Tuesday, September 3, 2013

NEAF '13 Feature Artist: David Gallagher

David Gallagher is a man after my own heart...and is a perfect example of why the roots music community in this city is thriving. Not only does he perform with his stellar soul and blues inspired alt-folk band around town, but each and every week he hosts an old style round table session at Tommy Doyles in Harvard Square. Every week, David and 2 other musicians (and more times than not, some other friends) sit around a table on the first floor of TDs and belt out traditional songs, rootsy takes on modern covers, and just some great music ensues as a result of this. New folks meet up and play together, bonds are created, community is built. What more could you possibly ask for? I have had a chance to witness some of these first hand and I can attest that there is an energy in the room on these Friday nights that is electric and infectious. I cannot thank this gent enough for helping to foster a community here in town and keeping the roots music scene strong.

D and the band also happen to be playing this year's Americana Festival and will be right outside his Friday evening stomping ground playing in Winthrop Park at 3 PM on Sunday, September 29th. Be sure to catch up with David then, but for now, check out what he had to say about the fest, the community, and music in general:

1)      First and foremost, who are you, what do you do? That is, what band are you in or are you a solo artist, what have you guys been up to leading up to the festival, anything exciting we should all know about? Your chance for shameless self promotion…go!

DG: The David Gallagher Band plays modern, soulful music with acoustic instruments.  We are heavily influenced by many different types of American music including ‘60s soul, alt-rock, blues, and old-time.  Much of our live act will present original material written by me but we usually play some covers of old soul or blues songs as well.  We like to throw in lots of tight three-part harmony and high-energy solos to keep things interesting!  I’ve been hard at work recording a five song album featuring all of the players in the David Gallagher Band plus some other killer local instrumentalists.  It should be released some time this fall so please keep an eye out for it!

2)      New England Americana and the Fest firmly plant their roots and morals in “community”. The event is a culmination of a community of musicians and artists that is going on all year. What does
that community mean to you?

DG: You said it.  This is a community of musicians that support each other and play together all year long.  I feel lucky to get to witness it and to (hopefully) contribute to it in a small way.  The main thing that jumps out at me about this community is peoples’ eagerness to learn and pick things up from each other and blend the things they hear together.  Everyone has their own thing going on and is into their kind of music, but people still seem remarkably excited to be shown something new or pick up some little piece of what someone else is doing.  Maybe it’s like that everywhere, but I see it a lot here.

3)      Name a record that shaped you as a musician early on. What music initially made you want to sing, or pick up an instrument and make music?

DG: Michael Jackson is by far the single musician who has had the biggest impact on me, especially early in life.  I could go on and on about him, but the bottom line is that I often hear him come out in my own songs or the delivery of a vocal line - just sprinkled subtly throughout all my stuff.  I’m not even sure if other people would notice any MJ influence in what I do, but to me it is blatant and when I’m aware of it, I feel good about it.
That said, my three seminal albums from childhood were Michael Jackson “Bad” (yes, not Thriller.  I’m making no claim about which album is better), an Elvis greatest hits album, and an Everly Brothers greatest hits album.  All of those wore out the tape deck in the late ‘80s when I was becoming musically aware.

4)      What are you listening to now that you think folks should be aware of?

DG: John Hartford, Aereo-Plain .  It’s forty years old, but it blows my mind every time I listen and I bet it would have a similar effect on a lot of other people who have not yet heard it.  Also Trouble In Mind (the album) by Big Bill Broonzy.  It’s a collection of solo acoustic recordings from later in his life and it is some of the best blues singing and acoustic guitar playing you are ever going to hear.

5)      Music  festivals, in general,  are fairly well known for surprise sit ins, improvisational jams and collaborations. If you could see any two of this year’s acts collaborate on stage at this year’s NEA Festival, who would you like to see?

DG: I like when Mark Whitaker jumps in with anybody (especially me).  He brings sonic beauty to all situations.

6)      Why is creating music important to you? Why do you pick up your instrument and write songs?

Why do you play that dive bar on a Thursday night? What keeps you going?

DG: I’ve tried doing other stuff but I always get sick of it.  Music is the only thing that I haven’t tired of.  In fact, it just keeps getting more interesting and exciting the more I put into it.  Until that stops being true, I’ll happily put all my energy towards it.

Check out David Gallagher online at

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