Gary Davis Style - The Legacy of Reverend Gary Davis is a tribute to one of America's greatest acoustic guitarists and demonstrates how enduring his musical influence was and still is. Brought together for this project are musicians who have been particularly influenced by Reverend Gary Davis (1896-1972) - one of the most important folk artists of the twentieth century.
Blind from early on, music was both necessary for his living and embraced as his avocation. He showed great talent even in childhood. From his earliest 'serenading' gigs with Willie Walker in Greenville, SC, through his sojourn in Asheville, NC, to his extended stay in Durham, he absorbed all the music around him, synthesized it and taught it back to whomsoever was receptive. That included the legendary Blind Boy Fuller, the most celebrated bluesman of the 1930s, of whom Davis said, "...He would have been all right if he'd stayed under me a while longer..." Davis taught many more of the Durham players: bootleggers Richard and Willie Trice, Brownie McGhee, and Guitar Gabriel. He recorded with Sonny Terry, founded three churches, and taught virtually every folksinger and rock 'n roller who came into New York in the 1950s, '60s and early '70s.
Davis was the primary architect of the so-called 'Piedmont' school of guitar playing, without ever playing a formal gig until 1957. This style combines most of the major elements of both European and African-American musicianship. Just by being the streetsinger and the man he was, he drew together more of American life than most of us can ever dream of.