whatever material they have available to work with at the time. It is with that in mind, that I know another recording will be in the works in 2019. As for now, I will continue to tour in support of “ABHL”, writing new material, always on the quest to find that better song. In honor of the one year anniversary of “ABHL”, please feel free to listen to the album in its entirety at this link - https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL_OIw_eQu0ikjwMtM2q86ndAn4vaAtHTE



The survey says! (a call to action)…..
  


It’s been a while since I’ve done an online streaming show via Concert Window, but while watching my friend Lousie Mosrie do one recently, well….it got my wheels turning. So…. a few questions – would you be interested in tuning in from the comfort of your living room while I perform in the comfort of mine? If so, what’s a good day, as well as time of day? What would you like my set list to be comprised of? Covers? Newly written, unreleased material? An all request show? What kind of advance time frame do you need? A month’s notice, a couple of weeks? Would it be something that would interest you if I were to do these on a semi-regular basis?

Here’s a few of my thoughts, but I’d really appreciate your feedback!!!

Since I’m off on Sunday, April 22nd, perhaps a mid-afternoon (3 or 4 pm), one hour concert featuring 5 or 6 newly written songs, plus a few of my favorite cover songs. Pay what you want, with “reward” level tip donations of $15 receiving a choice of any one of the three CD’s  currently in my catalog (if you already own them, they make a lovely gift!), or any tip of $20 or more receiving a choice of a “Davey O.” long sleeved T, or baseball cap. Let me know your thoughts – If you’d like to spend a Sunday afternoon together, this would be a great opportunity for those of you who may have - for one reason or another – been unable to attend one of my shows.

The twisted turns and straightaways…..

In April, I will be hitting the road in earnest, right from the first weekend, sprinkling a handful of home dates in between, and finishing the month smack dab in my own area code. Some new adventures await me, as I will be performing for the first time in the states of Alabama and North Carolina. The ratio of the type of venues I’m performing at this month is also quite pleasing based on the fact that out of the 12 dates on my calendar, 10 of them are at venues where I will be performing my music at listening rooms, coffeehouses, concert clubs, and a healthy dose of house concerts. All told, I’ll be seeing old friends, and making new ones, both near and far, and as it should be - brought together by the gift of music, with hopes that this becomes my new normal….  

Looking forward to warmer days ahead! As always, you can visit my website, www.daveyo.com/tour to view my full calendar, allowing you to plan your schedule accordingly

Wishing you all the best in everything, and always,
Davey O.

March 2018 Newsletter! 

 
Greetings!!!!

Welcome to the March 2018 edition of “O”vertones, to all of the new subscribers to the newsletter, and to this new month, which has – at least in these parts – arrived like a proverbial lion in the form of a Noreaster snowstorm which dumped 8 inches and up, of heavy, wet snow in my region. Since the calendar has not officially marked the arrival of spring, I guess we have no alternative but to roll with it, which is something we do quite well in Western New York! By the time I left for work, the main roads were clear, and my trusty Subaru handled the morning commute with its usual efficiency.  

February redux -

Not a cancellation was to be seen in the month of February, despite some tricky weather conditions en route to both of my two road dates. Snow accompanied me along most of my drive to Oxford, NY, and with about 40 minutes left until arrival at the venue, I had an experience which definitely left a lump in my throat. As I drove slowly over the crest of a hill on one of the rural, unpaved roads, I looked down to the bottom to see a semi in the opposite lane – with its 4-way flashers on, clearly in the process of shifting through its gears, and slowly making its way up from the bottom of this 45 degree incline. That wasn’t the scary part. The scary part was seeing oncoming cars in my lane, at the bottom of said hill, attempting to pass the truck. So, I put my foot on the brake, and due to the combination of the angle of the hill, and the snow covered road, I steadily skidded downward, fearing that I would not stop in time to avoid a collision with the first vehicle in the line of cars attempting to pass. Eventually, the cars in my lane saw me approaching, managed to pull off the road into a driveway, and my car finally came to a stop right next to the semi. Needless to say, I was not only relieved, but I’d be willing to bet that my complexion may have been similar to that of someone who had just seen a ghost! 

