Sometimes the road back home isn’t as the crow flies. David Shelby definitely took the scenic route to his first album. “When you’re born into a proud Polish-Russian family they issue you an accordion and a bowling ball,” David states, “ My dad taught me to use both… It’s easier to pick up a split with an accordion.”
David was soon playing that squeeze-box along with the Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, and later, Garth Brooks records the country station was spinning in his native Detroit. Detroit! They love their beer cold and their cars hot. They rock hard and have always had a soft spot in that big industrial heart for country music.
Picking up the trumpet in grade school led to a couple of twists along that fabled road. David went on to a degree in Jazz and Contemporary Media, singing tenor with the university Vocal Jazz Ensemble. He toured as an ace trumpet slinger with Chubby Checker, Wolfman Jack, The Glenn Miller Orchestra, Lou Christie and others. His writing credits include arrangements commissioned for the Korean War Memorial and work for the Pittsburg Symphony. All that time he kept an eye on that two-lane blacktop.
Leaving the touring life behind for a spot with R&B legends The Regular Boys, he began singing more and writing in earnest. He honed his chops as a front man and began to chase down that childhood dream. The results are on his stellar first album, I Came To Play.
The question remains: Did David Shelby catch up with country or did country finally find him? It matters not. He sings, writes and performs his material with a lot of heart and total conviction. The songs reflect his love for the history of country music and his gritty “Rock On!” sensibilities are pure Detroit. “I want my music to reflect where I come from,” David explains, “ I grew up on equal parts country, Motown and arena rock.” All considerations of style vanish in the face of the content. Rock solid songwriting, good humor and depth of feeling all meet up on that road back home. David Shelby traveled far and wide to find what he needed… and returned home to live it.