For more than 30 years David Wilcox has been writing songs and touching lives with his music. He has sold more than 750,000 compact discs and has been touring the country performing in venues all over. On Monday, Oct. 22, he’ll perform at Slates in Hallowell. To that end, he agreed to a telephone interview that found him calling from his Ashville, N.C., home talking about how things are going musically for him nowadays, as well as the show coming up at that popular eatery in central Maine.

Q: Well, to help me prepare for this interview, I was sent two CDs, “Open Hand” and “Reverie,” which presented you performing with an intimate ensemble of musicians — on “Open Hand” — and solo guitar and voice — on “Reverie.” When you come to Maine for your shows, will the concerts be presented in the former or the latter format?

Wilcox: I’m a solo.

Q: Is that your favorite way of presenting your music?

Wilcox: Well … I can make quicker turns. I can follow the audience better and it doesn’t suck up all the money on diesel fuel.

Q: How are things going for you now?

Wilcox: I’m riding a really fun time — it feels very blissful — and there’s some sort of ‘harvest time’ kind of feelings, because our son, Nate, is off to college, so that’s a job well done and we’re having more time to travel together, me and Nance. There are more gigs that are not just songs. The gigs are framed with a bigger purpose: there are colleges that I go to and places where I’m doing these custom songs for people. So, the music is in the kind of venues that I’m playing and the way that it’s coming across — it’s reflecting the fact that this music is really about stuff and not just words and notes. It really draws up reactions and good conversations, so it’s strong communication. I have gradually built a community around that because people come to expect that from the music.

Q: Have you played at Slates in Hallowell before?

Wilcox: I don’t think so — but sometimes I just forget because there’s a lot of gigs, but I don’t think I’ve been there before.

Q: Well, you are in for a treat — it is a venue quite conducive to your kind of music and performance style. I think you’ll enjoy yourself immensely.

Wilcox: That sounds wonderful. And we’re staying with a friend about 20 minutes away. If the weather’s good, we’re going to get to go sailing and maybe sleep a night or two on the boat … it’ll be fun.

Q: Now, is “Reverie”– which came out in 2010 — your latest album?

Wilcox: It’s the latest in a sort of CD form. There are a couple newer that are just download only.

Q: Is that the future?

Wilcox: I think so. It’s very satisfying — there’s a kind of a limbo that happens when you finish the work on a recording, but you don’t get any feedback because there’s all this other stuff that has to happen: the packaging and the distribution and the release date and then, finally, you start getting people commenting on it. But with download-only, you get the song — or the record — as good as you want it and you kind of hit ‘send’ and 10 minutes later you’re hearing people talk about your record. It’s really fun.

Q: Now, back to your show at Slates — you say it’s just going to be you and your guitar, right?

Wilcox: Well, Nance is traveling with me so we’ll be singing some harmonies … she’s singing harmony on most of my records, and there’s a lot of stuff that we do that I only sing with her because the harmonies just really make it.

Q: Is there anything you would like me to pass on to folks reading this.

Wilcox: I think that the unusual thing about my music is that it is really compelling lyrics that have settings and characters and continuity, and that’s really rare. There are a lot of lyrics that are just kind of journal writing and they set kind of an ambient emotion, but they don’t really lead you through an experience. A lot of my songs really have some stuff to work with that can change you. So, that and the fact that there’s never a set list, it’s always just sort of trusting that the audience will give you the input on where they are and where they need to go emotionally, and song by song I kind of wing it and make my way through the evening respecting the fact that we have to start where we are to get to where we’re going.

Lucky Clark has spent over four decades writing about good music and the people who make it. He can be reached at [email protected] if you have any questions, comments or suggestions.

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