Following the intimately attended show at 6 on the Square with my co-bill partner Kyle Hancharick, we, along with Kyle’s mom, and a few volunteers, met for a gathering at the home of our wonderful hosts David & Mary El Emerson, where drinks, snacks, and conversation flowed until we retired close to the midnight hour. The following morning, David & Mary El kindly treated me to a late breakfast/lunch prior to my departure to Rochester for my show with Alex Creamer that evening. With temps in the high 30’s and a light rain falling, I hopefully anticipated a much smoother commute to the Rochester area. That was until I exited I-81. Shortly after entering I-490 towards Rochester, a steady snowfall began, which continued through the entirety of our show, and on my commute home afterwards. Watching the falling snow through the windows of New Roots Coffeehouse prompted me to add a newly written song to my set list, “A New Season”, which I had completed a few days earlier, when it seemed like the announcement from the groundhog a week earlier was indeed accurate in its prediction that this winter would surely see another six weeks. Jeff Estes, a Binghamton, NY resident, ardent music supporter, and mutual friend of Alex and myself – was in attendance, capturing my performance of this new song, and posting it to You Tube for your enjoyment - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s_lrkysfXWk



One additional experience to recount from last month (see above photo), and what ended up as the highlight, involved an opportunity where I was invited by Susan Winnie to surprise her father Hank by attending his 80th birthday party, as well as to perform a house concert for him, and his family. A little over a year ago, Susan and Hank attended one of my gigs at a local restaurant, and kindly purchased a CD. And over the course of this past year, I would see them on the occasions when they attended one of my shows. They continued showing their support right up to my current release, and have become - dare I say – “fans” of my music. Even with the release of “A Bright Horizon Line” being less than a year ago, Susan has joked with me on several occasions that I need to record a new CD soon, because all Hank plays in the car are the three CD titles of mine that he owns. Hearing this kind of praise always makes me feel (not necessarily in order); proud of my work, gratefully humbled, and mostly embarrassed in a shy, “aw shucks” kind of way. Thank you Susan for the invitation, and Hank – it was an honor to help you celebrate 80 years of life.  I wish you, as they say in Poland – “Sto lat” (one hundred years!)

It’s a small world after all…..

Yes, at times it truly is. I cannot tell you the amount of times when I have played a show, and regardless of location, someone has approached me to tell me they’re originally from Buffalo, or that we have a common friend, etc…. At the house concert/80th birthday party for Hank, I finished my first set of music with my song “Ev’ry Single Day” – one that was written to honor the work ethic of my father after he passed away in 2010. I always tell pretty much the same story prior to performing the song, in which I talk about my father’s upbringing, how he and my mother eventually purchased a house in the Buffalo area, and I also touch on my dad’s employment for 25 years as a janitor at a bakery that made Wonder Bread. During my break, I was approached by one of the people attending the party, who introduced himself, and went on to tell me that he too, was employed at that same bakery. After several minutes of conversation, of showing him photos of my dad on my phone, and of my brother (who also worked there for a time) we put all the pieces together, and had some spirited conversation reminiscing about those days. Florian Mendel – thank you for allowing me to add one more stitch to the fabric I have hoped to weave with my work.

Answering the call…..

As mentioned in the February newsletter, while I was under the weather with some type of bug, I suddenly became a conduit for ideas, and new songs were coming along at a much faster than normal pace (at least for me). Over the past month or so, I have finished six new songs (my typical rate of productivity finds me writing that amount over a 6-8 month period!), including two that could be considered “protest” or “political” in content - a subject matter that is very rare for me to touch upon, but considering what makes up most of the “news of the day”, these two needed to be written. Whether these new songs will make it on to a recording, into my live set list, or not - remains to be seen. But the fact that I’ve been able to realize these pieces of creative work to their current state of completion is something I will not take lightly, or for granted - for a dry spell could easily be around the bend. And in a few instances, when the business of booking shows was to be the order of the day - answering the call of the muse turned out to be the much better choice. 
  
I think I might have heard the highway calling…..

Not unlike the weather that has greeted us here in the Northeast, my schedule for the month of March also arrives like a lion, with 6 dates over the next 8 days, 4 of them tour dates split between parts of PA, and NJ. It will certainly be a month filled with highlights as I look forward to seeing some old friends in these travels, and to finally kick off my once-a-month songwriter series, Nickel City Sessions at Nickel City Frets in Akron, NY on Friday, March 23rd. NCF owner Mark Buell and I are anticipating a good turnout for this inaugural show, which includes three local favorites – MaryBeth King, Chris Squier, and Tina Marie Williams. For my locally based newsletter subscribers - your support of this series will be greatly appreciated, as we hope to grow a desperately needed Folk/Roots/singer songwriter scene in the region!!! 

Since I have virtually no presence of traditional Irish music in my repertoire, I will once again be taking off from performing on the weekend of St. Patrick’s Day. On that day, I will gladly take a seat on a barstool, with a pint o’ Guinness in hand, and participate as an audience member. Slainte! 

That should tie things up nicely for this month! As always, you can visit my website, www.daveyo.com/tour to view my full calendar, allowing you to plan your schedule accordingly.

I close by borrowing a signature used in the emails of my friend Tracey Delfino - 

In kindness,
Davey O.

December "Year End" Newsletter 

Greetings!!!!
Welcome to the December, “year end” edition of “O”vertones for 2017!!!  It is with a grateful heart that I extend a sincere “THANK YOU” to everyone who helped to make 2017 a fantastic year, by supporting the new CD, “A Bright Horizon Line”, as well as all of my tour dates in the eight months since its release. 

