Award-winning songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, journalist, photographer, guitar instructor, audio engineer, poet and fly fisherman, Davis is versed in the creative threads of Americana. As 605 Magazine Davis put it, “something new and fresh that can’t or shouldn’t be compared with anyone or anything else.”
If creating music, writing and photography are the vehicles, the mountains and rivers surrounding in Wyoming are the fuel. Sense of place has everything to do with it. The Bowling Green, Kentucky native settled in Wyoming in 2001, planting a second set of roots. Longing for The South while being enlightened by The West has been a recurring theme in his writing. Davis splits time between the touring with Screen Door Porch, local music residencies at area venues, maintaining a music column for Planet Jackson Hole Weekly, and stalking trout.
“A day in the life is easy to take for granted, and living in a small tight-knit mountain town keeps me in tune,” Davis says. “Rivers and open spaces have become necessities for me, and that’s often translated through my work. Its important to me to connect with community, but also to disconnect and find that balance.”
A self-taught musician, Davis’s music career has an eclectic and experimental history as frontman and songwriter for several different bands over the last decade. He currently tours and records with Screen Door Porch, and plays locally with Boondocks, Aaron Davis & The Mystery Machine and solo. A prying interest in adventurous song craft and sound textures has led to a skillful development on a number of instruments. His primary toolbox includes acoustic, electric and slide guitar, lead and harmony vocals, mandolin, banjo, harmonica, a homemade Samsonite suitcase kick drum, and on occasion, a piano, bass guitar or pedal steel.
His lyrical approach hovers in a unique space between literal and broad-stroke. Davis often provides enough detail to inspire the listener’s imagination while enabling them to develop their own interpretation.
“When you hear a Guy Clark or a John Prine song, you know exactly what they are talking about. Its stark and honest,” he told the Jackson Hole News & Guide. “Songwriters like Townes Van Zandt and Lucinda Williams can roll out powerful lyrics within a framework that also raises some question marks. I really dig that too. It’s poetic and mysterious to me—not hitting listeners over the head with the obvious while drawing them in with literal phrases. I relate to both of these styles.”
Best Musician/Silver: Planet JH Weekly‘s Best of Jackson Hole Reader’s poll 2013
Best Musician/Bronze: Planet JH Weekly’s Best of Jackson Hole Reader’s poll 2012
Screen Door Porch—Davis’s soulful Roots-Rock/Americana/folk-blues/alt-country project with songstress Seadar Rose has gained steam in the last three years. The Duo and The Quartet have spent solid time road trekkin’ this great land of American venues, including two stints in Austin to record their debut studio album, Screen Door Porch, and sophomore gem, The Fate & The Fruit, at Ramble Creek Studio with co-producer Britton Beisenherz (Monohans, Milton Mapes). The debut album set the bar by being named to five BEST-OF Lists: Roots Music Report’s Top 100 Folk Albums, NPR’s Best of Wyoming, Tupelo Honey’s Top 20 Americana Releases, Twangville’s Top 100, and American Roots UK Editor’s Top 25. The album was also incorporated into Pandora Internet Radio, and reached #16 on the Roots Music Folk Radio Chart alongside Bob Dylan.
The Fate & The Fruit is a seamless evolution, delving into subjects of life’s adversities and triumphs, taking chances and getting knocked down, yet decidedly resilient amongst the fray—delivered in their signature honey and grit style. It reached #21 on the Euro-Americana Chart and #29 on the Roots Music Report Roots-Rock Chart (not far behind Bonnie Raitt and Tom Waits), is and is regularly spun at Americana stations coast-to-coast and in Europe. The Fate & The Fruit was recently voted #2 Album of 2012 by Wyoming Public Radio listeners! SDP was also named in BEST LOCAL BAND and BEST LOCAL ALBUM OF THE YEAR categories in Planet Jackson Hole Weekly’s Best of 2013 Reader’s Poll.
