In November 2018 I began recording this, my fourth, studio album. I seem to enter the recording studio, whether I want to or not, about every ten years. I suppose I'm a little late for this one, but I've not exactly been sitting around. Alright, there's been some sitting around, but I've managed to accomplish a few things since the last studio go-round in 2008. For instance, I began building and playing cigar box guitars and these rootsy, primitive little rascals have found their way into my heart...and onto this recording! To date, I've made 198 of these quirky instruments and there's no sign of stopping. Lucky for you, I've laid down several tracks on this recording with a bounty of these bodacious boxes.
Another thing I'd been doing was attempting to conceptualize another album. I've not been avoiding making another record. Well, yes, I suppose I have. You see, it's difficult for me to conceive of what to record. Critics, on the one hand love the eclectic variety of my live shows, while on the other hand they have no idea how to categorize me. I'm not exactly rock. Nor country, nor folk, nor reggae, nor blues. But I'm like all of these things, and more, all mashed together. It's a unique gumbo of styles, especially coming from a classically trained trumpeter, but that's how I roll. You could say it's a new stylistic classification: Eclectica! Struggling with which tunes we might record, I decided that something that resembled one of our live sets would be the way to go. Here they are, and a nice variety of musical munchies they be, wethinks.
When it was time to name the project, I had nothing. I believe that names eventually find their rightful owners and this would be no exception. Sure enough, it hit me while we were mixing the song Gypsy Davy (that quintessential raggle-taggle pirate gypsy guy whose been an international character in song and legend for hundreds of years) - “Gypsy Davy works quite nicely!” Now I would need representative artwork for the Gypsy Davy CD. I searched for days for the right image – again nothing. And then, staring right at me from a framed photo on my wall, came my answer. Claudia's dad, Eugene Cook (1917-1986), was a brilliant photographer and editor at LIFE magazine from the late '40s through the '60s. He is known for his iconic photos of personalities and places, and right here, grinning at me from my wall, was Gene's photo of an Italian gypsy guitarist with his admiring bevy of beauties taken in the early '50s. “He'll do nicely!”
Initially, I thought Gypsy Davy would be a simple, raw David Reed & The Introverts trio record. So in November 2018, with Introverts Sam Earnshaw (drums) and Scott McKenney (bass) in tow, I entered into Luke Germain's “Walkout Studio” with producer Bruce Blair thinking that a new trio recording was about to get underway. And then I got ideas. “How about if I invite my old Max Creek bandmates Scott Murawski (lead guitar) and Mark Mercier (keys) to play on a few tracks?” They immediately obliged and contributed stellar performances to several songs.
“Well,” thought I, “that went well! What about a fiddle on a couple of my originals?” Eric Martin answered the call, with not only his violin, but also a sweet viola and made those songs sparkle. We were on a roll! “An accordion on the Simon tune would be cool!” Dave Vittone nicely squeezed right in. “I'm thinking some added vocals on choruses here and there would be fabulous!” My gal Claudia d'Alessandro, along with friends Lee Everett, Wendy Darling, Michael Brady, Jeannie Bachetti, 'Producer Brucer' and engineer Luke dove right in and added some polish, depth (and some party noises!) to my vocals. “Maybe my son Brendan Reed would drop a djembe part into a couple songs?” He sure did! “What if there was a little saxophone spice on a tune or two?” Mark Tuomenoksa added just the right amount of sax appeal. I contributed some auxilliary percussion parts and a trumpet here and there. Thanks to all these wonderful people, Gypsy Davy bloomed into a tapestry of sonic color, stylistic diversity, deep grooves and eclectic fun!
I hope you have as much fun listening to Gypsy Davy as we did in making it. Be on the lookout for another record from me - in around 10 years or so?