Brew Davis is a songwriter raised in Nashville, Tennessee. He worked at the seminal bluegrass/Americana label Sugar Hill Records before wanderlust got the better of him and he moved to the Swiss Alps. He now lives in Asheville, NC where he writes and performs his own unique blend of "Brewgrass" music. He has played legendary venues like the Cat's Cradle, the Down Home, Douglas Corner Cafe and the Basement, received praise from Americana artists, Music City royalty, and members of the Grand Ole Opry. He has performed live on WNCW, the WDVX Blue Plate Special and stations across the Tarheel state, and his songs have been used on PBS shows, Amazon Prime and various documentary films. His self-titled debut album was #64 on WNCW's 2018 top 100.
MORE ABOUT BREW (IN HIS OWN WORDS)
When I was a kid, my dad’s office office was three doors down from the Bluebird Café but I never set foot in it, nor did I really KNOW Music City. There are two Nashvilles. The one of musicians, art and poetry, and the one of bankers, truck drivers, and real estate brokers.
I straddled that fence- living in a sleepy treelined neighborhood, swimming in the Harpeth River on hot August days, playing little league baseball.
But at the same time, some of my closest friends’ dads wrote hit songs, and that gave me a taste of the other Nashville. I took a 4th grade field trip to the County Music Hall of Fame (the dusky OLD one, not the shiny NEW one) and they let me sing an original song. It was as bad as you'd expect, but getting to do it stirred something in me.
I loved English class in school- reading good books, dissecting meaning, learning about poetic device, iambic pentameter- the nuts and bolts of good song writing.
MOST KIDS GO PUNK: I WENT HILLBILLY. My art teacher played Unleashed by the Nashville Bluegrass Band. Then came Sam Bush, Robert Earl Keen, and David Grisman. I met Doc at a show in Lenoir, NC and went to my first Merlefest. That was the beginning of the end, I was hooked. Lost in a world of Americana from which I’d never look back.
After college, I somehow landed a job at the seminal roots/bluegrass label Sugar Hill Records- met Dolly Parton, worked for industry legends Barry Poss and Bev Paul, got a gold record (I didn't deserve) for Nickel Creek's first album.
I picked up a guitar in my early 20s but didn’t do more than put finger to strings. Fifteen years later when my wife (who is an author), our daughter, and I were finishing an 18 month book tour driving through the Bighorns in Wyoming I blurted out, “when we get home I’m gonna write a song.” My wife says I blurt out a lot. But I think the voice came from my core, like I’d seen all the beauty we were traveling through and thought “God, I want to create, too.” And the road is a metaphor for life.
I had no idea what I was doing, but had a lot of music love to draw from. They say “write what you know” so that's what I did. What came out was “Soul in the Wood,” a loosely autobiographical song about the decline of furniture plants in North Carolina, since my granddad owned a furniture factory in Nashville. I was happy with how it turned out so I kept writing.
Charles Humphrey (Songs from the Road Band, Steep Canyon Rangers) was a trail running friend at the time and one day I screwed up the nerve to ask if he'd help me make a record. Not one to shy away from adventure, Charles said “sure, as long as we use my guys.” They say it’s not what you know but who. Charles introduced me to world class pickers and singers who played iwth the likes of Punch Brothers, the Steep Canyon Rangers, Songs from the Road, Fireside Collective, Peter Rowan’ and Maren Morris. Not least was Charlie Chamberlain, one of the best producers and guitar players in Nashville today.
“Americana” music has been called “Amerikinda” because it’s all over the place. I fully embrace that. My songs can be bluegrass, country, gospel, folk, even pop. I write what comes when it comes and I don’t discriminate. I write on the margins of life. That’s where the best ideas are anyway.
Having the chance to create art is a luxury and a gift. It is a joy to emulate my heroes- Guy Clark, Kacey Musgraves, Chris Stapleton, Tyler Childers, Doc Watson, Mississippi John Hurt, Gillian Welch, Tim O’Brien, Todd Snider, Darrell Scott, Buddy and Julie Miller, Townes Van Zandt. I've been influenced greatly by all of them. On my better days I think what I write can be listened to next to theirs.
I have loved my music adventure and am happy to have played venues like the Cat's Cradle, Douglas Corner Cafe, Steve's Guitars in Carbondale, CO, and live in studios for WNCW and WDVX's Blue Plate Special. I store up those memories.
And I hope I have the chance to make a lot more in the years to come.