As I look back, I am reminded that at this very time last year, I was nearing completion of my very first Kickstarter campaign, in a mad scramble to reach my goal, so that I could fully fund a new CD. As most of you know from reading my monthly musings – the campaign was a success, and I spent a late January weekend recording with Neale Eckstein in Sudbury, MA. “ABHL” came into the world on April 1st of this year, making its debut on the Folk DJ Charts in the Top 20 albums for that month. The CD also received critical acclaim from several publications – all of which is very important. But I will admit without apology, that finally achieving a long standing goal of receiving a review in No Depression Magazine – nonetheless a stellar one – was truly a highlight of my year.  The material on the new album seems to have connected with listeners in both live concert, and recorded format, and continues to receive airplay on Folk and Roots radio. As of this writing, “ABHL” has been included on the list of year end favorites by Chris Kocher, host of The Signal on WHRW in Binghamton, and was also included among the incredible-too-many-to-mention company of the album selections for No Depression Magazine’s Year End Readers Poll. More to come, hopefully….. 

As I alluded to in my November newsletter, I am currently “home for the holidays”, and well into the new year, performing locally for the most part, and less frequently until the roads are a bit clearer for safe travel. Although….. I did receive an offer the other day for a co-billed show in February at a venue in Oxford, NY, which is just outside of the Binghamton area, so I may be hitting the highway sooner than originally planned. Stay tuned for details….

On December 29th, I will make my 141st, and final live performance for 2017. I have covered so many miles, at a wide ranging variety of venues this past year – from bars and restaurants, to tasting rooms at wineries, distilleries, and breweries, to coffeehouses, concert clubs, listening rooms, house concerts, farmer’s markets, a streaming webcast, and showcase slots at a music conference. Making new friends, seeing dear and old ones, and experiencing so many of the landscapes that weave the fabric of this country – all result from a life in music, which fortunately connects me to so many people, and takes me to places that I believe no other career ever could, or with as much satisfaction. I awake each morning, deeply grateful for this journey. 

And, so it seems, that 2018 is shaping up to be another busy year in my little world of being a touring songwriter, with 61 dates already scheduled. Among these will be a greater number of house concerts, forays into new territory, returns to favorite haunts, and a newly minted songwriter’s series which I will be hosting in a monthly residency. More on that later in the newscast, but first, a recap….
 
Giving back…. 

On November 30th, I hosted my 3rd annual “Davey O. & Friends” concert to benefit The Food Bank of WNY.  With any project that needs to be nurtured and grown, tweaks are made along the way, and hopefully, those changes will lead to success in the form of incremental progress along the way. Among the tweaks made to this year’s event, were to change the show day to a Thursday from Sunday, an hour earlier start time from 8 pm to 7 pm, individual sets by the performing artists as opposed to an “in the round” format, and in an effort to make it more of an interactive event, we added a basket raffle, and a 50/50 raffle. 

When I reached out for donations to the basket raffle, I was overwhelmed by the incredible generosity displayed in the amount of donations that were made, many at the personal expense of the donors. Between the percentage of what was taken from the tickets, what was raised from the basket raffles, 50/50 draw, and a pair of generous donations from friends, I am delighted to announce that this year’s event raised slightly over $1,000, or over 6,000 meals for those in need the WNY area. This year’s event truly smashed the ceiling in terms of its success!!! 

Mark your calendars – the 4th annual “Davey O. & Friends” will be taking place on Thursday, November 29th at The Ninth Ward at Babeville, for the same cause, but with a new lineup, and perhaps another tweak or two! 

A bluebird takes up residence…..

At some point during this year, I was introduced by mutual friends to Mark Buell. Mark owns a storefront music lesson center, aptly named, Nickel City Frets. NCF, is located about 25 miles east of the city of Buffalo, in the quaint village of Akron, NY. In addition to offering lessons, Mark started presenting concerts featuring locally based Folk and acoustic music artists in the main room of the store, which, with its rocking chairs, sofas, and varied instruments as wall décor, has the intimate feel of performing in a house concert setting. 

Shortly after performing there for the first time in mid-November, Mark reached out to me for advice on ways in which he could grow the live music performance aspect of NCF, perhaps with some regularly scheduled events, such as workshops, a poetry reading night. It wasn’t long before I came up with the idea for a once a month, “songwriters in the round” series. Named “The Bluebird Sessions” in honor of The Bluebird Café - the famous singer songwriter venue located in Nashville, TN, I will be hosting these shows, which will take place beginning Friday, March 23rd, and will continue throughout the year on the third Thursday of each month. An early start time of 7:00 pm, along with an affordable cover of $10, and some of the best local and regional songwriting talent, should make this series something that will have local fans of the Contemporary and Traditional Folk, Americana, and singer songwriter genres marking their monthly calendar for.  Our goal is to provide a family friendly, alcohol-free, setting for music lovers of all ages to enjoy and discover new artists, to build this series into something that becomes a buzzed about “place to be”, and brings residents from Buffalo, as well as surrounding communities in to support both local, and touring artists, and most importantly - a small business and local venue!

