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Dave Alvin

From Academic Kids

Dave Alvin (born November 11, 1955, in Downey, California, USA) is a Country/Rock guitarist, singer and songwriter.

Contents

Early Musical Influences

Dave Alvin was raised by a music loving family. Dave and his older brother Phil as teenagers regularly attended Blues, Rockabilly, and Vintage Country night clubs.

Performance by greats like T-Bone Walker, Big Joe Turner, and Lee Allen where among the musicians they went to see. The Alvin brothers wanted to play music influenced by the sounds they loved. In 1970 Dave learned to play guitar from T-Bone Walker himself who learned to play from blues legend Blind Lemon Jefferson. Dave's mother was good friends with T-Bone and even dated famous blues sax player Lee Allen.

Blasters

In 1979 Dave and his brother formed roots rock group The Blasters with fellow Downey, California residents Bill Bateman and John Bazz. 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.

X

Shortly after leaving the Blasters, Alvin joined X as lead guitarist after the departure of Billy Zoom. Alvin amicably left the group to work on a solo project shortly after the recording sessions for their album See How We Are.

Solo

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 which 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 re-establish 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.

Other trivia

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, as well as collaborating 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.

Blasters discography

  • American Music, 1980
  • Blasters, 1981
  • Over There, 1982
  • Non Fiction, 1983
  • Hard Line, 1985
  • The Blasters Collection, 1990
  • Testament: The Complete Slash Recordings, 2002
  • The Blasters Live - Going Home, 2004

Blasters videography

  • Streets of Fire, 1984
  • The Blasters Live - Going Home, 2004

X discography

  • X: See How We Are, 1986

Dave Alvin discography

  • Romeo's Escape, 1987
  • Blue Boulevard, 1991
  • Museum of Heart, 1993
  • King of California, 1994
  • Interstate City, 1996
  • Blackjack David, 1998
  • Public Domain, 2000
  • Out in California, 2002
  • Outtakes in California, 2002
  • Ashgrove, 2004

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