nail david down

Singer would take a 99-cent ham­burger over set­tling down any day

The Sentinel-Record - HER - Hot Springs - - Page Turners -

Singer-song­writer David David­son, who has per­formed his unique style of acous­tic rock with his band “nail­n­david­down” since early 2010, took a rather round­about mu­si­cal jour­ney to get where he is to­day – start­ing out as a band man­ager in St. Louis and serv­ing as lead singer for pre­vi­ous heavy metal bands.

“Mu­sic was al­ways some­thing I wanted to do, but I waited un­til I was in my 20s to re­ally get started,” David­son said, and has now de­cided “to give up hav­ing any other kind of ca­reer.”

A na­tive of Cal­i­for­nia, David­son, 35, moved to St. Louis when he was in his early teens and had his first foray into mu­sic when he was 20 and some friends who were in a rock band, High­bred Echo, asked for his help.

“They were need­ing some­one to get them book­ings and help get their mu­sic out there so I ba­si­cally started manag­ing their band,” he said.

The band broke up af­ter two years, but David­son’s in­ter­est was sparked and he “went out look­ing for an­other band” and soon put to­gether a heavy metal group called Frac­ture, with him as lead singer.

“That’s just what I first got into,” he said. “I was more in­ter­ested in mod­ern rock, but that was what they were do­ing.” The band stayed to­gether for five years, tour­ing all over the coun­try, even back to his old stomp­ing grounds in Cal­i­for­nia.

By the time the band broke up, David­son had started work­ing for a con­struc­tion com­pany which ul­ti­mately brought him to Hot Springs, where he has lived for the last nine years.

Af­ter mov­ing to Arkansas, he soon formed a new band with some friends from Malvern called “LbFace” (pro­nounced Pound Face), an­other heavy metal group, and they played to­gether “off and on” for about six years.

Mean­while, David­son had started play­ing gui­tar, not­ing, “I learned just by lis­ten­ing and watch­ing,” and writ­ing songs and soon be­gan do­ing solo acous­tic gigs with a dif­fer­ent sound from his heavy metal past.

“I started out only do­ing songs I had writ­ten. I didn’t start do­ing cov­ers un­til quite a bit later.”

Some of his mu­si­cian friends from other bands even­tu­ally came to him and they formed “nail­n­david­down,” pro­vid­ing him with a full band to per­form his acous­tic mu­sic, with James Crump on drums, Loy Gray on gui­tar, Joe Denty on lead gui­tar and Tris­ten Bruce on bass.

The band’s un­usual name came from “fam­ily and friends won­der­ing when I’m go­ing to set­tle down with the right girl. You know, an on­go­ing process to nail me down,” he said, laugh­ing.

Asked about his song writ­ing method, David­son said, “I just sit down and start play­ing and words just sort of come to me. I’ll be think­ing about per­sonal stuff or world events or things my friends are go­ing through.”

He said a lot of times he will write a song in the space of an hour. “Some of my best songs came re­ally fast. Just sort of fell to­gether. In fact, if a song takes me longer than a day it’s usu­ally not one I keep or stick with.” He noted he has about 60 orig­i­nals and now does about 50 cov­ers.

Artists he cov­ers, who were also in­flu­ences on his mu­sic, in­clude Match­box 20, the Goo Goo Dolls, Staind and Aaron Lewis’ solo work, clas­sic rock, and lately he has been get­ting into coun­try mu­sic artists like Johnny Cash and Wil­lie Nel­son.

“Not so much for the mu­sic as the lyrics,” he said. “Coun­try mu­sic has a strong story line like a book you’re read­ing and I’m try­ing to mix that in with my rock mu­sic.”

David­son said he is fo­cused solely on mu­sic now, not­ing, “I can al­ways go out and find some­where to play. You may not make a mil­lion dol­lars but you can make enough to eat and get by and get you to the next one.

“A lot of my friends have set­tled down and bought houses while I’m still eat­ing 99 cent cheese­burg­ers, but I’m happy. I’m do­ing what I al­ways wanted to do.”

Nail­n­david­down played re­cently at the Blue Moon Saloon, 135 Es­sex Park Place, and has gigs planned at Ra­zor­back Pizza and Cen­tral Park Fu­sion Cafe.

David David­son on the stage at Blue Moon Sa­loon.

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