Smokestack Lightnin' Home Page -- The Blues Profile Page
David Wilcox is not himself lately. I should know - that guy is me. I’ve been David Wilcox all my life, so it’s strange to hear what Reverie, the new David Wilcox CD, sounds like. The David Wilcox I knew didn’t want to risk being misunderstood, so his songs were more like memoirs than novels. But these songs have some real characters in them. What happened? All I can say is that I love following where the music leads. My intention is not to be tricky. I just like how a short song can start a long conversation. I enjoy seeing new landscapes and perspectives, and these songs are like pictures I take on my travels Some are from wild points of view and that’s why I like them. And yes, there are also some songs on this new CD that speak straight from the heart just like the old David Wilcox always used to do, but this time he’s surrounded by an interesting cast of characters.
I’ve made a bunch of records before getting to this one. 16 have been released prior to ‘Reverie’, starting in 1987 with a disc called ‘Nightshift Watchman’. That was followed up by a trio of discs on A&M Records, 2 each on Koch Records and Vanguard, (A&M and Vanguard both later released compilations as well), and my last 6 discs have all been released through What Are Records?
Some musicians travel in order to play music, but I guess I’m the opposite. I play music in order to travel. I was a traveler first. For the first decade of my travels, I loved seeing different communities as I was riding my bicycle all over the world. I’ve got pictures and memories of great adventures from back when I was traveling light. All I wanted back then was something to give back. I wanted a way to meet my tribe, find friends along the way. Music has been a way to offer a better trade for all the inspiration I get from the people and places I visit.
For more than twenty years now, I have been following the navigation I get from music. I love to follow where music leads, not geographically, but emotionally. One of my first songs, GONE TO SANTA FE, I wrote long before I traveled there. It sounds like a love song for a woman who dares me to come with her on an adventure, but that’s just a way to sing what music has been for me. And now, twenty four years later, there is a new song on the latest recording about going to Ireland. No, I haven’t been yet, but through writing the song, I set my heart on what I really want to find there. Not a tourist vacation, but rather an experience that wakes up my spirit. Music has always given me a hint of a point of view that is beyond my horizon.
Between those two songs, there are decades of others that also chart the course of my adventure. There are some that led to specific cities, like THREE BROTHERS that got me to Jerusalem, but most are navigating destinations of the heart. My songs are either beckoning me toward a way to feel more alive, or else marking a hole I don’t want to fall in again. I would definitely be lost without music. I wouldn’t have even known what to wish for. But now, after all these years, the bliss I glimpsed only in song is within reach most of the time. I am grateful for all the eye opening and heart opening experiences, but this is not the typical music business success story. Many years ago, when someone asked me where I wanted my music to be in ten years, I put my hand on my heart and said: “Right here.”
I have always sung the songs that kept me sane. I love music that moves me, but only if it moves me forward. I don’t want to sing songs that stay stuck in the same old illusions that fooled me before. I trust that when a song really moves me, it moves me because it is coming from a place I am going. Each song is like a postcard that inspires me to travel, but instead of just a snapshot of a place, it’s a preview of a whole different way of seeing. Through songs, I get to know who I might become, because I experience a joy and peace and gratitude that I know are possible; all I have to do is go the distance.