By Luke Barry
Special to The Telegram
As the calendar year winds down, Mick Davis choses to crank it up for one more round of musical expression.
Davis’ latest, the four-song EP “The Sound of Jeans”, was recorded and produced over five nights in October and released digitally on Nov. 15.
“I guess I’m walking the walk,” Davis said. “I mean, I’m writing songs and I want to record them and then put them out. That’s my job, that’s what I want to do.”
“I’ve done a bit this year, I just felt the end of the year would be a little empty if I didn’t do a little more.”
One of the more prolific local singer-songwriters of the past few decades, Davis’ discography spans a range of country, pop and rock albums, EPs and singles which showcase the diversity of sounds that have earned the Wesleyville area native a cupboard full of hardware.
But this one is different.
Alongside longtime friend, bandmate and drummer Elliot Dicks, he enlisted the expertise of engineer Krisjan Leslie to create “a salute to my heroes and good stuff to drink and party and dance to.”
While Leslie’s resumé dates back to the heyday of mid-90s Canrock with Limblifter, The Age of Electric and Zuckerbaby production credits to his name, listeners of “The Sound of Jeans” will find Davis true to earlier inspirations: southern Bible Belt rockabilly a la Buddy Holly and Jerry Lee Lewis.
“He (Leslie) is an old soul like me, he’s not doing a whole lot of modern trickery,” Davis said. “He knows what I want, we speak the same language.”
“I don’t even speak musical language, I talk about bands and sounds I like and then he just makes it happen.”
The other facet that made this EP different for Davis was Dicks.
“We play together a lot, but we haven’t recorded together since The Novaks and that’s kind of a drag,” he said. “All the other recordings I’ve done have been on my own, or with Thin Love (Barry LeDrew and Craig Follett).”
“We’re just too good together. We have this sort of magic that you only have with so many people.”
The two approached this project from a very organic, free-wheeling perspective.
“I didn’t give him any demos or any inkling of what any songs sounded like until we got into the studio,” said Davis. “Four songs, five nights, so I’m going in the studio and I’m picking up my guitar and I’m going ‘this one goes like this’ and I gave him carte blanche to do whatever he wanted.”
“He (Dicks) has a great head for ideas and he helped me out a lot. He really helped shape the tunes.”
The end result is an off-the-cuff recording of vintage jukebox-and-milkshake rock and roll.
“I thought it was going to be much more rustic,” Davis said. “I thought we were going to make a real sort of Americana-type thing, and maybe we did in a way, but all that other stuff always gets in there, all that rock and the later stuff that I grew up on.”
“It’s a sound of work I guess, is the point. It’s that work ethic which you got to have in rock and roll, too, I think.”
“The Sound of Jeans” can be found on Spotify, iTunes, Apple Music or Google Play.
You can catch Davis in action next at The Black Sheep (164 Water St.) on Thursday, Nov. 22.