Meet Shaw Davis, of Shaw Davis & the Black Ties
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Shaw Davis & the Black Ties are on the rise, traveling the country, playing their own brand of raw, psychedelic blues and roots rock and building their base and the buzz about them.
The group consists of 24-year-old guitarist Shaw Davis, drummer Bobby Van Stone and bassist Patrick Stevenson. Formed in 2016, they have played more than 300 shows and represented their native South Florida in the 2018 International Blues Challenge in Memphis. The trio released their self-titled debut album in June 2017, quickly followed by the three-track “Alive From Legacy” and then their sophomore album, “Tales from the West,” in 2018.
Shaw Davis & the Black Ties take the stage of The Press at 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 16.
Explore Steamboat: When did you first pick up a guitar?
Shaw Davis: I was about 13 years old, at a friend’s house, and he had one in his closet. I used to go over there to play Xbox, but he only had one controller and wouldn’t let me play, so I’d play guitar. I kind of fell in love with it immediately. We also played a lot of guitar Hero, and one of the songs was “Purple Haze” (Jimi Hendrix). I tried to teach myself how to play it then, and I’m still trying to teach myself how to play it now.
ES: Tell us a bit about your bandmates, and how you guys work together.
SD: It’s Bobby Van Stone on the drums — him and I went to kindergarten together, I’ve known him for forever — and Patrick Stevenson on bass. When Pat came on board, he brought a whole different energy to the way we write, the way we play. We’re around each other six days a week, we basically live together. We’ve been together for about two years now.
ES: You played baseball seriously for a while; how did you decide to make the change of focusing on baseball to focusing on music?
SD: For me, it was always simple — I grew up playing baseball, and I love baseball dearly. My dad played, my grandpa played, it was always in the family, and I was on scholarship for baseball. But music was always on the back-burner; it wasn’t in the family. But my favorite thing to do in the world is to just sit in my room and play guitar, just play. I found myself caring less and less about baseball, and when the transition came, I decided to leave school and baseball behind, buy a van, take my guitar and hit the road. I’m so grateful I get to wake up and play the guitar every day. Nothing in the world means more to me than music.
ES: When someone listens to your music, who are the inspirations of yours they might hear?
SD: First and foremost, Jimi Hendrix, with the language he created; Stevie Ray Vaughan, Cream, early British blues rock and a lot of present-day guys: Chris Duarte, Philip Sayce, Eric Tessmer — you probably know Tessmer, he’s played at The Press before. When I first heard him, we were in Austin for a six-day baseball tournament, and I saw him on a Monday night. After that, I snuck out of the hotel every night and I’d tracked down where Tessmer was playing and go listen to him. That’s when I made up my mind to leave baseball and put every ounce of my heart and soul into music. That was really the turning moment. What those guys all have in common is the real hard heavy blues background. But I’m inspired by anything that’s coming from the heart and soul, real genuine, real pure — that’s what resonates with me, not sounds or genres. If you can feel that they put 110 percent into making the music.
ES: And what do you hope to inspire in your listeners?
SD: To me, music is energy — the way it makes you feel, want to move, want to think — it’s all based on energy. When someone’s listening to our music, that’s what I hope they get from it, that it breathes life into them, for it to connect and resonate with them. If they’re having a bad day, maybe the music makes it a little better.
What: Shaw Davis & the Black Ties
When: 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 16
Where: The Press, 1009 Lincoln Ave.
ES: What’s been the best part of this tour so far?
SD: How about right now, this moment? I’m really truly grateful every single day. I can’t wait ’til the next show, every time. I don’t know if there’s a true climax of the tour. I’m excited for everything; I can’t wait to get there.
Julia Ben-Asher is a contributing writer for Steamboat Pilot & Today.
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