Joshua Davis spent 20 years in the Lansing music scene with his band Steppin’ In It before moving on to Traverse City and a solo career. You may have seen him on WKAR-TV’s “Backstage Pass” program, or as a finalist on NBC’s “The Voice.” Davis speaks with WKAR's Scott Pohl about releasing a new live album at the Midwinter Singing Festival in East Lansing tonight.
On the song "Midnight Ghost": "This is something that I wrote while I was in Lansing at Michigan State. And yeah, it's a lot of fun to play live. It's kind of a powerhouse."
On recording a live album at Lansing's Robin Theatre: "There is something about a Lansing crowd. I think there's a hunger for real, you know, organic live music in that town."
On the song "Break of Day": “Break of Day is a song that that I put on Steppin’ In It record called “Simple Tools for Troubled Times.” Since then, I've rearranged it, and it kind of speaks to what Greg Brown calls the blandification of the nation where you see the same kind of restaurants and stores all across the country. It’s seems like people are happy with mediocrity as long as it’s consistent."
On the song "The Ghost of Richard Manuel": "Richard Manuel was a piano player and one of the singers for the band The Band, and when I was a kid, my mom loved The Band. She played their self-titled album over and over when I was really young and I didn't actually know about it. Then, when I was in high school, a friend of mine gave me the record on a CD and was told “check this out, I think you're really gonna love it.” I put it on, and I remember this very specifically, I was driving my car and I put it on and I knew every single word by heart and I wasn't sure how I knew every word. Later, I talked to my mom and realized that we listened to that a ton.
The Band has always been a huge influence of mine, the way that they meld a lot of different genres in American music together to form something that's uniquely their own but it's basically rock and roll, and the imagery in the themes that they write about.
Richard Manuel took his life in 1985, and he's always kind of a mysterious, tragic figure to me."
Hear a longer version of this interview, with three complete songs, on this episode of WKAR's Current State.