What is Reverend Gary Davis's background?
Reverend Gary Davis was a gospel and blues musician, known for his fingerstyle guitar playing and powerful singing. Born in South Carolina in 1896, he was blind from an early age, but that did not stop him from learning to play guitar and performing. He began his career as a gospel musician, but later incorporated elements of blues and ragtime into his music. He became a sought-after performer and teacher, influencing a generation of musicians with his unique style. He recorded several albums and performed at major festivals, but his career was interrupted by a period of homelessness and poverty. However, he continued to perform and record music until his death in 1972. His music continues to inspire and captivate audiences to this day.
What is the guitar style like?
As a lifelong learner on the guitar, Reverend Gary Davis took pride in his intuitive feel for the instrument. For example, he was proud of his ability to play fluently in the Key of F, which is unusual for fingerstyle guitar, due to the lack of availabile open strings compared to keys like E and C. His way of dancing along the fretboard attracted the younger generation guitarists surrounding him, so much so that he supported himself partly through guitar teaching in his later years. In songs such as Cocaine Blues, one can hear his way of making his single guitar sound like two or three playing at once, with perfectly executed basslines alongside intricate runs on the treble side.
What is Reverend Gary Davis's life story?
Reverend Gary Davis was a blind gospel and blues musician who rose to fame in the early 20th century, despite facing many obstacles in his life. Born in South Carolina in 1896, Davis lost his sight at a young age but that did not stop him from learning to play guitar and singing.
He began his career as a gospel musician, traveling to different churches and performing for congregations. His emotive singing style and fingerstyle guitar playing quickly made him a sought-after performer, and he began to gain a reputation as one of the most talented gospel musicians of his time.
However, Davis's life took a dramatic turn when he began to incorporate elements of blues and ragtime into his music. This controversial move caused him to lose many of his gospel gigs, and he found himself struggling to make a living. He was forced to resort to playing on street corners and in small bars, just to survive. During this difficult period, Davis faced many challenges, including homelessness and poverty. But despite the obstacles he faced, he never gave up on his passion for music. He continued to perform and record music, determined to make a name for himself in the blues and ragtime scene.
It wasn't until his later years when Davis began to gain recognition and record his music more prolifically. He began to perform at major music festivals and his music reached new audiences. His emotive singing style, virtuosic guitar playing and ability to adapt traditional gospel songs to his own style continues to inspire and captivate audiences to this day.
Despite his struggles, Davis's determination and passion for music paid off. He became a major influence on the blues and gospel scenes, and his music continues to be celebrated to this day. He passed away in 1972 but his legacy lives on through his music and the countless musicians he influenced. His story is one of resilience and determination, a true testament to the power of music to overcome any obstacle.