Most of these shows will feature three additional solo artists, along with the occasional duo, and whenever possible, the split of the artists will be evenly gendered, including yours truly as host. Since announcing the series a couple of weeks ago, I have received numerous submissions from interested artists. Between those submissions, and reaching out to ones I know personally would be a good fit for the series, the response has been outstanding. A handful of available slots remain, and those who have already confirmed dates will make up what should prove to be a stellar lineup for this inaugural season!!! Among the confirmed artists include – Carolann Solebello, Debra Cowan, Eric Lee, Rob Lytle, Louise Mosrie, Jane Fallon, Rupert Wates, Jerry Falzone, Maria Sebastian, and Savannah King. Several of these artists are critically acclaimed songwriters, who have won awards for their work at festivals, as well as in major songwriting competitions. Google their names, and see why!!! 

The complete schedule (please mark your calendar if I am coming your way!!!), along with what remains for 2017, is available at – www.daveyo.com/tour  

At this time, I thank you once again for making 2017 a wonderful year in which to make music. We are at a time when gathering in community, and support for all the arts – is needed more than ever. May the light of expression which resides in those who use their voices, pen, or their paintbrush, pencil, or chisel to share their views of the world in which we live, never be dimmed. 

I can only hope that my songs have found a sympathetic reflection in your world, and have touched, and/or inspired you in some way.  With wishes for a Happy Holiday season, a Merry Christmas, and all the best in the coming year!!!!   

In gratitude - Davey O.

November 2017 Newsletter 





 Greetings!!!!

Welcome to the November edition of “O”vertones!!!  Thank you to everyone who has supported the new CD, “A Bright Horizon Line”, as well as all of my tour dates in support of this release over the past 7 months. I am grateful for every opportunity, for every venue that has provided a stage, for every artist that has shared a billing with me - whether it was a co-bill, me opening for them, or them opening for me, it has been a year of great adventure, wonderful memories, friendships made, and renewed.

That said, it is simply hard to believe that we are a mere two months away from the end of another year. It really does seem like time goes by more quickly as you get older, but I think it has more to do with how much activity you have in your life, and as you know from reading these monthly blogs, my months fly by via living one show to the next, connecting the dots from one week to the next. But now, it’s time to slow the train down just a little…..
 

There’s no place like home…. -

Said Dorothy, famously in “The Wizard of Oz”, and truer words may have never been spoken.  I have learned over the time I have spent as a touring songwriter, that since I don’t spend my winter “chasing the sun”, by touring in the south, and western U.S. during those months, it is best to stick close to “home sweet home” - as the picture spells out in Scrabble tiles. This became incredibly obvious to me last November, when I was forced to cancel the last date of a tour in western Michigan as I was commuting to it, with the visibility, and road conditions of a snowstorm progressively worsening, while witnessing several vehicles spun out into ditches at the roadside. Upon arriving home, I decided that my “touring year” would take place between the months of March through the end of October, and that between the months of November through February of the following year, I would still play live dates as often as possible (this is how I make my living after all!), but reduce the radius of travel to a driving distance of one hour or less from home. 

So, other than the upcoming NERFA Conference (which is like one, big family reunion for all of us in the Folk Music business) next week in Stamford, CT, all of my live performances will be for the most part - locally based for the next 5 months. Being at home also allows me to spend more quality time with Sheila, to be present on weekends, to enjoy time cooking together, put in some additional hours at my day job, to enjoy the upcoming holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas, as well as to enjoy the beauty of any falling snow from the warm and comfortable view through the sliding glass door in our kitchen!  

Not to worry – I will return to the highway in earnest come March 8th, 2018 – rested, recharged, and continuing to support “A Bright Horizon Line” for one more cycle. There will certainly be some time spent writing during this home stand, and perhaps some of the new material will be thrown into the mix, if only to prepare it for whatever new release I will need to consider recording in????

For the benefit of…..


