Title: The Big Machine (2003)
Genre: Roots Rock-Pop
Label: Big Rock Records
CD Baby Link: http://cdbaby.com/cd/ddavenport/from/muzikman
iTunes Link: http://tinyurl.com/2l89ap
David Davenport released The Big Machine in 2003. The singer/songwriter/musician makes some valid points in his music. Davenport is not a religious man, he is spiritual, and he has some strong convictions for equal rights for all human beings regardless of race, creed or religion. You will hear those beliefs and feelings ring out clear and true throughout this release.
The machine the artist refers to is government, prejudice, and those guilty for practicing hate-filled ways of deception. Once negativity gathers a head of steam and everyone joins in for the ride it’s like a raging locomotive coming down the line, you simply cannot stop it.
The title track is perhaps the most prolific with words like “Don’t talk down to me, cuz you know, I‘ve already seen, and I don’t trust The Big Machine, no no don’t talk down to me.” That phrase alone said it all for me, it hit me right where it counts, and I instantly knew the broad scope of subjects he was covering with those words. David’s vocal style is soothing yet convincing, you know with absolution that he means every word he is singing.
Beyond the lyrics that hold meaning, the music is exceptional. David primarily plays the piano and organ but occasionally picks up the six-string and wails away, like on the rolling roots rocker “Hurt.” For a guy that dabbles with the frets he gets some good action. His counterpart Tom Wayne deserves the nod for a stellar performance with the electric guitar (tracks 1,2,4,5,) and some tasteful acoustic picking (tracks 1,2,3,5,6,9). All the contributors deserve plenty of credit for making David’s musical stories come to life.
If you enjoy sincere lyrics, roots rock with an AC feel but with enough oomph and guts comparative to a Dave Matthews song, this CD is your road to reckoning.
01. Transition Man
02. The Big Machine
03. The Hurt
04. When Will You Want?
05. Walk In The Woods
06. Lazy Susan7 Stepping Out Of Line
08. Cage Around My Soul
09. What Does It Take?
10. They’re Killing All Our Gods
Artist: David Davenport
Title: One Brother
Label: Big Rock
CD Baby Link: http://cdbaby.com/cd/ddavenport2/from/muzikman
iTunes Link: http://tinyurl.com/ywzhv8
David Davenport offers a straight down the line stripped down sound From The Big Machine on One Brother, his second release. This is a deeply emotive recording for Davenport. Nearly the entire album is his voice and a grand piano. Because of the prolific real life lyrics, the rhythmic sensibility, and a strong vocal presence, the kind you would be able to single out in a church choir, this works very well.
Davenport will remind you of some prominent artists such as Van Morrsion like on “The Power,” as he repeats in a toe tapping why “Preacher, preach!, heal my pain, his pockets are deep, his words…well you get the picture. David is not a supporter of religion, he believes in a spiritual path, connected to his fellow man and mother earth without the politics of religion to cloud his vision. What is ironic is that some of tracks sound like old spirituals like “All In” or “Sylvie,” when Billy Joel’s style came to mind more than once. It ends up being yet another thought provoking and moving experience track by track.
Everything this man creates is for a reason and you simply cannot ignore his message and the valid points that he makes in his music. The music is secondary to the words. The added bonus that we get from the artist is the contemporary rock and pop infused with the blues and R &B, and it is always good.
My hat is off to Mr. Davenport for taking such a radically different musical approach and making it work like magic. This kind of change proves the that this artist has what it takes and his music stands on its own merit whether it is just him and a piano or an entire band behind him, it does not matter, what you will hear is a quality recording.
Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-February 10, 2008
01. One Brother
03. The Dream
04. The Power
05. Big Hill Trail
06. Cabin Up North
07. Lake Elni Trail
08. All In
09. The Trail of Broken Dreams
10. Locomotive Blues
11. The Sweet Water Trail
14. Into The Mine
15. The Creekside Trail
16. Someone To Talk To
Review Magazine (The Big Machine): “…a showcase of songwriting talent, touching upon a cornucopia of different musical styles.”
