Monday, June 20, 2016

The Amazing Davina and The Vagabonds

Davina & The Vagabonds - Sunshine
Let me introduce you to someone, if you haven't already had the pleasure. It was sheer luck that I was channel surfing one dark and starry Friday night on the drive up to The Shack. I am constantly channel surfing on the radio and it takes quite a bit to make me pause on one station. But that night a voice that sounded like an angry angel with trumpets from heaven sounding in the background stopped my wandering finger.  Davina's voice punched me in the throat and jerked the tears from my eyes. And the band was amazing. If you love music and have not yet heard Davina and the Vagabonds, you need to make a point to listen.

Okay, maybe that was slightly dramatic. But only slightly. I couldn't think of a good description for the size of the lump in my throat. They may not be your cup of musical tea but there is a good chance they are. I like to listen to all types of music. So I channel surf.  When I am listening to the radio I am always in search of songs that make me feel. Songs that make me feel like dancing. Songs that make me feel like singing at the top of my lungs. Songs that make me feel like I've purged some negative emotion.

Typically, I do not want to listen to a slow song unless it is a lullaby or about heart break. And then it has to make me feel - if it's about heart break, it had better give me goosebumps.

That Friday night I was basically alone on the roads.  As my Jeep curved, dipped, and climbed through West Virginia, I surfed. I came upon a song that sounded old but new. Something along the lines of Bettye Lavette or Janis Joplin but different. The woman's voice pouring out of the speakers was amazing and the band with her was rich with horns, strings, and keys. And that is about as far as my musical knowledge goes.  I just knew that it made me feel.

I drove on, radio blasting, through the dark night.  Then she sang I'd Rather Go Blind and I cried while I drove. Between the lump in my throat and the blurry vision, I probably should have pulled over. But I drove on and began to sing along.

Once I returned to the apartment near Baltimore (and my internet connection) I searched for information like crazy.  

It seems I was listening to a radio show called Mountain Stage. According to the Mountain Stage site, they have provided a show of live music for the past 30 years. Once a week, they showcase both emerging and seasoned musicians from a large variety of music genres.  

Again, it was sheer luck that I found that station, at that time, and "met" Davina and the Vagabonds. Their official website describes them in ways far better than I am able to:   

[DATV's] shows are filled with New Orleans charm, Memphis soul swagger, dark theatrical moments that evoke Kurt Weill, and tender gospel passages. Davina's voice and stage presence defy category in a different way.

As much as I'd Rather Go Blind is a tear-jerker, Sunshine is uplifting.  I will leave you with this toe-tapper and hope for sunshine from this day on. 


  1. Wow, what a voice and what a sound! I have to say that I prefer the upbeat "Sunshine," but there are times that the soulful, gut-wrenching sound of "Blind" would be my choice. Glad you discovered a musical treasure that satisfies the soul!

  2. I don't do a lot of radio station surfing these days and I am sure I miss out on a lot of great music. I can easily imagine driving down the road though, discovering a new soulful voice and immediately being drawn in and touched by it. How cool that you have discovered a new artist that you love.