Once again, in cooperation with The Ninth Ward at Babeville, I am presenting “Davey O. & Friends – A Benefit for the Food Bank of WNY”on Thursday, November 30th at 7:00 pm. The 2017 concert will feature yours truly, Grace Stumberg, and Bruce Wojick, two of my dear friends, both of whom are well respected, locally based songwritersThis will be the third annual installment of this benefit, and this year, it comes with some changes to the format. For starters, as opposed to the Nashville-style, “songwriters in the round” approach of the previous two years, each of the artists involved will be performing a separate solo set of their music. Secondly, instead of this simply being a concert where a portion of the ticket sales goes to the cause, I am in the process of organizing donations for a Chinese auction, which as of this writing, will include a gift basket of CD’s by local and regional artists, three separate gift certificates for self-defense courses donated by Riederer’s Kempo Self-Defense Studio, lesson certificates from Nickel City Frets, as well as a 50/50 raffle, and other gift baskets/items awaiting donation. In doing this, I want to create an atmosphere where this is more of an event, with hope for a better turnout, which will in turn result in more money raised for our local food bank!!! 

It is in the realization of knowing how fortunate I am to simply have a roof over my head, steady work, reliable transportation, a warm bed, and something to eat on a daily basis, that I am able to know the importance of giving back to the community, and to my fellow human beings who are truly in need. One does not need to be wealthy to participate in philanthropic work. You can give in an equally important fashion by volunteering your time. It is in that spirit of community, that the Food Bank of WNY has become the cause that I champion. 

If you reside in the Buffalo and WNY area (or outside of it!), all I ask is that you consider purchasing a ticket, even if you cannot attend. Tickets are only $10 for this event with proceeds going directly to the cause, and are available here. For each $1 raised, the Food Bank of WNY is able to provide six meals for those in need. As the primary hunger-relief organization in Western New York, they procure and distribute nutritious food and support to our hungry community members throughout Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, and Niagara counties, assisting as many as 135,000 individuals in any given month through 341 member agencies, including food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, youth programs, group homes and senior centers.

I thank you for reading, for following my monthly adventures, and for your support of my work as an independent music artist. At this time, I wish you a Happy and grateful Thanksgiving, surrounded in the love of family, and friends. 

With gratitude - Davey O.

"O"vertones - November 2016 Newsletter 

Welcome!!!

Hello once again as I welcome the new subscribers to “O”vertones, my monthly newsletter!!!  I also welcome the month of November, and the observance of Thanksgiving, as we find ourselves fully entrenched in the autumn season. October provided yet again, another great month of adventures for which I am truly grateful. It was definitely a month filled with more treats than tricks, as it was wonderful to get back to some of my favorite venues, to reconnect with some old friends (it was great to cross paths with my NERFA friend, fellow songwriter Lara Herscovitch and fellow NYS musicians, Driftwood in WV as we all had shows scheduled at the same venue, on the same weekend) in my travels, and to meet a whole lotta folks who became new fans of my music over the course of the month.  Particularly during the early part of October at a string of dates that included an incredible house concert hosted by Brian and Blair McCloskey at Folk at Foul Rift House Concerts in NJ, and on to a Saturday/Sunday of well received matinee shows at The Purple Fiddle in Thomas, WV.  The journey is definitely the reward!

Here is a link to video from an October 22nd show at Emmaus Road Café in Lancaster, PA

Kickstarter update …..

Last month, I began the process of signing up for Kickstarter, and started filling in the blanks (reward levels, goals, breakdown of costs, etc…) for what will become the campaign for my next CD, “A Bright Horizon Line”. I must admit – I was gently warned by a couple of my musician friends who have completed successful Kickstarter campaigns, that this would be a lot of hard work, and they were not kidding! While I’m no stranger to working hard on my music career, and have never shied away from a challenge, this is something that is a whole new world for me. I took the suggestion of looking at the pages of a few successful KS campaigns, to see what the goals were, to see how different artists set their reward levels, and for ways to make the campaign interesting to not just the fans of the artist, but to those who follow Kickstarter looking for new artists to support. One thing that stood out in most of the campaigns I reviewed was a professionally produced and edited video. The video aspect introduces the potential donor to the artist, provides some background info, and explains the goals and hopes that a successful campaign can provide the necessary push to not only reaching a new level of artistic achievement, but the hope that in doing so, another level of public visibility for that art is attained as well.

With that said, the next step is to produce a campaign video this month with a friend and award winning, locally based independent film maker, Scott Kurchak. My goal is to have this ready by the end of November, and to also get the Kickstarter page live, up and running by the end of the month. If not by then, definitely December.  I have received replies from several people via the newsletter who are excited to see this happen and have already pledged their intention to support this effort. I sincerely apologize for the delay, but I really want to do this correctly, and to make the best album possible for my fans, and as an artist. And as the title of one of my songs that will be on the new CD suggests, “In Its Own Time”…..   The Kickstarter project will be a daunting task added to the daily work of booking dates for next year, upcoming pre-production for the new CD, and playing out the rest of my 2016 dates. But if the Chicago Cubs can manage to win their first World Series in 108 years, I can tackle the tasks of a successful Kickstarter campaign!!!!

Live date schedule and a call to action for my Buffalo area friends!!!!

