Austin’s own Arkansas Dave released his self-titled debut album on April 20, 2018, and we can’t get enough his raw, blues-rock tunes that have us both tapping our toes and feeling all sorts of emotions. As I’ve mentioned many a time before, one of my favorite things about living in Live Music Capital of the world is discovering amazing local artists like him.
All Photographs by Jacqueline Scripps
It’s a romantic cliché to find an escape in music and the blues, but living that life is a different matter. Ask Arkansas Dave about growing up in a broken home, with fundamental Christianity on one side, and crippling drug-addiction on the other, and you can see in his eyes that this is no easy ride, and that at times music really was his only friend.
Determined to sort his life, Arkansas Dave enrolled in an audio engineering course at Media Tech in Austin, Texas and that’s where everything changed – the college was housed at that time in the famous Arlyn Studios, home to sessions from Willie Nelson, Neil Young and Ray Charles. Dave with his musical co-horts took the night shift at the studios – laying down tracks and learning the ropes.
A succession of bands followed, picking up a strong local following around Austin. Fast forward to present day and Dave has written the album he’s always wanted to create – a wide ranging blues-rock based record that tells the story of his life, but resonates with all of us.
Dave held a special show after celebrating the release of his self-titled debut album on Saturday, May 26 at Antone’s, a venue he’s frequented over the years. Check out a live video from the show below, a soulful yet grungy performance of his song “Think Too Much.”
The full album opens up with the lively song “Bad at Being Good,” the perfect entrance into the soundtrack of his story. Infectious, edgy, relatable, and frank, Arkansas Dave delivers an expressive narrative through his music, a feat that every artist hopes to achieve in their lifetime.
Being the Tom Waits fan girl I am, I was particularly interested and excited to hear his take on the song “Chocolate Jesus.” Among many others, I was immediately impressed by his dark, unique twist on the classic, including smooth yet eerie jazz bits that will make you feel like you’re walking down the streets of historic New Orleans.
Dropping Americana, rockabilly tunes reminiscent of outlaws and the Old West, Arkansas Dave has extraordinarily crafted a genre of his own, one that not enough words can describe. Between his rich vocals, energetic harmonies, and moving lyrics, his new album is bound to hook and reel you in an instant.
For more information on Arkansas Dave and where to catch his next show, visit https://arkansasdave.com, and be sure to check out his new album on Spotify below!
Leigh is a native Texan gone temporary New Yorker and now proud Austinite. Passions include but are not limited to music (both as a spectator and dabbler), traveling & cultural adventures, film & television, true crime, design (of the fashion, interior, and graphic sorts), and photographing & writing about all the aforementioned. Self-acclaimed coffee connoisseur & wino, cat aficionado, book worm, and nature junkie.