Available languages: EnglishA singer, songwriter, and guitarist with a keen eye for the details of American life and a powerful and passionate performing style, Dave Alvin helped to kick-start the American roots rock scene in the early '80s with the band the Blasters, and has since gone on to a career as a solo performer, songwriter, producer, and sideman that's been as well respected as it is eclectic. Born and raised in Downey, California, Dave Alvin and his brother Phil Alvin were avid music fans since childhood, immersing themselves in vintage blues, country, and rockabilly sounds. Their passion led to them founding the Blasters, who played roots-inspired rock & roll with the energy and fire of punk rock, in 1979. With Dave as guitarist and principal songwriter, the Blasters became stars in Los Angeles and earned a devoted fan following internationally after the release of their self-titled 1981 album for Slash. Dave left the Blasters after their 1985 album, Hard Line, and launched his solo career with 1987's Every Night About This Time. Health problems sidelined Alvin for a spell, but after Dwight Yoakam scored a hit with Alvin's song "Long White Cadillac," he returned to action with 1991's Blue Blvd. He made a compelling acoustic effort with 1994's King of California, while he doubled down on his interest in traditional folk and rural blues with a pair of critically acclaimed releases, 1998's Blackjack David and 2000's Public Domain: Songs from the Wild Land. Through the 2000s, Alvin moved back and forth between electric and acoustic projects, and in 2014 he reunited with his brother Phil for Common Ground: Dave & Phil Alvin Play and Sing the Songs of Big Bill Broonzy. He documented another memorable collaboration with 2018's Downey to Lubbock, recorded with Jimmie Dale Gilmore. Born in Downey, California in 1955, Alvin was raised by a family of music fans, and as teenagers Dave and his older brother Phil immersed themselves in blues, rockabilly, and vintage country sounds, collecting rare records and attending nightclub performances by the likes of T-Bone Walker, Big Joe Turner, and Lee Allen. Like many fans, the Alvin brothers wanted to play music influenced by the sounds they loved, and in 1979 they formed the Blasters with fellow Downey residents Bill Bateman and John Bazz. Combining the revved-up energy of punk rock with an enthusiastic embrace of classic American sounds, the Blasters became a sensation in Los Angeles and won an enthusiastic cult following across the United States and Europe. However, the Blasters were unable to translate their critical respect and enthusiastic fan base into mainstream success, and in 1986 Dave left the band. Phil Alvin continued to front various lineups of the Blasters, and in 2002 Dave joined forces with Phil, Bill Bateman, and John Bazz for a short series of Blasters reunion shows. While playing with the Blasters, Alvin had already displayed a broad range of enthusiasms with two side projects, Chris D.'s literate goth-punk collective the Flesh Eaters and the Knitters, an acoustic ensemble in which Alvin performed vintage country and folk numbers with John Doe and Exene Cervenka of X. Shortly after leaving the Blasters, Alvin joined X as lead guitarist after the departure of Billy Zoom; however, Alvin amicably left the group to work on a solo project shortly after the recording sessions for their album See How We Are. Alvin's first solo album, entitled Romeo's Escape in the United States and Every Night About This Time in England, added a purer country influence along with a larger side portion of the blues; while the album was critically well received, it didn't fare well in the marketplace, and Alvin was dropped by his American record label, Columbia. Alvin suffered health problems that sidelined him for a while, except for a wild tour with friends Mojo Nixon and Country Dick Montana as the Pleasure Barons, which was described as "a Las Vegas revue from acts who aren't going to be asked to play Vegas." (A live album was released of a second Pleasure Barons tour in 1993.) In 1989, Dwight Yoakam scored a hit on the country charts with Alvin's song "Long White Cadillac," and Alvin used the royalties to start work on his second solo set, Blue Blvd. Released by the California-based roots-music label Hightone Records, Blue Blvd received enthusiastic reviews and sold well enough to reestablish Alvin as a significant artist in the roots rock scene. After releasing Museum of Heart in 1993, Alvin began to turn his attention to acoustic music with 1994's King of California, and over the next several years Alvin moved back and forth between hard-edged roots rock and more introspective acoustic material that still honored his influences (and allowed him to display a greater range as a vocalist). In 2000, Alvin recorded a collection of traditional folk and blues classics, Public Domain: Songs from the Wild Land, which earned him a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album. In 2004, Alvin signed with the upstart roots rock label Yep Roc Records, which released his album Ashgrove, a low-key but hard-edged set of blues and rock. It was followed in 2006 by West of the West and a year later by Live from Austin TX (a performance on Austin City Limits from 1999). He changed his approach a bit with Dave Alvin and the Guilty Women, which was issued by Yep Roc in 2009, by recording with five women, and it seemed to revitalize him. Eleven Eleven, Alvin's first solo studio album of original material in some seven years, appeared in 2011, again on Yep Roc. Eleven Eleven included a duet with Phil Alvin on the tune "What's Up with Your Brother?," and in 2014 Dave and Phil recorded a full album together for the first time since Dave left the Blasters; Common Ground: Dave Alvin & Phil Alvin Play and Sing the Songs of Big Bill Broonzy was a celebration of one of their first and strongest musical influences that found them both in strong form. The Alvin brothers supported Common Ground with a concert tour, and in 2015 Dave and Phil returned with a lively set of electric blues, Lost Time. In 2017, Dave joined forces with another roots music favorite, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, for a concert tour. The two were pleased with the results and went into the studio to cut a duo album, 2018's Downey to Lubbock. When not busy recording his own music, Alvin has also worked as a producer for several other roots-oriented acts, including Tom Russell, the Derailers, and Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys, and he has collaborated with rockabilly legend Sonny Burgess. As a sideman, Alvin has recorded sessions with the likes of Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Little Milton, Katy Moffatt, and Syd Straw.