Each year, as the weather undoubtedly begins to turn for the worse, the radius of my live date and tour schedule gradually shrinks closer to home.  Aside from a trip down I-90 to Rochester, and a three day weekend tour that takes me back to various regions of Michigan this month, my shows will, for the most part, be based on the home front for the next two to three months.  

I do have one very special show in Buffalo this month that I am extending an invitation to all of the WNY are newsletter subscribers to support. If you attend this one show and do not come to see me perform again until 2017, I will not be upset in any way, shape or form. On Sunday, November 6th, I will be hosting the second annual “Davey O. & Friends – A Concert to Benefit The Food Bank of WNY”.  At this time of the year, with the season of Thanksgiving and Christmas upon us, need is felt more than ever. Hunger is something that affects 1 out of every 8 Americans (2015 statistics courtesy of www.feedingamerica.org), and while many of us are fortunate to have steady employment, a roof over our heads, and three meals plus snacks on a daily basis, many of us are not as fortunate. For the second consecutive year, I have partnered with The Food Bank of WNY, and The Ninth Ward at Babeville to present this special “in the round” show featuring yours truly alongside three of the area’s best songwriters.  Joining me this year will be Savannah KingTom Stahl, and Sara ElizabethTickets are $15, with $5 from every ticket purchased going directly to The Food Bank of WNY!!!  While it might not look like much, consider that every $1 donation to The Food Bank is enough to generate six meals for those in need. The Food Bank of WNY is not limited in its reach to the Buffalo area. In fact, I discovered on a recent tour of their facility that they efficiently distribute it to 329 member agencies throughout Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, and Niagara counties, and their member agencies, in turn, give the food to our hungry neighbors. They additionally operate a variety of programs that fight hunger through nutrition education and the direct distribution of food to our most vulnerable community members. The inaugural 2015 edition of “Davey O. & Friends” raised enough money to generate 600 meals, but I’d like to double or triple that number this year. Since there is no Buffalo Bills game this Sunday, this is a perfect opportunity to support this very worthy cause. The music is secondary to the cause. We are happy to be there, and to perform for an audience.  And while it’s always best to perform for a full house, we’d love nothing more than a full house to in turn, generate some full bellies. Pre-sale tickets are available here, and will also be available at the door.  Your support for this date is greatly appreciated!

A gentle reminder to always call the venue before leaving for the show to make certain there are no cancellations due to weather, accidents, or other unforeseen circumstances.

I wish you all the best for a Happy Thanksgiving, and hope to see you in my travels soon!!!

Davey O.

 

Davey O. – “No Passengers” Tour dates – November 2016


FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 4TH, 2016

The River Pub

Davey O. - 6:00 PM

6004 Buffalo Avenue
Niagara Falls, NY 14304 
United States 
(716) 524-2429

Join me for Happy Hour at The River Pub!!!

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 5TH, 2016

The Irishman

Davey O. - 9:00 PM

5601 Main Street
Williamsville, NY 14221 
716-626-2670

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 6TH, 2016

The Ninth Ward at Babeville

Davey O. & Friends (w/Sara Elizabeth, Tom Stahl, & Savannah King) - a benefit for The Food Bank of WNY- 8:00 PM

341 Delaware Ave.
Buffalo, NY 14202 
716-852-3835

Price: $15.00 - $5 from each ticket goes directly to The Food Bank of WNY

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 10TH, 2016

Nietzsche's

Nietzsche's Folk Fest - set time 10:00 pm

248 Allen St
Buffalo, NY 14201 
(716)886-8539

Price: $5.00

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 10TH, 2016

Merge

Davey O. - 7:00 PM

439 Delaware Avenue
Buffalo, NY 14202 
716-882-4293

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 11TH, 2016

Buffalo Irish Center

Davey O. - 8:00 PM

245 Abbott Rd
Buffalo, NY 14220 
(716) 825-9535

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 12TH, 2016

Scotland Yard Pub

Davey O. - 7:00 PM

187 St. Paul Street
Rochester, NY 14604 
585-730-5030

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 17TH, 2016

The Robin Theatre

Davey O. w/special guest Jen Sygit - 7:00 PM

1105 South Washington Avenue
Lansing, MI 48910

Price: $10.00 advance/$15.00 door

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 18TH, 2016

Grass Lake House Concerts

Davey O. - 8:00 PM

Jackson, MI 49203

Price: $15.00

RSVP to Steve Trosin - steven.trosin@gmail.com

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 19TH, 2016

Cafe Sante

Davey O. - 8:00 PM

One Water Street
Boyne City, MI 49712 
(231) 582-8800

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 25TH, 2016

Tavern at Windsor Park

Davey O. - 8:30 pm

8444 Transit Rd.
Williamsville, NY 14221 
(716) 689-6600

The hardest part is worth it.... 

