Detroit artist Ethan Daniel Davidson has spent decades following his obsessions: Jewish law, basketball history, riding the rails, and American music. In fact, all of these obsessions along with years of touring and being on the road seem to inform Davidson’s music. With his own style of gothic folk and Americana, Davidson is a master storyteller, spinning tales about dark characters, violent undertakings, and he jagged American landscape. Even though he may not be a household name outside of Detroit, Davidson has put in his time as a musician and is well-worth paying attention to.
On June 16th Ethan Daniel Davidson will release his new album Crowds on Blue Arrow Records, the label known for releasing records from the likes of Jonathan Richman and Jon Langford. Today Glide Magazine is premiering the album ahead of its release date. The music on Crows may bring to mind acts like Destroyer, Calexico, Giant Sand and Sparklehorse. What stands out especially is the way Davidson seems to walk his own path, a lone troubadour “doing his own bad just fine”, as he sings in the twangy “My Own Bad”. Compared to his previous releases, Crows finds Davidson channeling a more cosmic country sound as he spins tales of tales of old 44s, black roads, men born in the shadows of mountains, breaths held on dark nights, fences nine miles wide, and coyotes crouching at doors. As a whole, the songs on Crows are beautifully sparse and lyrically poignant.
Reflecting on the inspiration behind the album, Davidson says:
“I used to to sleep outdoors much more than I slept indoors. This situation persisted for years. Eventually went without tent. Eventually went without sleeping bag. Just pull the tour van off the side of the road and sleep on the grass. One morning in Idaho, woke with a bug in my ear. One morning in Kansas, woke with a guy circling me on a riding mower. Nothing better than building a fire under the stars. I still love to build fires. Actually one thing is better than building a fire: being here at a fire in a relationship based on mutuality and dialogue. Avoid any arrangement based on dominance, utility, and monologue.”
Photo credit: Gretchen Davidson