"A beautiful album: excellent lyrics, a good variety in styles, moods, feels and high quality production."
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 I did that. 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 doing it.
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 from bands like Punch Brothers, the Steep Canyon Rangers, Songs from the Road, Fireside Collective, Peter Rowan’s outfit and Maren Morris's band. 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 have a day job and young kids and am happy to write on the margins of life. Sometimes that’s where the best ideas are anyway.
I don’t do drugs while I write, but I do get a “writer’s high” when I get down a good one. The satisfaction lasts for days. It is a gift to call myself an artist in the line of my musical heroes- Guy Clark, Patty Griffin, Mississippi John Hurt, Gillian Welch, Tim O’Brien, Todd Snider, Darrell Scott, Buddy and Julie Miller, Scott Miller, Townes Van Zandt, the list goes on and on to the sun.
I have loved my music adventures and am happy to have played venues like the Cat's Cradle, Douglas Corner Cafe, Steve's Guitars in Carbondale, as well as live in studios for WNCW and WDVX's Blue Plate Special. I store up those memories.
Art gets commoditized these days like everything else. But I fully believe good music stands alone on its own accord and that’s true whether people hear it or not. Maybe that’s what I tell myself because most of my songs aren’t out there yet. I’m just grateful to OWN a guitar and have time to play it unlike so many around the world who work their fingers to the bone or have to keep one on the trigger.
I think every time I play, the sound from my guitar and voice floats out, little remnants carrying on forever. I know that sounds kooky but I don’t care. Maybe one note’s helping the leaves fall off the trees in fall. Another could be blessing an old friend on her death bed, making the crossing over a little less painful. I've seen it in real time and buy into it.
Then again, maybe the songs are just helping me. If they’re doing any good at all, I’m happy- and grateful to be a part of the world, however briefly, in such a way.