A couple of weeks back, as I prepared to leave for dates in NJ and WV, and I just finished putting my guitar, and overnight bag in my car, I walked back into the house from the garage to see our dog Addison looking at me, tail wagging as if she was saying, "Dad, you're off from work today, and you're spending the whole day with me until Mom gets home from work, right?". As I started heading toward the door, I received the saddest look I have ever seen her give, as she realized that the road was beckoning me once again, and I was leaving for the weekend.



It was at that moment I realized the most difficult part about touring is actually leaving the comfort of the familiar surroundings of home - the people, places, and the pets you love. It's easy to assume that driving is the most difficult part. It's not. For me it's a combination of boring, contemplative long hours, with some beautiful and interesting scenery to look at along the way. Performing the show, regardless of how tired I may be from the drive, is certainly not difficult. In fact, it's the easiest part of touring. So, not unlike painting a room, mowing the lawn, heading out for work in the morning - getting up off of your "good intentions" and starting the project is the hardest thing to do. But once you start, you're on your way, and barring any obstacles, you move along until completion. And once I leave and I'm on my way to the first show, I start to think about things related to the gig - hopes for a good turnout, hopes that I'll play and sing well, and hopes that those attending will want to purchase some of my CD's.

"Is it worth it?", is a question I am often asked. In fact, a U.S. Customs agent recently asked me that very question upon re-entering the States after taking my usual shortcut through Canada en route to dates in Michigan. I guess my first instinct is to just answer "yes". But in reality, everyone has their own definition of whether something is worth doing or not. In most instances, people ask this question in regards to the financial aspect of being a touring songwriter/musician. As in, "Do you make enough money to make it worth ALL of that TRAVEL?" Well, to be completely honest - while I'm certain the line of questioning might come from a well intentioned place of curiosity, is it really anyone's business whether it's "worth it", or how much money one makes? It seems to me that no one questions the worth of the experience of the person who spends a couple of thousand dollars to travel somewhere for a vacation, returning home with a phone full of pictures, a handful of memories, and a bag full of souvenirs. So if I, or any musician decides to head out on the road for a period of time, to return with a boat load of cash, perhaps slightly ahead, a little behind, or break even - if we have the resources to do it, our bills are paid, we're spreading some joy through our music and no one is getting hurt in the process, who business is it to question the validity of its worth?  

Over the course of a long period of time doing this, you do (hopefully) become more selective, and smarter about what types of engagements you accept, and you look at things from not only a financial aspect, but other logistical factors come into play as well. For example, I have accepted offers to open for major folk artists, where for some strange reason, there was no budget for an opening act, but the show was sold out, and it was an opportunity to build my fan base. It's a big risk to play a show where your pay for the 20-30 minute opening set you're going to perform is based on how many CD's you sell. I have only done this twice, once was a local show, the other provided routing to another date. But on both occassions, I sold almost $200 worth of CD's. So in the end, the gamble paid off.

So, is it "worth it" to leave home for several days, to travel all of those miles, sometimes uncertain of how many people you'll be performing for? For myself, and other independent artists, I would say it is. I guess if you're in a local cover band, it's hard to understand why anyone would get into their vehicle on weekends, or take a leave of absence from their day job to go on tour for a few weeks playing your original music. But from a grass roots, ground level - that's how a fan base is built. It is a challenge and adventure that not everyone is fit for. And the real reward comes in the experiences you have, the places you see, the people you meet, the friends you make, the relationships and bonds made along the way. It's worth seeing how people in another part of the country live, or how people in other countries live if you're fortunate enough to travel and tour overseas. It's worth sharing your gift. The money - it's just an incredible bonus to be able to make all or part of your living doing something you absolutely love. The life of a troubadour is one to continuously be grateful for. One where the reward is in the journey itself. And it is a journey that is while at times difficult, is most defintely "worth it".

A Davey O. history lesson and advice to my younger self..... 

Back in 1981, if someone had told my 18 year old, bass playing self that at the age of 34, I would put down the instrument that I picked up at age 13 and that I loved to play so much, in favor of becoming an acoustic guitar playing, harmonica-around-the-neck, gulp … Folk singer/songwriter, I would have laughed them straight out of the room. That was not the plan. The plan was to go to school for music, get a degree, put together a band, try to get signed, have a 5-10 year period of my life lived as a famous rock star, and perhaps acquiesce into a life of doing session work.

Some of the dream did happen – I played in several cover bands during college, but I always had the desire to play with better players, ones that possessed a higher level of musicianship and had as much drive and desire to “make it” as I did. To not simply be in a cover band, but to write our own material, record it, play as much as possible, tour, and hopefully sign a recording contract with a major label.

