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Wednesday, June 6, 2007 12:58 am

One down, plenty to go

Michael Davis performs Friday at Capital City Bar & Grill

Michael Davis
Untitled Document Michael Davis was bitten by the music bug in middle school, but he was nearing his college graduation before he actually put his music out for the world to hear.
The Petersburg native self-produced a CD of original songs, then sent it to music-business types around the country. A call came in from producer Todd Joos at Cellar Records, an independent record label based in Dixon, Ill. After a weekend visit to the studio facility and a visit with Joos of an hour or so, Davis was ready.
“You know how it is when things just fit and you know it?” he asks. “I called Todd on Monday and said, ‘Let’s do it.’ ”
Using musicians affiliated with Joos and Cellar Studios (and juggling coursework as he made his way through his final year at Peoria’s Bradley University), Davis spent several months recording; One Down, the finished product, came out on April 15, and it’s a fine representation of the young artist’s take on the world. “In my head I heard a piano song or drums and guitar and with the studio guys we shot ideas off of each other without egos,” he says. “They liked that I had the songs already written before coming to the studio. We had so much fun recording the album.”
Davis, who majored in Web design and graphic arts, recently graduated from Bradley and has started full-time work in Peoria. Through college connections and networking at IllinoisMusicians.com he’s found a working band, and he now spends a couple of weekends a month out playing and promoting the CD. No Cover magazine picked him for a spot on a compilation CD, Boom Boom Records tapped him for a world-hunger-relief benefit disk, and Davis just got word that one of his songs, “Bob Dylan,” will get airplay on St. Louis community radio station KDHX-FM (www.kdhx.org). “It’s weird to say my career is the best it’s been,” he says, “but there’s all kinds of stuff happening right now. It’s great.”
In the good-things-keep-happening category, not long ago Davis, driving in Chicago, passed a Borders bookstore and noticed that Matt Nathanson, a nationally known San Francisco-based singer/songwriter and Davis’ personal musical hero, was scheduled for a meet-and-greet there. He immediately headed into the store and got in as one of 30 fortunate souls allowed to visit with Nathanson. The ambitious novice took the golden opportunity to question the successful, established professional. “I asked him for one piece of advice, and he told me to make my music the way I want to now,” Davis says. “Everything he’s done, getting where he is, was on his own. I aspire to that kind of career.”

Michael Davis performs with his band 8 p.m.-midnight Friday, June 8, at City Nights, in the Capital City Bar & Grill, 3149 S. Dirksen Pkwy. (217-529-8580).

Contact Tom Irwin at tirwin@illinoistimes.com.
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