By Matt Hume, January 11 2018 —
Sometimes we need a reminder that live country music is alive and well in Calgary outside of the Stampede. Alberta’s own Dan Davidson is spending the weekend in Calgary for two shows with Brett Kissel on Jan. 13 and 14 at the the Deerfoot Inn. It’s a highly anticipated appearance for Alberta’s country fans, as the Jan. 13 show is already long sold-out.
Davidson’s accomplishments set a high bar for independent artists. A current finalist for the Edmonton Music Prize with six nominations in the upcoming 2017 Alberta Country Music Awards, Davidson already has a certified gold single and accolades galore. His newest release, Songs for Georgia, is a big draw for fans and he’s excited to take it across Canada.
“[Songs for Georgia is] finally a little collection of all the songs I’ve been working on and these are some of my favourites,” he says. “I have a daughter named Georgia, when she was really little that’s when I started writing a couple of these songs. She’s kinda been my little sidekick through it all — always wanting to sing all the words even though they’re always wrong.”
Songs for Georgia includes “Found,” which went gold in 2017 making Davidson one of the few independent Canadian artists to achieve top-chart recognition. Despite such significant accomplishments, Davidson takes them in humble stride.
“It’s so nice because I’m not really focusing on that stuff,” he says. “I do my best to tell myself that music isn’t football and you can’t win music and it’s all subjective. But when you do get those awards and nominations it’s cool to know that people are noticing. It’s good for the old ego.”
Davidson has only been in the country game for about two years. Prior to his work in the genre, Davidson was a longtime member of rock group Tupelo Honey, opening for Bon Jovi, Sam Roberts and Metric among many others. Davidson says being in Tupelo Honey at a time when label signings were waning primed him for his independent career. He says he never really anticipated his current path.
“For me I just started writing and a lot of it started coming out naturally country,” Davidson says. “When I was a 13-year-old kid playing rock music in my basement I probably never would have thought I would end up being a solo country musician.”
But that independent freedom is what allows for Davidson’s playful style, setting him apart from perceived country tropes. His music videos include exploring urban Japan or running around in a moose outfit.
“The one cool thing about being an independent musician is I really don’t have to answer to anyone,” he says. “We were looking at country videos and even still there’s just way too many riverbend, wheatfield, small town and dirt road videos. The world does not need to see that again. I want to do stuff that I think is cool even if it’s not what’s happening in the scene.”
The video for Davidson’s song “Say We Did,” for example, is a spoof of Star Trek.
“We were brainstorming what to do for our next video and we were watching [Star Trek: The Next Generation] in our studio and were like, ‘Wait a second — let’s just buy all those costumes,’ ” Davidson says. “We constructed the starship enterprise out of cardboard in my garage.”
Before Davidson’s tour with Brett Kissel kicks off, he wrapped up recording a new single called “Let’s Go There,” which he’s excited to share during the tour.
“It’s just sort of a fun song that slots right in with people who liked my music in the past,” he says “Kind of like ‘Found’ was a drunken proposal song — the word drunken is in there so it’s not a ballad.”
Davidson will perform in Calgary with Kissel at the Deerfoot Inn on Jan. 13 and 14. Tickets are available for the Jan. 14 show at the deerfootinn.com. Watch Davidson’s video for “Say We Did” below, and check out Songs for Georgia on Spotify and Apple Music.