Music City Bound
takes the leap to Nashville, Tenn.
Local musicians say he has the talent to make it big-time
(January 2019) – Singer-songwriter Jimmy Davis has moved to Nashville, Tenn., to pursue his musical career. As a result. Madison, Ind., lost one of its best known and popular musical performers.
“I’ve been in Nashville off and on for years,” Davis said. “It is time to leave and make it full time.”
Nashville is not entirely new to Davis. “When finding a studio, it depends on where the musicians you are working for want to work. I have worked at several studios, including the Library and Sony Street.”
Photo by John Sheckler
Madison, Ind., musician and songwriter Jimmy Davis has moved to Nashville, Tenn., to advance his career.
“My wife, Katie, has been pushing me to do this for years, but family held us back,” said Davis.
However, he will be back occasionally to do shows in Madison and the surrounding communities.”
Now he plans to stay with friends and leave Katie and his children, Memphis, Marshall and Ray, behind.
“I am very busy here,” Davis said. “I am about to get busier.”
Part of the new business will be finding a house for the family in a good school district. “Ultimately, I would like to try and pipe what I do there back into Madison,” he said.
Davis is not new to challenges. He was already a known performer in Madison and southern Indiana when he went to Indiana Jazz Hall of Fame member Bill Lancton for guitar lessons.
“It always intrigues and flatters me when an established and accomplished guitarist comes to me for lessons,” said Lancton. “Such was the case with Jimmy. I had seen him play several times and knew he could play. But he knew exactly what he wanted from me, so it made my job easier.
“Jimmy is always seeking more knowledge – a trait of all truly great musicians. I turned him on to some jazz concepts – altered scales, diminished theory. etc. – and he picked up on it immediately and ran with it – another trait of truly great players.”
Davis and Lancton often perform together now, playing for sold out crowds all over the Madison area.
One place they can be found is the Thomas Family Winery.
“I’ve never seen a guy so comfortable in his own skin as Jimmy,” said Thomas Family Winery co-owner Steve Thomas. “He humbly accepts his stage on which he performs and does the best he can. Obviously, he’s a great musician, but he’s a sterling man, too. He cares so much for others, he probably forgets about himself. My guess is he’s never met a stranger.”
The friendship with tavern owners extends to area musicians. Gary Duckworth is a local sound engineer who has done sound for Davis but also taken lessons from him.
“I have been friends with Jimmy for many years,” Duckworth said. “He is a gifted guitar player, a gifted singer and a gifted guitar teacher. But most of all, Jimmy Davis is one the kindest, most compassionate and spiritual people I know. I am blessed to call Jimmy a friend.”
Davis knows there is a lot of work ahead of him, but he says he is ready.
“I have no fear; it is coming,” he said. “I put in the work already.”
“I feel better about going there, musically,” said Davis.
“Then the last couple of years, I have burned out musically and in writing.”
Some of Davis’ favorite stuff is off John Lee Hooker, where there isn’t even a chord change.
“My wife is contracted to finish the school year,” he says. “So, I’ll be doing a lot of back and forth. It works best this way, and it will give me time to find the best schools for the kids and where we want to live. I have sessions set up. I’ll get gigs when I get down there.”
According to Davis, there are three primary ways to succeed in Nashville – studio work, performance and songwriting. He has a foot in all three doors already.
“I never wanted to sing,” said Davis. “I started because the band I was in couldn’t find a singer, so one time we decided to find the least terrible singer in the band, so I got stuck singing MadTucky. It was a strange band. We would play Bob Marley, then Metallica.”
Davis still suffers from stage fright.
“Moving to Nashville is just my way to just try to grow,” said Davis. “Once I reach all my goals, I’ll come back. I want to go down there and get what I am after so I can come back to Madison.”
“Madison is the kind of place where people only need to come here once to appreciate the town,” said Davis. “My friends from Nashville came and were blown away at the music scene in here.”
Fellow musicians in Madison say they are happy for Davis.
“I am happy that he is going to Nashville,” said Lancton. “Too often great talent flies under the radar because someone hasn’t put themselves in situations that can benefit them. We all know Jimmy has the talent, but he also has the drive to move to the next level – another trait of great musicians.”
Duckworth added, “I have no doubt that Jimmy will be successful in his endeavors in Nashville. I have been saying to Jimmy for years, ‘Jimmy, you’re the one guy I know who’s going to be famous.’ With that said, Davis will be greatly missed by his friends and fellow musicians in the community.
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