Smokestack Lightnin' Home Page -- The Blues Profile Page
Davina & The Vagabonds
SOWERS - VOCALS/PIANO/UKULELE
MICHAEL CARVALE - VOCALS/UPRIGHT BASS
ALEC TACKMANN– VOCALS/DRUMS
DAN EIKMEIER – VOCALS/TRUMPET
BEN LINK - VOCALS/TROMBONE
Davina Sowers and the Vagabonds have created a stir on the national blues scene with their high-energy live shows, sharp-dressed professionalism, and Sowers’ commanding stage presence. With influences ranging from Fats Domino and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band to Aretha Franklin and Tom Waits, the band is converting audiences one show at a time, from Vancouver to Miami and across Europe. The band’s latest recording, 2011’s Black Cloud, was named one of the 10 best releases of the year by the Minneapolis Star & Tribune. In 2012 the band performed in 21 states and 6 countries in Europe, and the band is hard at work on a new record (due for release Fall 2013), spending time in the studio between tours.
So much more than just a blues act, DATV’s shows are filled with New Orleans charm, Memphis soul swagger, dark theatrical moments that evoke Kurt Weill, and tender gospel passages. Davina’s voice and stage presence defy category in a different way. Davina has been compared to Etta James, Amy Winehouse, Janis Joplin, Billie Holiday and Betty Boop, but comparisons don’t suffice: Sowers is a true original.
Something unique to this “blues” project is the instrumentation. This rollicking quintet is held together by Sowers’ keyboard playing, with acoustic bass, drums, and a spicy trumpet and trombone horn section. The group’s focused, clean sound and emphasis on acoustic instruments is novel to both blues and jazz worlds, and sets the show closer to New Orleans than to Chicago. This has set the Vagabonds apart at blues festivals in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Sighisoara, Romania, Sierre, Switzerland, Kemi, Finland, and 2012’s New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. Davina and band will make their debut at the Monterey Jazz Festival this September. Catch this one-of-a-kind live show while they are in town!
DATV average over 300 performance dates a year, trying to share their music with the world.
Awards : “Road To Memphis MN” 2009, King of Beale Street 2009, and International Songwriting Competition Finalist 2010.
Shared the stage with : Pinetop Perkins, Aaron Neville,
Gary Moore, 10 Years After, The Mannish Boys, Robert Cray, Los Lonely Boys, Scottie “Bones” Miller, Willie Big Eyes Smith,
Ana Popovic, Booker T and The MGs, Bobby Rush, Irma Thomas, James Hunter, Bobbie Blue Bland, Willie Big Eyes Smith, and many others.
Michael Carvale - STRING BASS/ VOCALS
Acoustic / electric bassist and vocalist, Michael Carvale, was born in Trenton , NJ. Moving to Minneapolis, MN in the early 90′s to attend The McNally School of Music (formerly Music Tech), Carvale was originally a guitar player. There, he was exposed to music from all over the world, learning the niche of a bass player. At the age of 23, Michael purchased his first bass, playing with any musician and/or band he could. Carvale quickly learned the life of a working musician. Over the years, his bass playing landed him gigs all over the United States, Canada and northern Europe. Michael has played with the who’s who in the Twin Cities and has performed with many known music legends on a national level. When not on stage, Carvale commits to session work and gives private lessons. Michael Carvale has received numerous Reader’s Poll Awards for his performance and contributions with different artists. He received two life-time achievement awards for his work with The Lamont Cranston Band over the years. One was the prestigious “P.O.P. Award” from the Minnesota Music Academy. In August 2006 he was inducted in the Minnesota Rock & Roll/Country Hall of Fame.
Alec Tackmann - Born and raised in Rochester, MN, Alec Tackmann has been a musician for most of his life. He started on piano as a kindergardener until switching to drums in middle school. From then until graduation he participated in nearly every musical opportunity possible including school marching band, jazz band, private lessons, and numerous garage bands.
After high school Alec was accepted to Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. While at Berklee, Alec studied primarily under Rick Considine and Terri Lyne Carrington among many others. After four years he completed his Bachelor of Music in drum set performance including an internship at Capitol Records in Hollywood, CA.
Upon finishing Berklee, Alec moved back to Minnesota to build a career as an independent musician; keeping a rigorous performing schedule while maintaining a private teaching studio of roughly 45 students per week and working as a conductor for numerous high school musicals. In the summer of 2012, Alec became a “Vagabond” full time and still teaches privately in his home when not traveling.
For more information, visit http://www.alectackmann.com
Trumpeter Dan Eikmeier grew up in the St. Cloud, MN area. He has been living and performing in the Twin Cities for ten years. Dan received a B.M. in Trumpet Performance from the University of Minnesota in 2003. During this time he gained additional performing experience with the Phantom Regiment Drum and Bugle Corps. He has recently performed and recorded with the Willie August Project and Ada Jane, and spent six years as a member of Big Walter Smith and the Groove Merchants. Dan also works in Artist and Media Relations at The Dakota Jazz Club and Restaurant in Downtown Minneapolis. At The Dakota he has had the honor of sitting in with James Cotton, Luther Kent, Sophia Shorai, Glen David Andrews and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. Dan’s trumpet instructors have included Frank Pasquerella, Dr. Albert Moore, Peter Bond, Petr Nedbal, Dave Anderson, Dave Jensen and Dr. David Baldwin. His primary musical influences include Dave Douglas and Jimmy Page. He currently lives in St. Paul, MN with his wife, Dana Eikmeier.
Ben Link has been performing in the Twin Cities since 2002. He studied at Indiana University with M. Dee Stewart and David Baker, and has recently completed a bachelor’s degree in trombone performance at the McNally Smith College of Music where he worked closely with Scott Agster and Pete Whitman. In May 2011 he traveled to Peru with the McNally Smith XTet where the ensemble performed with the renowned Peruvian fusion guitarist Andres Prado and attended percussion masterclasses with Hugo Alcazar. In the Twin Cities Ben has worked with Tropical Zone, Salsabrosa, K-Libre 24, PB and the Jam, Big Toe and the Jam, the Acme Jazz Company, and a number of musical theatre productions including an on-stage role in the Minnesota History Theatre’s Sisters of Swing. He also played in the original soundtrack for the movie short “My Milton” by Ben Kelly and Jeremy Hosterman, featured at the 2011 St. Paul Art Crawl.