The distance between a sure bet and a Mystery is adventure fueled by trepidation. Award winning singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Aaron Davis works the lesser-worn corners of the American musical fabric through an unconventional lens. Slide banjo? Yep. Detuned guitar made of metal and an electric cigar box? Ok, let’s do this. From “searing slide guitar” (Country Weekly) in the Southern country-blues vein ala Duane Allman, to grooving poetic tunes that swing from fingerstyle folk-grass to gritty Americana and soulful Rock N Roll, Davis has been described as a “truly phenomenal songwriter” (About.com). He draws from his rural Kentucky roots as much as his love for the Western landscape and the colorful characters that inhabit them. The rootsy nature of these transmissions is compounded by fervent texture experts that steer the dynamic touring band, Aaron Davis & The Mystery Machine.
Davis’s ninth album and second release under his name, The Meander (Summer 2019), features both full band songs with The Mystery Machine alongside minimalist compositions. The greater Wyoming music community contributes to the vibe with a dozen studio guests including Wyoming folk hero Jalan Crossland. From acoustic storytelling songs to epic electric improvisation and interplay with veteran bandmates, instrumentation at his live shows include electric/acoustic/resonator guitars, banjo, harmonica, lap steel, and stomp cigar box, while his studio credits include pedal steel, bass, mandolin, and percussion.
Davis has contributed songs for various projects including film, commercial, and four critically acclaimed albums as co-founder of decade long touring act Screen Door Porch before the revered band announced a hiatus in 2017. According to music executive and critic Bill Bentley, “Screen Door Porch has transformed roots music into something much larger, a down home good time vibe.”
The first two Screen Door Porch albums—Screen Door Porch (2010) and The Fate & The Fruit (2012)—were internationally recognized in a combined eight “Best Albums of the Year” lists while hovering in the Top 25 of the Euro-Americana Chart and Top 30 of the Roots Music Report Roots-Rock Chart. Modern Settler (2015) represents a lyrical return to Wyoming landscapes and it’s mythical characters and was voted #1 Album of 2015 by Wyoming Public Radio listeners. Pay it Forward (2017) shows a band at their creative peak before taking an indefinite hiatus under the best of terms.
Native to Kentucky and now working the songwriting dirt from Hoback, Wyoming near Jackson Hole, Davis is also a freelance writer, photographer, studio engineer/producer at Three Hearted Recording Studio, founder of juke joint blues and alt-country band Boondocks, curator/founder of the concert series Songwriter’s Alley, and co-founder of the WYOmericana Caravan Tour. According to The New York Times, Davis along with his wife Seadar Rose, had “entrepreneurial gumption in producing the traveling concert circus” that made waves across the Mountain West. The award-winning documentary WYOMERICANA depicts the inaugural tour in 2014, which unites and exposes original acts in Wyoming.
The aforementioned projects have allowed him to share bills with some of his heroes—Wilco, Willie Nelson, Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit, Buddy Guy, Sam Bush, Steve Earle, Grace Potter, Justin Townes Earle, and James McMurtry. This has also led him to festival, theater and club stages across the country as well as private events and the occasional wedding around Jackson Hole when he’s not on the road or knee-deep in a river wielding a fly rod.
As a freelance writer and photographer—currently with Jackson Hole Buckrail and formerly as the weekly music columnist for Planet Jackson Hole 2005-2017—Aaron 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, Wayne Coyne of Flaming Lips, Robert Cray, John Prine, Lyle Lovett, Buddy Guy, Ruthie Foster, Grace Potter, Mark Farina, and scores of colorful local bands. In addition to writing about music, Aaron has contributed several cover stories, news pieces, travel narratives, and photo essays as well as reviews of albums, concerts and movies. Jackson Hole Review, The Oregonian, The Business Journal, Jambase.com, Libertarian Party News, The Statesman Journal, and Cascade Policy Institute have also published his pieces.
“Davis has a particularly interesting approach that mixes poetry, groove and roughness.” ~Lonestar Time (Italy)
“Something new and fresh that can’t or shouldn’t be compared with anyone or anything else.” ~605 Magazine