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Guy Davis

Updating the rural blues tradition for the modern era, Guy Davis was among the most prominent ambassadors of African-American art and culture of his generation, additionally winning great acclaim for his work in the theater. The son of the noted actors, directors, and activists Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee, he was born in New York City on May 12, 1952; though raised in the city, Davis was frequently regaled with stories of Southern country life as a child, and over time became so enamored of the music of Blind Willie McTell, Skip James, Mississippi John Hurt, and others that he taught himself guitar. As a 13-year-old experiencing his first Buddy Guy concert, Davis' own fate as a bluesman was sealed, especially after he learned his distinctive fingerpicking style from a nine-fingered guitarist he met on a train traveling from Boston to New York some years later.

In 1978, Davis recorded his debut LP Dreams About Life, produced for the Folkways label with the assistance of the legendary Moses Asch; around the same time he also began pursuing a career as an actor, landing a recurring role on the daytime soap One Life to Live and also appearing in the 1984 hip-hop film Beat Street. Long seeking to combine his shared love of music and acting, in 1991 Davis finally found a project that fulfilled all of his ambitions -- Mulebone, the Broadway production of a Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes collaboration which included a score by Taj Mahal. Two years later, Davis earned rave reviews for his work in the title role of the off-Broadway production Robert Johnson: Trick the Devil, with his portrayal later winning the Blues Foundation's W.C. Handy "Keeping the Blues Alive" Award.

In 1994, Davis wrote and starred in the one-man show In Bed with the Blues: The Adventures of Fishy Waters, another blues-based off-Broadway drama which played to strong critical notice. A year later, he collaborated with his parents on Two Hah Hahs and a Homeboy, which combined original material with African-American folklore and history. Around the same time, he also composed the music for the PBS series The American Promise; his score for an earlier telefilm, To Be a Man, won an Emmy. During the fall of 1995, Davis returned to writing and performing in the acoustic country-blues tradition with renewed force, issuing the live LP Stomp Down Rider on the Red House label; a year later, he returned with Call Down the Thunder. You Don't Know My Mind followed in 1998 and was nominated for two W.C Handy Awards: Best Traditional Blues Album and Best Acoustic Blues Album. Davis himself was nominated for Best Acoustic Blues Artist. In early 2000, Davis issued Butt Naked Free. He spent much of 2001 contributing songs to tribute albums; "Soulful Wind" appeared on Labour of Love: The Music of Nick Lowe, "Some of These Days" on Down the Dirt Road: The Songs of Charley Patton, and "Sweetheart Like You" on Nod to Bob: An Artist's Tribute to Bob Dylan. Give in Kind, Davis' sixth album, followed in 2002.~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

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loriperkins3 2 1
The bio makes it sound like he's dead.
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Thinking about him, since his mom just died.
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ritchiec53
great stuff. The real deal!
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you can never ever go wrong with Guy.
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prudencerlop p
Love this!
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Love his syncopation with his guitar. I wished I had a Pay Day too.
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shutchen5
1st time I've heard Guy Davis-"Pay Day" is a song I associate with John Hurt but this was good and soulful!
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Love this damn song ... We are all just trying to find the road ...
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because7_8_9
he's great
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will be the best day of your life. however if you do not post this comment to at least 3 songs you will die in 2 days. now youve started reading this so dont stop. this is so scary put this on at least 5 songs in at least 143 minutes when if done press f6 and your lovers name will appear on the screen in big letters this is scary cuz it actually work
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burkify
This guy has chops. Nice and slow.
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I saw him at the Blind Willie McTell Festival in Thomson, GA on 05-19-2012. Talk about a commanding performance, during his cover of Sweetheart Like You, the crowd was drop-dead quiet. I'm pretty sure I've never seen that happen before.
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I love how he says Don't you... the first time. Perfect
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wiseabbey64
i love almost all music this is that s h i t muddy water baby
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a true American treasure.
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ishdog15
much respect for his soul and ability to express how the everyday life can still be a work of art
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Awesome, really digging this guy. Great guitar and banjo picking, gets my foot stomping every time
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blues is legit. Staring to explore new genres. hip hop has died,,,,
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Respect.
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letskeepinto u c h 1
my new favorite artist!
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Send concert info!!
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amazing acoustic artist!
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pierce.loria
Love that voice!
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Guy is the man. Best I've heard.
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I hope Guy Davis and The Carolina Chocolate Drops make contact with each other sometime.
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Old School
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Just saw him at commonground o n t h e h i l l . o r g in Westminster, Md. Wonderful, what a treat!

Peg
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Love Guy Davis gonna see him 1/16/09
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Guy Davis is not only one of the best modern blues artists, but he is one of the best solo artists to see live. He carries magic with him where he goes and it comes alive in his live performances . A true musician and performer.

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