Drew Davis Band
“I’ve just seen the best live act ever.”
That’s a mouthful, coming from one of the greatest entertainers in America, Neal McCoy, just after he’d heard these gifted young men sound-check as his opening act.
“They’ve got everything,” the multi-platinum superstar enthuses. “They’ve got the sound and the look. They move great onstage. They’re great musicians and great guys. There are lots of good bands out there, but you almost never see anyone connect with audiences like these guys. They’ve got all it takes.”
Drawn together by their love for country music, driven to write and perform at the highest level and then to push higher still, their friendship forged on stages from coast to coast and border to border, they were already on a rocket aimed at the stars.
Call it “road-tested country,” the product of talent, passion, grit, and experience. It animates every track of their debut album release, due out in spring of 2008, from the sexy saunter of “Dirty Blonde Bombshell” to the soaring romanticism of “Back There All the Time,” the heartbreak of “How Do I” to the exuberant collision of rock & roll and down-home country on “Turn It Up.”
Their song-writing skills are strong enough to have won the members a deal with Windswept Publishing before they’d hooked up with Lofton Creek. As players, they know how to hit a down-home groove with razor-sharp musical chops – small wonder, since the lineup includes a multiple Grammy nominee and a former university music professor.
As for putting on a show … Well, they’ve passed the Neal McCoy test. That’s all that needs to be said about that …
… except for this: It all becomes doubly amazing when you realize that the DDB has been together for only a little more than three years.
Flash back to 2003. Drew Davis is prowling restlessly around L.A. Fresh off the bus from Belton, Missouri, fifty miles south of Kansas City, he left a routine of opening shows for Roy Clark, and showed up in California with a soulful voice – half sandpaper, half songbird – and a dream. He then met Roger Malinowski
Roger Malinowski, whose keyboard wizardry had earned him a ticket to perform in Tokyo and an assignment as vocal and music director, not to mention a bunch of session bookings and several Grammy nominations. Though versed in every style, he settled easily onto the country foundation that Drew was laying down. Not long after that, that foundation strengthened with the arrival of …
Loren Ellis, who unlike Davis, the Chicago-born Malinowski, came to L.A. all the way from … Malibu. Though raised around the Hollywood aristocracy, this music school grad and guitar whiz somehow developed a jones for country music. When his band opened at a club for Davis, they met, talked, hit it off, and just like that Loren was onboard. But Loren was working with another group too, a bluegrass outfit with a Billboard Top 10 album to its credit and a bass player named …
Mo Levone, a young music professor at USC who played pretty much any kind of music you’d want. In fact, when Loren took Drew to hear him, Mo was performing at a Thai restaurant. But he obviously had country in his soul.
From this point, with the DDB lineup confirmed, their story races forward along parallel lines. One traces their almost ridiculously quick ascendance that began when they auditioned for the Colgate Country Showdown. That was actually Mo’s first gig with the band, yet just three months later they were awarded the national first prize. And then they were off, on an adventure that included several national television appearances, sets at major country music festivals Country Thunder and Country Stampede, and opening slots for Brooks & Dunn, Dierks Bentley, Craig Morgan, Tanya Tucker, SHeDAISY, and other giants.
But an even more important story was underway, during the long hours on the bus as they rode from one concert to the next. “We started out so differently from each other,” Davis explains. “But by going across the country, staying at each other’s family’s houses, and writing and playing, we’ve come to know everything about each other. That’s what ‘road-tested country’ is all about: It means that when I’m singing ‘How Do I,’ I can look back to Roger and know that he knows where I’m at. We support each other so much onstage and in life that it’s almost like we can read each other’s mind. And when we walk off that stage, and the crowd is still screaming for us, it’s like nothing can stop us.”
Produced by Eric Silver (Michelle Wright, Neal McCoy), their album debut captures the Drew Davis Band at a golden moment, their performance stronger than ever but their possibilities even more unlimited. What you hear on this CD is “road-tested country,” played to perfection. But they’re still going down that road, aimed somewhere far past the horizon. The wind is at their backs. They’re jamming into high gear. It’s clear: The Drew Davis Band is on this ride for the long haul.