Napan Returns from Nashville with Debut CD Under His Belt
Southern charm is alive and well, right here in Napa, and goes by the name of David Statzer. The friendly, good-natured, jovial Virginia-born Napan, who still proudly carries his southern drawl with him, currently divides his time between his life in Napa, trips to Nashville recording studios and a growing nation-wide performance schedule. I first saw and heard Statzer, a couple of years ago when his band happened to be playing at DG’s, a local club that typically featured jazz and blues. I was somewhat surprised to hear that a country-rock band was playing, but had always been impressed by the music and musicians that played the club, so I eagerly went down to check out the David Statzer Band. It turned out to be a great evening of great music performed by great musicians. Statzer, playing bass, had Denny Collert on lead guitar, Mark Laybourne on 2nd lead guitar, John Lowrey on harmonica and Sandy Baca drums. They did an eclectic mix of country and rock and produced harmonies not often heard in contemporary music, rivaling some of the best I have ever heard, reminiscent of those of the Eagles and CSN&Y. A bassist and vocalist, Statzer has been singing and performing since his early childhood - first in church and later in various bands. His love of music and attachment to his country roots, has kept him involved in music throughout his life. He has continued to perform music in various bands for most of his life, but has been building a serious musical career over the past 20 years. Nashville seems to have finally taken notice.
Early this year, in what Statzer described as one of those rare, “must have been meant to be meetings that almost didn’t happen,” he teamed up with not only a stellar song-writing team, but also some of Nashville’s best session musicians, producers and recording engineers. As Statzer tells the story about a visit to Nashville where he was taken to a local American Legion Hall to a writers’ session - a kind of open-mic night for songwriters where the writers sing their songs, and a cornucopia of Nashville’s songwriters, singers, musicians, and other industry talent (the famous as well as the soon-to-be-famous) drop in. By the end of the evening Statzer had been introduced to a songwriter by the name of Terry Dennis. “We really felt this instant connection,” Statzer said, and ultimately the two teamed up with the intention to have Statzer record some of Dennis’ songs. In February of this year, Statzer signed on with Three Hat Productions and recording began. The result has been Statzer’s first full-length cd, entitled, “Until I Get it Down.” The combination of Statzer’s rich, soulful, southern vocals and his talented Nashville collaborators, is a cd filled with the roots of country music –heartbreaking love songs, tender ballads, country blues and bit of honky-tonk; the sweet interplay of pedal steel guitar with country fiddle, topped off with Statzer’s vocals and Nashville harmonies. Though all of the songs are originals, written or co-written by Dennis, they have a distinctly traditional feel, which, according to Statzer, “was intentional.” “We really tried to pay tribute to some of the traditional music,” Statzer said, “and people have been telling us how much they appreciate it.” Growing up listening to and admiring the talents of Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Steve Wariner and Elvis, and later having been bitten by the southern rock of Lynyrd Skynyrd and the modern country of Johnny Lee, Statzer’s music combines his many diverse musical influences and “Until I Get it Down,” reflects this well while still sticking quite close to its traditional country roots.