Brad Davis: one new guitar and three new records in 2013

Brad DavisIt’s only January, but fiery flatpicker and noted singer/songwriter Brad Davis has a full year’s worth of notable achievements he can announce all at once. The new Bluegrass Valley Records label has tasked Brad with recording and delivering three new projects in 2013, and Daley Guitars has named him as their first pro endorser.

Davis is one of those guys who have an impact on the music world, but in a less visible manner than the superstars he helps sound better on the road and in the studio. His songs have been recorded by country artists like Tim McGraw and Jo-El Sonnier, as well as Styx guitarist/vocalist Tommy Shaw and Hollywood icon Billy Bob Thornton.

Brad also served as guitarist with Earl Scruggs’ band during the final years of the banjo man’s life, and has produced and tracked guitar on albums for just about every artist in Nashville. He’s also a popular clinician, and is known to his many students as “The Shredder” for his adaptation of speed-picking techniques more common in rock to the world of acoustic and flatpicking guitar.

Sim Daley built a custom guitar for Brad, based on the timeless 28-style dreadnaught, which he says he put to work right away.

“I bought the Daley guitar because I needed a new axe for the studio, and used this guitar on my new record for Bluegrass Valley. I am having it set up now and working on getting an after market pickup, and I do love the instrument, for sure!!

It plays like a very dry, very old 40s model dreadnought. When it sound this good, you can’t put it down.”


We asked Brad how he happened to get signed up for three records at once with a new label.

Brad Davis performing with Billy Bob Thornton“I was working on a new film score with Billy Bob Thornton and, as usual, got inspired with several new song ideas. I recorded them quickly in rough form, and later that month finished one of them with my main co-writer Paula Breedlove. Since this was Gospel bluegrass, I enlisted the help of Pastor Doyle Hayes to join in.

That first song is titled The Road to Emmaus. My manager Norm Blanchard (BMG Management group in Nashville), played it for John Mathis Jr. (Mansion Entertainment/Pathway Record Group) during a cigar smoking session, and he loved it. For a long time John has been wanting to start a new record label in the bluegrass market, but was waiting on something to spur him to action.

Brad Davis on stage with Earl Scruggs at MerleFestSo Road to Emmaus sparked the beginning of that new bluegrass label, and is their first single of 2013.

They first want me to do a Gospel bluegrass release, followed by a secular bluegrass album, and then a bluegrass guitar instrumental project. So that’s three records on that label for 2013.

I am just very fortunate that people still like what I do!!”

Here’s a snippet from the single, which can be heard in its entirety at Airplay Direct.

You can keep up with Brad online.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.