“…Transition Man…is a solid foray into the type of spinning, exhilirating sound that define much of The Burdons earlier work.”
“…reinforced by a wall of harmonized Gospel-type backing vocals that send shivers directly up the spine.”
“One of the better albums I’ve heard this year”
Central IL Songwriters – Bob Broad (The Big Machine): You’re going to want to take David Davenport out for a cup of coffee, or maybe a beer. He’s just a very interesting guy, rarely saying the expected in his songs, often presenting a surprising and multi-layered point of view on the world. Songs on “The Big Machine” cover the spectrum from straight-out pop ballads and love songs to reggae, blues, and rock, always driven by Davenport’s stand-out singing and piano playing. My favorite five (out of a total of ten) tunes on this disk are: “Transition Man,” “The Hurt,” “Lazy Susan,” “What Does it Take?” and “They’re Killing All Our Gods.” The CD kicks off with the rocking “Transition Man.” The message is simple but interesting: the narrator speaks to a woman for whom he will “always be your friend/ but never your lover.” As with so many of Davenport’s songs, what makes this tune fly is his full-power piano playing and soaring vocals. But in these songs there’s always another layer or two. The music and singing are gutsy as hell, yet the lyrics are vulnerable and self-deprecating: “you always get your man/ I get the Dear John letter.” The bongos drive the song along at a bubbly clip, and the duet at the end of the song between Bill Porter’s screaming blues guitar and Davenport’s distorted, Doors-like organ bring it home. Whoa. It’s a complex, fun, touching song, and you’ll be humming the chorus to yourself afterwards. “The Hurt” reveals Davenport’s interest in deception, truth, guilt, sin, and redemption. Here again, the lyrics are introspective, confessional, and very intimate while the song cruises along with a driving piano- drum- bass-powered rhythm. You admire this guy for the power of his vocals in the first verse and then you’re blown away when he takes them an octave higher in the next. Bill Porter returns on this track with a classic wailing guitar solo to perfectly complement the tune’s painfully soul-baring lyrics. Alt-country adequately describes the musical feel of “Lazy Susan,” but oh, what a country song. It’s a loving, patient, and ruthless challenge to a woman who has submitted to the comfortingly vapid reassurances of organized religion. The speaker observes that “religion will not save you/ Susan, what you need is faith,” and makes clear how different those two things are: “Their words must be weak/ if they need to shout to be heard.” In this context Davenport’s church organ solo is wicked and hilarious. In contrast to commercial religion, the speaker urges Susan to follow the glimmers she feels of a yearning to seek truth for herself, and so to make it real. As on so many of the tracks on this CD, rich and gorgeous harmonies run throughout the choruses, and give the song a gospel inspirational feel. The relentless yet tuneful chugging of “What Does it Take?” brings us deep inside the psyche of someone who has given up on having his own life, ego, and identity. He’s always wishing to be someone and something else: “I wish, just for a day, that I could be a hero . . .” And the catchy chorus asks: “What does it take to want to want to be somebody else/ What does it take to want to give it up?” This deep yearning to understand people who are different is what makes Davenport’s songs so appealing, even when he has a critique of the characters and situations about which he sings. After a surprising, dream-like interlude, Erik Nelson’s achingly sweet and easy-flowing guitar solo takes the song out. The CD closes with characteristic Davenport gutsiness: a simple, soulful cry of rage against the murders of John Lennon and MLK, Jr. The gently lilting solo piano of “They’re Killing All Our Gods” accompanies a vocal and lyric that doesn’t settle for pity or sentimentality. “Time will say that they were wise men/ My heart will know they were loved.” The truth and wisdom these martyrs revealed in their lives and deaths allows them, with Davenport, to transcend the maudlin and find dignity and nobility in their stories. I find David Davenport’s singing awe-inspiring, his piano playing gorgeous. But perhaps even more appealing is the complex mixture of ballsy vulnerability, intellectual feeling, passion and compassion that comes through his lyrics. He seeks to understand where others might mock, judge, or wallow in cliché; I find that admirable and inviting. Combining that wisdom with the sheer luxurious fun of the music makes the collection a winner.