Stan Davis Jane Davis photo

A little over a year ago, March 16, 2022, to be exact, I chatted with Stan Davis about a CD release show he was preparing to do in support of his new album at the time, “All They Know.” Well, this talented singer/songwriter/guitarist is set to do it all over again with his fourth full length album “Refuge,” which was recorded live at Frog Hollow Studio this year and is set to be released May 19. On May 20, he’ll be performing from 5:30-8:30 p.m. at van der Brew in Winthrop, and on the 23rd, he’ll be at the Turner Gazebo from 6:30-8 p.m. To that end, and after listening to an advance of the eight-song disc, I reached out to Davis, who was in Wayne, to find out more.

Q: Well, sir, shall we discuss your newest CD, “Refuge”?
Davis: Yes, good.

Q: That was a neat concept of recording it live like that, right in the studio.
Davis: Yeah, I mean, it really had a bunch of meaning for me. For me, music is always a conversation between people, and it’s not the same when you’re having a conversation with a microphone. And secondly, many of my friends have had this experience: when it’s just you and a microphone what you’re thinking is, “I better not make any mistakes!,” and, of course, once you’ve (thought) that you make mistakes (chuckle). But the other thing is, the whole theme of this suite of songs, and this is the first time I’ve ever done something that was really a connected suite of songs instead of just an assortment, … is finding our way out of the dark. And so it felt like if I didn’t do it with a live audience, it wasn’t going to be true to the ideas.

Q: That makes a lot of sense.
Davis: So anyway, doing it with a live audience the music was happening in the space between me and them, and the issue was not, “I better not make a mistake,” but “How can I participate in this conversation?” and that’s a whole different energy.

Q: How long did it take to do this?
Davis: We did the whole thing in an afternoon, and it was really a wonderful experience.

Q: Also, when you go out to support this, it’ll be very easy to do because this is how it was recorded, after all.
Davis: Exactly. The first album I did I had all kinds of great players on it, Pevar and everybody, and then people said, “Well, is that what you’re going to give us when you do a show? Are you going to bring Jeff Pevar with you?” Pevar was on the album because he recorded something at home, so I said, “Well, no.” And they said, “Well, we’re not interested in booking you based on this then!” So I just thought I really wanted to do it this way was because this is what I do — this is how I am, this is who I am. It’s about the interaction with the audience.


Q: That is so simple yet impactful — just you, a guitar and your songs.
Davis: When you’re doing storytelling, you have to be telling the story to somebody. You either have to imagine someone being in the room, any of us with any kind of theater training can do that, but it’s not the same. Can you give me your thoughts on these songs? They’re a real departure for me; they feel completely different than anything I’ve written before.

Q: Well, I think there’s a real human element and connection, very simple but profound at the same time. If that makes any sense.
Davis: Well, that’s what I’m going for. I don’t want people to have to work to listen to the songs. I know people whose songwriting is just beautiful, and yet I have to hear the song four or five times before I really understand it. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I’m more interested in, for example, John Prine’s work where you get it the first time.

Q: And we just lost him, I believe to COVID. That disease has had such an impact on the music scene in just a couple of years.
Davis: All this stuff grew out of the COVID experience. I mean, right at the beginning a lot of us had the privilege of being shut in so we could be safe, and we all had these big plans; I was going to write hundreds of songs, for example. But for a lot of us, including me, the isolation turned into writer’s block, and it was just about survival and trying to break that isolation we were feeling. It was a lonely time. And then, finally, I started writing about what was getting me through this, and that’s where all these songs came from. Some of them are the older songs that I rewrote at the end of that time and some of them are new. They all came out of that. That’s why they’re all connected; they’re really all about what leads us through the dark. The title track, “Refuge,” is probably the best example of that, but I think they all echo that theme. So it really came out of, not the first phase of COVID, but just out of how dark things have become.

Q: Could you elaborate on that?
Davis: It’s been isolation and the divisions in this country and a level of anxiety that people are feeling. I wanted to write some music, first to heal myself and then with the hope of healing other people. I think that’s what music can be. Bob Marley said, “When music hits you, you feel no pain!” That’s the kind of music I think we need right now, and that’s what I’m hoping to do.

Q: Is there anything, Stan that you’d like me to pass on to the folks reading this article?
Davis: I just hope that people find a refuge in this music, in these songs, because the idea of music as a refuge from the storms of life so appeals to me. I hope that the people listen to the music and, especially, come out to the live shows and will experience that same sense of refuge in the music, because we all need a place to rest these days, as I say in that song. I hope people get that from this music.

Lucky Clark, a 2018 “Keeping the Blues Alive” Award winner, has spent more than 50 years writing about good music and the people who make it. He can be reached at if you have any questions, comments or suggestions.

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