Magic In The Blues
He remains one of the greatest musicians of the late twentieth century. â€˜Sweet Dreamsâ€™ still brings dancefloors to life, but while Eurythmics were certainly significant in the pop world during the 1980s, there is more to David A Stewart than one killer tune.
Top selling singer-songwriter, record producer, multi-instrumentalist and music entrepreneur: Dave Stewart has lived many lives. And with his first solo album in 14 years due for release, â€˜The Blackbird Diariesâ€™ features Stewart coming full circle in his musical life, returning to his blues roots. â€œGreat music has to be real music coming from a genuine soulful place,â€ Stewart states. â€œAnd thatâ€™s how I make my own music and sing my own songs.â€
From his home town of Sunderland, Stewart was first inspired by the blues during the 1960s.â€œI was about 13,â€ Dave recalls, â€œand my cousin sent me these blues records from Memphis. I learnt guitar listening to these records - the blues were speaking to me.â€
Thus began an enduring relationship, where the structure, sound and texture of blues infuse Dave Stewartâ€™s signature sound. â€œEverything I do has the blues in it,â€ Dave states. â€œLike â€˜Sweet Dreamsâ€™ â€” while 30 percent electronic - is still blues. Thereâ€™s magic in the blues.â€
Dave first cut his teeth in the industry with folk-rock band Longdancer, securing a record deal when still a teenager. In 1976, he was introduced to Annie Lennox, where they teamed with Peet Combes as The Tourists, enjoying some success towards the ends of the â€˜70s. The next decade saw a huge shift for Stewart, as the Eurythmics gained global success with their unique electronic pop-rock sound. After the success of Eurythmics, Dave has remained a heavyweight in the industry, working with other leading names from Mick Jagger to Stevie Nicks and Joss Stone.
However, it was fate involving an Icelandic volcano that led Dave from Londonâ€™s Denmark Street to Nashvilleâ€™s Blackbird Studios and thus to the album, â€˜The Blackbird Diariesâ€™. So named for the studio it was created in, â€˜The Blackbird Diariesâ€™ was recorded in only five days. But the story starts in May last year where, stuck in London and unable to reach home, Dave wandered down Denmark Street and into a vintage guitar shop. The sight of a guitar once belonging to alternative country singer Red River Dave forcibly struck Stewart, and he was suddenly inspired, to not only own the guitar and find out more about Red River Dave, but to also travel to Nashville.
This new adventure led Stewart to Blackbird Studios and a host of incredible musicians. Drummer Chad Cromwell, bassist Michael Rhodes, keyboardist Mike Rojas, lapsteel guitarist Dan Dugmore and guitarist Tom Bukovac all feature â€” the result is similar to Dylanâ€™s timbre, Neil Youngâ€™s country rock and the depth and raw complexity of The Rolling Stones.
Stewart calls it: â€œa little Dylanesque meets Leonard Cohen meets Tom Petty meets Lou Reed meets Johnny Cash sounding. When I work with other people, we try and combine the skill and emotion weâ€™re trying to express when we come together. Itâ€™s very much a therapy session in a way. We write about things that are very personal, but do it in such a way that other people can relate.â€
From â€˜Magic In The Bluesâ€™ to redolent country track â€˜Cheaper Than Freeâ€™ and â€˜Country Wineâ€™ featuring The Secret Sisters, â€˜The Blackbird Diariesâ€™ portrays a very unique journey. â€œI donâ€™t like writing about things that donâ€™t matter to me,â€ Stewart muses. â€œIt has to be personal. Thereâ€™s magic in the blues. I write about things that happened in my life and things that affected me. Itâ€™s all about truth.â€
Dave Stewart supports Stevie Nicks at the Brisbane Riverstage December 3. â€˜The Blackbird Diariesâ€™ is out now.