“You say you see no hope.
You say you see no reason we should dream…”
From Kerrville to Asheville with stop-offs at small & large stages in Austin, my wife, Sara, and I have been following David Wilcox since shortly after we met. Somewhere I have David’s first release — a 1987 cassette, called “The Nightwatchman” — as well as an audience recording from the Kerrville Folk Festival when we saw him there in the early 90s. Tonight, he performs at Austin’s One World Theatre and we’ll be there again.
“In this Darkness…”
Why the fascination with this particular singer-songwriter? What makes a fan?
David’s music transcends simple songwriting and his guitar work offers rich complexity as a beautiful backdrop for his lyrics. His stories tell of love and joy and sorrow, deeply emotional yet often whimsical in subject or tone. We continue to listen to David’s music because he continues to enchant and amaze us. Even in the dark hours of the soul alluded to above, his music offers hope, and, yes, can indeed help to “Show the Way.”
Cactus Cafe Request
A few years ago, we saw David perform at the Cactus Cafe, an intimate listening room in the UT Texas Union, perfectly suited to showcasing his type of music and performance style. During break time between sets, Sara spotted David lingering by the CD table in the lobby. She approached him, and he smiled, delighted to chat with a fan while relaxing between sets. He did roll his eyes just a little when she told him we’d been fans since those Kerrville Folk Festival days. Then, she got to the point: “I really love your deep and meaningful songs, but — could you play something shallow and funny next set?”
Well, he opened the second set by recounting the story about Sara’s request, cackling loudly, and adding, “Hmmm…’shallow and funny’?…my specialty!” then launched into “The Waffle House.”
David not only plays both types of songs — deep & meaningful and shallow & funny — but weaves those threads together with sharp imagery and creative analogies. In songs about old cars to hardware stores to juicy-ripe mangoes, he shines a light on the sublime in our everyday world. His music re-awakens our sense of wonder, delivering insight in a song, often starting from the simplest of images. A paint-can mishap in the kitchen, for instance, can serve to skewer our fascination with pop culture, while offering the simple yet profound guidance: “Leave It Like It Is.”
We last saw David perform in his home town of Asheville, North Carolina at the Altamont Theater. As part of his show, he devoted a song to what he calls, “Musical Medicine.” A volunteer audience member shared a deep emotional need, and David improvised a related song to promote emotional healing. It’s a powerful performance, pairing that individual’s pain with the shared song. That’s pretty much how we’ve always regarded David’s music — a sharing and a healing.
David Wilcox performs Thursday, Nov. 13, 2014 at the One World Theatre in Austin, Saturday the 15th at Dosey Doe’s Music Cafe in Conroe and Sunday the 16th at the Kessler Theater in Dallas.
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