Right after graduation, I played in a cover/original band that I, along with two others members were plucked from to start a band called Babyblue with a popular local guitarist/songwriter. We stayed together for two years, splitting up after the second incarnation of the band just didn’t seem to click when two original members left after our development deal with Epic/CBS Records went for naught.  After that, I played bass in a very popular local Top 40 cover band called Mirror, Mirror, but that only lasted a few months because I kept telling the lead singer her that she was better than singing dead on versions of Alanah Myles, Melissa Etheridge, Fleetwood Mac and Stevie Nicks covers. Even though I was gainfully employed by this band (we played 3-4 nights a week, and I earned enough to not need a separate day job) my desire to be in an all original, signed band had me sending out my press kit to contacts I was making via subscriptions to music trade magazines and an acquaintance with Mike Varney, who had discovered several great unknown rock guitarists and was writing a column for Guitar Player magazine called “Spotlight”, which featured many of these unknowns, who he would often sign to his label, Shrapnel Records.  

Not long after the demise of Mirror, Mirror, I married a girl I met while attending college, and shortly afterwards while working as produce clerk at a local warehouse club, I ran into Tom Barone, who had been the booking agent for Babyblue. He informed me that a friend of his who was an A&R person for RCA/BMG Records recently signed a band called Big House, that they had fired their bass player and that they were holding auditions. He provided all of the contact info, I sent them my kit, received an audition and beat out 40 other bassists for the gig. Without notice, I had to quit my job as a produce clerk, leave my wife of 6 months, and move to Toronto. I truly thought I had “made it”. We toured as an opening act for several major Canadian hard rock bands, and then suddenly, one day 4 months later, I discovered that they were holding auditions behind my back to replace me.  I moved back home with my tail between my legs, and was grateful to be able to get my produce clerk job back.  I managed to also get a very short stint with another Toronto based band called Naro, which was fronted by Phil Naro, who was previously the lead vocalist for a four piece version of bassist Billy Sheehan’s (David Lee Roth, The Winery Dogs) band, Talas.  This didn't last long either as the commute to and from Canada for rehearsals and gigs did not bode well with the band having any kind of chemistry with me in it, and I was walking the fine line of losing my day job.

Fast forward through 7 years of playing bass in several cover bands, and a stint putting together my own original hard rock band…..  I finally got sick of it. I got sick of trying to keep everyone on the same page musically, of trying to get four individual schedules to line up for rehearsals and gigs, and I wanted to explore something different musically. I discovered the music that would come to be known as “Americana”, and I immersed my musical self into it ……

So, here I am – two months shy of 53 years of age, almost 5 years divorced, with seven studio recordings, a long list of accolades, conferences, opening act slots, thousands of miles, hundreds of cities, towns and villages seen, and probably closing in on a thousand shows under my belt. But you know what? It’s still not enough. I’m still unsatisfied. I still want to write THAT song. I still want the career. I want to hear one of my songs in a movie or on a T.V show. I want to be completely self-employed touring songwriter without the need to play cover gigs in bars and restaurants. The drive and the fire still burns, but I also wonder if in the bigger picture, any of that really matters. And I sometimes wonder why, after all of this time, I wasn’t simply satisfied to do what my siblings, friends, and many of my former band mates have done – settle down, find a good paying career, raise children, own a house, take vacations, maybe play in a cover band a couple of nights a month, and work towards those golden years.  I don’t think I’ll ever have a good answer for that question, but I do know this – I have a ton of great memories, acquaintances, and friends that I have made along the way, and in that regard, I have no regrets. I do, however, still suffer with visits from the voices of doubt.

Over the course of being a musician for well over 30 years, I have watched the business change from one where bands and artists were allowed time over the course of several albums to develop as artists, and build a following, to one where you have to be a hit right out of the gate. One where agents and managers would put in as much sweat equity as the artists did, because they believed in an artist and their work as much as the artist did. Now, an indie artist often has to wear the hats of booking agent, accountant, record company, travel agent, driver, and public relations person, in addition to writing songs, touring, and performing shows. Even in the fringe genres like Folk and Roots music, an artist now has to have all of the belief in oneself to sustain what they do, be the one who lays all of the groundwork, and starts to show financial evidence of having a promising/successful career before any manager or agent will add them to their roster. The money flow needs to be in place first – I know of very few independent artists who have a manager/agent relationship that is of a “start up” variety.

So, back in 1997, if I had a crystal ball, and could have given my 34 year old, song writing self, advice, I would have told myself to be prepared to wear all of those hats. I would have told myself to start writing songs earlier, to have developed the craft more seriously at an earlier age, to start attending conferences much sooner than 5 years ago, to have developed a network sooner, to have started touring extensively sooner. Maybe the career would be there by now, maybe it wouldn’t. But despite the occasional bouts with the dreaded “voices of doubt”, I know I’d still be trying. Because if there’s one piece of advice I’ve never tired of giving myself, it’s “don’t give up.”