© Mark Deming & Steve Leggett /TiVo
Mijn zoekopdracht verfijnen
Blues - Verschenen op 20 november 2020 | Yep Roc Records
Country - Verschenen op 16 juni 1998 | HighTone Records
Blues - Verschenen op 3 juni 2014 | Yep Roc Records
Rock - Verschenen op 1 mei 1994 | Craft Recordings
Folk - Verschenen op 16 juni 1998 | Shout!
Dave Alvin earned his crown as "the King of California" the hard way. A fourth-generation Californian, Alvin worked his way through various incarnations in order to arrive at this point. A longstanding monumental force in Los Angeles and California music, Alvin is essentially a blues player who writes and performs what he terms "American folk music." From Celtic and British folk tunes to early rock & roll, from classic blues and country & western to the Bakersfield sound, Alvin knows his stuff. Gleaning from all the genres, Alvin sits firmly upon his throne, creating a brand of music that is intelligent, insightful, and broad in scope. With Alvin at peace with his creative direction, Blackjack David picks up where King of California left off in 1994. More electric, Blackjack David almost rocks in places, as on "Abilene" and "New Highway." It ambles along nicely in other spots, too. The title cut, a traditional tune hundreds of years old, is given new life under the deft Alvin touch and a new arrangement. This effectively connects the past and the present in terms of Alvin and his place in musical history. "1968," written with fellow "405 Freeway Boy" Chris Gaffney, reveals a country twist. As interesting as anything either of them have written individually, the Tom Russell co-write "California Snow" is startling in its intensity. The final cut, "Tall Trees," is haunting and mysterious, displaying all of Alvin's power as a writer and communicator in a subtle fashion that demands attention. A Renaissance man, Dave Alvin continues to make and record music of integrity. © Jana Pendragon /TiVo
Rock - Verschenen op 20 augustus 1991 | HighTone Records
Rock - Verschenen op 20 september 1993 | HighTone Records
Folk - Verschenen op 1 mei 1994 | Shout!
From the time the Blasters began making waves on the California rock scene, the standard line always was that Dave Alvin was the group's great songwriter and Phil Alvin was the great singer. And when Dave launched his solo career in 1987, he was frequently saddled with the criticism that he wasn't much of a vocalist compared to his brother. While dozens of blues and roots rock performers have built solid careers without singing any better than Dave Alvin, it's true that on Romeo's Escape and Blue Blvd his rough, flinty voice lacked the natural grace and projection of Phil's work with the Blasters. But on 1994's King of California, Alvin recorded a few new songs alongside a stack of classics from his back catalog (and some well-chosen covers) with a small acoustic combo backing him up. Suddenly freed from having to shout over a high-powered rock band, Alvin proved on this release just how good of a vocalist he really was. While Alvin's natural instrument still shows certain limitations on King of California, when allowed to play with the nooks and crannies of his voice he reveals a subtle but dramatic sense of phrasing and a marvelous feel for the characters he created; he's still no Al Green, but as a musical storyteller he's mighty impressive. Of course, it helps that he has a bunch of superb songs to work with here, including "Barn Burning," "Fourth of July," "Border Radio," and "Little Honey," and that the great Greg Leisz is on hand to anchor the band, produce the sessions, and play marvelous slide guitar. While King of California was often lumped in with the then-fashionable unplugged craze, in retrospect it was the album where Dave Alvin's abilities as a performer began to catch up with his gifts as a songwriter, pointing the way for his later albums Blackjack David and Public Domain. © Mark Deming /TiVo