Music in the Park

Jimmy Davis Band to rock the fountain

Despite his love for music,
he has put his family first in life

(August 2016) – Madison, Ind.’s hometown musician Jimmy Davis and his band will be front and center when the Music in the Park Series returns to the Broadway Fountain on Friday, Aug. 12. The event is part of the Summer Music Series organized by the Madison Main Street Program.

Music in the Park

• 6-9 p.m. Friday, Aug. 12, at the Broadway Fountain in Madison, Ind. Free admission.
• Concessions open at 5 p.m. Opening act by Jordan Wilson at 6 p.m. Jimmy Davis Band from 7-9 p.m.
• Sponsored by the Madison Main Street Program
• (812) 265-3270

Davis has dedicated his life to music for 27 years, but unlike some musicians, it was never at the expense of his family. People who know his music say he was on the threshold of making it big in Nashville, Tenn., several years ago when instead he decided to focus on his music career in Madison.
“I did lots of song writer demos, and for a while I was going to Nashville every weekend,” said Davis, 38. I would be there two or three days a week. There are so many great guitar players down there, but you have to be around them to learn. My kids are here in Madison, and I couldn’t leave them, so now I do the back and forth as often as I can. There is no way I can leave my boys.”
Davis has no regrets about his decision to keep his home base in Madison.

Photo by John Sheckler

Madison, Ind., musician and songwriter Jimmy Davis has spent much of his life perfecting his guitar playing skills and writing songs.

“I love Madison,” he said. “It is my favorite place in the world, and there are a lot of great things happening here. It is a great art community. I can’t see why a music career can’t be done here. You don’t have to go to Nashville or Los Angeles to succeed.”
Davis had his first musical experience when he was very young.
“I saw Tim Ping in the Hair Farmers Band from Elrod play at a party, and he just blew my mind,” Davis recalls. “He was the first really good guitar player I ever saw. I watched him play, then bugged him and followed him around. After he passed away, I ended up with his old Stratocaster.”
Davis quickly made musical friends who are now well known in the regional music scene.
“I’ve been friends with Jimmy for over 25 years,” said Madison musician and songwriter Rusty Bladen.
“He played guitar in my band at several shows, and he’s always been professional. He’s a young man with an old soul, talented, down to earth and most of all very humble. I’d compare him to any of the top blues artists, past and present. Nobody should ever miss a chance to see his live show.” 

Photo by John Sheckler

Jimmy Davis (center) often performs with other area musicians, including his friend and Indiana Jazz Hall of Fame musician Bill Lancton (right).

While Bladen specializes in what he calls “Homegrown Rock and Roll,” another long time friend is blues player Darryl Hewitt.
“Jimmy puts a lot of time and passion into his music, and I love him like a little brother,” said Hewitt. “I’ve known him since he was a kid. He’s easy to play with and he loves guitars and his family. He’s got a good heart.”
Davis sought out a wide variety of musical influences throughout his career, including jazz.
“I have been really lucky to study with a couple of jazz guys that have taught me a lot,” said Davis. “The biggest difference from jazz and other styles is that there is a lot more freedom. Guys that can really play jazz can play any other style. A musician studies jazz to learn to play through the changes.”
Davis is still working with jazz musicians, including Indiana Jazz Hall of Fame member Bill Lancton. They perform together at local venues, including The Thomas Family Winery, and are scheduled to play together Aug. 6 at the Little Kentucky River Winery in Bedford, Ky.
“It is always a huge learning experience playing with Bill because he is a monster guitar player,” said Davis. “He can play any style. When he plays country, he sounds like Chet Adkins. It is always a blast playing with that guy. I have learned a lot from him, and he has taken an interest in my growth.”
Lancton has a similar respect for Davis.
“I love Jimmy’s approach to music,” said Lancton. “It is wide open and reminds me of me 30 years ago. Jimmy has a thirst for knowledge that true talents possess. Lesser talents are happy being mediocre and believing they are great. Guys like Jimmy are always striving to be better, even though they are blowing everyone else away. I absolutely love gigging with him. He makes me a better player.”
After playing at Music in the Park, the Jimmy Davis Band – which includes Kerry Mefford on drums and Danny Cook on bass – will be headed to Nashville to finish recording its new album, “The Machine,” that is due for release around Thanksgiving. It will be Davis’ eighth album.
“This is interesting because it is a rock album,” said Davis. “I try to do as many different things as I can, but I am most proficient at the blues. Now I have started to draw everything else I have learned and put it together because I am still trying to figure out who I am.”
“Danny can play either electric or upright bass,” Davis said. “He has been in the band about two years and has opened up some things for us because he sings really well.”
The Music in the Park opens at 5 p.m. with food vendors, then Jordan Wilson will open at 6 p.m., followed by the Jimmy Davis Band from 7-9 p.m. Lawn chairs or blankets are suggested.

• For more information, call (812) 493-4984 or visit the Internet website: www.MadisonMainStreet.com.

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