Post Classifieds

Musician Davis carries long career into Commerce

By Jasmin Brown
On April 20, 2010

Local Grammy Award-winning country, bluegrass and rock musician Brad Davis traces his passion for music back to the age of five.

"I heard John Denver on the radio, and I think that was the first thing that kind of got me jazzed," he said. "I started playing guitar at five and taking lessons. I started out classical, and then my brother got a banjo – that ended my classical training."

A Texas native, Davis grew up in Colleyville and Grapevine and attended the University of North Texas, then called North Texas State University, as a graphic art and marketing major.

Davis moved to Nashville, Tenn. to pursue a job offer, only to discover the position had already been filled.

He wasn't without a job long, however, as The Forester Sisters soon hired him to play electric guitar. He played with them for about five years.

Davis was then hired by and worked for country singer Marty Stuart for 11 years. His stint with Stuart afforded him the opportunity to meet many other famous musicians: Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard, Keith Richards, David Lee Roth, Sheryl Crow and a lot of other "cool folks."

"I realized that in Nashville, if you can sing, you get around double pay," he said, "So I sang harmony with several of the artists down through the years because it paid a lot more."

Davis also met actor musician Billy Bob Thornton during that time.

"I established a relationship with Billy and I've been writing and co-producing with him for about fourteen years," Davis said.

Davis and Thornton just finished producing the soundtrack for Willie Nelson's life story movie, in which Davis played a minor role.

Although he has been in a couple of other movies, Davis prefers remaining in the background.

"I try not to get in movies," he said. "I'd rather stay behind the curtain and write the music."

Davis' association with Thornton also furnished him the opportunity to be a part of Warren Zevon's Grammy Award-winning album, "The Wind," by performing in the song "Knocking on Heaven's Door" in 2003.

Davis said his work with Thornton entailed traveling to Los Angeles quite often. Tiring of life in Nashville, he and his family moved to Commerce about three years ago.

Commerce has truly become home for Davis.

"I really like this town," he said. "It's a cool little town. It's got some dead places on the square, but it's got some life because of the college really, and the college radio guys are really cool."

Davis purchased a building downtown about one year ago to convent into a recording studio.

"It's workable, it's just not totally finished," he said. "We've produced Brad Paisley's new acoustic record, and Tim McGraw's new record and Pearl Jam's new record."

Davis said he is planning to have the studio's grand opening in November.

Aside from production work, Davis enjoys teaching and is the main clinician for Takamine Guitars and the Texas ambassador for the Nashville Songwriting Association International.

"I like to teach," Davis said, "but I don't have a Ph.D., so I'm not in that class, but I've got a lot of experience. So, I bring that to the clinics, teach and do books, DVD instruction and all kinds of stuff like that."

Davis said the most rewarding aspects of his career have been the coaching he has received and the decision to become a "studio musician" versus a road musician, which he credits Stuart with.

"If you're a studio musician, you're considered more quality, so people take you a little more serious," he said. "Stuart gave me that."

Davis is also grateful for all the "connections" he has made, especially his connection to Thornton.

"Billy adds a lot of credibility to what I do," he said.

Davis acknowledges the life of a "studio musician" is a challenging one.

"The music business is tough," he said. "You've got to do so many things to pay the bills, from playing shows as a solo artist, to being a sideman playing with an artist, writing film scores, writing songs and pitching them to country and rock artists, to producing instructional materials."

Davis manages to find time to "recharge" by writing music and spending time with his family at their home just outside of Commerce.

"My wife likes horses, so we'll do stuff with them," he said. "My boy is fourteen and my daughter is sixteen, and she plays base on the road with me. She's really good, and he's going to start playing drums. Hanging with them is a lot of fun; it's probably the best recharging."

Touring has given Davis the opportunity to travel to many different countries, and he hopes his children are able to enjoy that experience as well.

"If you're in music, they treat your really great," he said. "They roll out the red carpet. It would be really neat, since I've traveled so much, for my kids to see it. I'd like them to see some cool stuff."

Davis was inspired to begin the "Songwriters' Night" at Cowhill Express Coffee Co. in downtown by the rewarding experience he found similar events to be during the beginning of his career.

"I thought, ‘I need to do a writers' night. Why not make it here?'" he said.

The "Songwriters' Night" gives musicians the opportunity to "showcase their original music" according to

Michael Odom, founder of the Commerce Office of Cultural Affairs, has been working hand-in-hand with Davis to promote "Songwriters' Night."

"I'm honored and thrilled that he has agreed to associate the songwriters' night project with the Commerce Office of Cultural Affairs," Odom said.

Davis' enthusiasm in using his talent for the benefit of the community has impressed Odom.

"His talent and experience in the music industry offer an astonishing resource for the cultural life of Commerce," Odom said. "What he has done is a great example of what can be accomplished through the dedication and determination of a gifted individual. We are very lucky to have him in town."

Davis will be at "Songwriters' Night" on April 15. Sign-ups begin at 7 p.m. followed by performances at 7:30.

Those interested in learning more about Davis and his work may visit his official Web site

Get Top Stories Delivered Weekly

Recent The East Texan News Articles

Discuss This Article



East Texan readers should know that Houston LASIK specialist, Dr. Amjad Khokar, member of the Texas Medical Association, is a LASIK surgeon in Houston offering the most advanced LASIK technology and experience, providing a safe LASIK surgery.

Log In

or Create an account

Employers & Housing Providers

Employers can list job opportunities for students

Post a Job

Housing Providers can list available housing

Post Housing

Log In

Forgot your password?

Your new password has been sent to your email!

Logout Successful!

Please Select Your College/University:

You just missed it! This listing has been filled.

Post your own housing listing on Uloop and have students reach out to you!

Upload An Image

Please select an image to upload
Note: must be in .png, .gif or .jpg format
Provide URL where image can be downloaded
Note: must be in .png, .gif or .jpg format