The mainstream exposure has put Screen Door Porch onto festival stages — South by Southwest, Grand Teton Music Festival, Sawtooth Music Festival, Magic City Blues Festival, Americana Music Fest (backing Jim Avett), Livingston Summerfest, Beartrap Summer Festival and Nowoodstock Fest. Traveling predominantly as a Quartet, the unit has grown tight and more experimental. Davis handles acoustic & electric guitars, banjo, mandolin, and harmonica, with Rose on acoustic & electric guitars, mandolin, and kazoogle, supported by Tom Davidson on fretless bass and Andy Peterson on drums/3-party harmony. Sets fluctuate between roots-rock, lush alt-folk, and stripped-down acoustic soul. ScreenDoorPorch.com.
Davis’s 2008 solo album, Rear View Mirror, defines a turning point in his career. The self-produced, self-engineered CD of original material reached #16 on the Roots Music Folk Radio Chart alongside Old Crow Medicine Show. The lead track “1937,” about life during the New Deal in Jackson Hole, earned runner-up honors at the Dreams Acres Music Festival Songwriter Contest. While Davis played many of the instruments on the release, contributions from talent like bassist Bill Plummer (The Rolling Stones, Tom Waits) and mandolinist Ben Winship (Loose Ties, Brother Mule) molded a vibe that caught the attention of Americana lovers. Songs were also paired with Jack Johnson and Brett Dennen tunes for the television series Road Trip Nation.
A deeper look into his discography includes a live release with alt-country-blues band Boondocks, Live at the Silver Dollar (2007), soul-funk-jazz sextet Global Review’s Transcend (2006), and an out-of-print EP, Livin’ (2002). For bootlegs of his college and post-college bands—Grilled Cheese and Furthermore—you’ll have to dig much deeper! All of his releases are available from his self-managed store, CDBaby.com, iTunes and most major retailers.
Aiding in the perpetual, organic growth of his fanbase, Davis and his various projects have been fortunate to share concert bills with Willie Nelson, Wilco, Justin Townes Earle, Steve Earle, Brian Wilson, Yonder Mountain String Band, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Jim Avett, James McMurtry, Grace Potter and The Nocturnals, Band of Heathens, Kaki King, Malcolm Holcombe, Reckless Kelly, Henry Butler, Mickey & The Motorcars, Jalan Crossland, Benyaro, Isaac Hayden, and Anne & Pete Sibley, as well as appearances at South by Southwest Festival, Grand Teton Music Festival, Americana Music Festival and Conference, and Jackson Hole Music Festival.
In the spirit of supporting the need for more listening-focused venues, he founded Songwriter’s Alley in 2008. The regional singer-songwriter series generally hosts three up-and-coming songwriters per concert and takes place within uncommon, often art-fused spaces.
For more information about guitar lessons, send him an email.
As a weekly music columnist for Planet Jackson Hole Weekly since 2005, Davis has been fortunate to interview and photograph some of the greatest artists of our time—Taj Mahal, Dr. John, Bela Fleck, Maceo Parker, Del McCoury, Michael Franti, John Perry Barlow, Mickey Hart, Warren Haynes, Robert Cray, John Prine, Lyle Lovett, Buddy Guy, Ruthie Foster, Grace Potter, and scores of colorful local bands. In addition to his column, Davis has contributed cover stories, news pieces, travel narratives, photo essays, and reviews of CDs, concerts and movies to the alternative weekly. Free issues of Planet Jackson Hole Weekly, including Aaron’s weekly column, can be downloaded at http://planetjh.com/.
Beginning in 2011, AaronDavisMusic.com not only became a source for Davis’s musical endeavors outside of Screen Door Porch, but also the main thoroughfare for Jackson Hole Music Blog.
His pieces have also appeared in Jackson Hole Review, The Oregonian, The Business Journal, Jambase.com, Libertarian Party News, The Statesman Journal, and Cascade Policy Institute.