Come listen to Ward Davis' stories at The Strand

By Shelby Harrell | Jan 11, 2017
Photo by: Donated photo

When it comes to writing music and performing his songs, Ward Davis, 37, has plenty of stories to tell.

The Arkansas native who currently lives near Nashville, Tennessee, started out his career as a singer, but soon found another voice inside him — his lyrics.

And in just the last few years, his words have been taking off, and are quickly gaining attention. In fact, his songs have been recorded by Trace Adkins, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Wade Hayes, Sammy Kershaw and many others.

"The best thing that ever happened to me musically was when Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson recorded my song," Davis said, referring to his song "Unfair Weather Friend."

Ward took a moment out of his busy day to talk about his upcoming show in Waynesville next week — and he admits he is excited to bring his music to this part of the country.

Haywood County will get the chance to hear some of Davis' heart-felt lyrics next week at The Strand on North Main Street.

Ward hasn't been out to Western North Carolina in many years and said he is looking forward to playing an acoustic show at the intimate Strand Theater, which only seats 80-100 people.

"I like telling stories," he said. "Sometimes I write something and I can tell immediately that it's special and sometimes,you write one and you know it's average. I always just try to do something better the next time."

And sometimes the result is telling a story about a friend or just an idea he has in his mind — Ward has even gone so far as to write about some of his homeless friends.

""With the kind of songs I write, I try to use empathy and perspective as far as the subject matter," he said.

The struggle, however, is being away from home for longer periods of time, Ward said. Married and with an 18-month-old daughter at home, Davis finds it tough being gone for almost months at a time.

But at the same time, going on tour is the ultimate goal, he said, and being able to perform in front of people makes it all worthwhile.

"There's not a better feeling than when you have an audience and it's like they're up there with you," he said. "Everyone has bad nights, but on the good nights, there's nothing like it. Music is a circular thing. The greatest pleasure in my life is getting to play music, and for some other people their greatest pleasure is to get to listen to music. So it's just everyone having a good time."

In early 2015, Davis teamed up with Grammy Winning producer Jim “Moose” Brown to record his first full-length album of original material. The album, “15 Years in a 10 Year Town,” includes eight self-penned songs along with the Ed Bruce classic, “Old Wore Out Cowboys,” a collaboration with Willie Nelson and Jamey Johnson. On top of having his own solo career, in 2009, Ward, along with friends Rick Huckaby & Matt Nolen, formed the alt-country band, The Beagles in Nashville.

Since then they have written and recorded two studio albums – “Meet the Beagles” in 2010 & “Mucho Dos Grande,” in 2012. They were featured on the A&E original series “Crazy Hearts Nashville” in 2014 and performed background vocals on the song they wrote for Trace Adkins, “So What If I Do.”

When asked about his success, Davis said the key was letting go of other people's expectations.

"Don't listen to anybody," he said, adding that in just the last year he has flourished simply by doing what he wanted. "I decided do my own thing and not care what anybody thinks and that's when things started kicking for me. Music is subjective, so if you try to make what other people like just to please them, they'll get it and they don't like it. Everyone liked Bob Dylan because he was Bob Dylan."

Be sure to come listen to Davis's lyrics in an up-close and personal setting on Jan. 15 at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are $18. Visit www.38main.com.