Davis Causey

It’s funny how certain memories stick with you. Around 2010-11, I was touring with Randall Bramblett. I can’t remember exactly where we were but it was close to the beach. Could’ve been Myrtle, could’ve been Daytona. My brain is a little foggy. We had played an early show and had the evening off.

I typically traveled with Randall and Michael in the band van. Gerry and Davis would usually meet us at shows whenever they joined in on the fun. This trip, I joined Gerry and Davis for an evening out on the town and some delicious seafood.

In the car, Davis Causey was blaring this record – “Ray Sings, Basie Swings”. It is an album that mixes previously unreleased Ray Charles vocal performances from 1973 with newly recorded instrumental tracks by the contemporary Count Basie Orchestra. Davis couldn’t get enough. He kept rewinding parts to replay Ray’s breaks and vocal lines while Gerry drove and egged him on. both hooting and gasping all the while. It was inspiring to see such masterful musicians still appreciating the art. The three of us were all listening with the pure intent to appreciate the magical sounds coming out of the little car speakers. It continued on as the topic of conversation during our dinner. At one point, Davis told me to never worry about what people think about my playing – just get up there and play my ass off. He could tell that I was trying to comp the parts and keep my playing style in-line with the band’s sound – holding back. I think his words were something like – “Play what you play – F#ck’em if they don’t like it.” This was a life lesson from one of the highest caliber guitarists that I have ever been blessed to play with. I think about it whenever I hit the stage these days. Enjoy the clams y’all ’cause I ain’t gonna stop. I’m still picturing that car ride- Listening to Ray, Davis was all smiles – loving life as the music was lifting him up. I am blessed to have been in that car that evening.

I was cutting the grass today when this memory reappeared in my head. Can’t believe it that was 13 years ago. I popped in my earbuds and queued up “Ray Sings, Basie Swings”. Damn y’all! This whole record is fire! My little electric lawnmower gives me about 50 mins worth of cuts (which matches my energy levels these days). Just as the album wrapped up – my battery died. I looked up and smiled at the irony. I couldn’t wait for the battery to recharge so I could listen to it again. It’s been on repeat ever since.

Sadly, Davis left this mortal world in February of this year and moved on to a higher plane. I hope you had a chance to see him play. Splitting leads with him has been a major highlight of my musical career. He was truly original and absolutely incredible at melting faces with his Strat tuned DADGBD. Today, I imagine him getting to sit-in with Basie’s band and Ray on these tracks in the big jam in the sky- chopping grungy suspended chords along with the big band and matching horn lines with his soaring guitar with that huge grin on his face.

I’ll leave a few links below. Whatever platform you use, do yourself a favor and give the record a spin. Every second is solid gold. Check out Davis Causey while you’re at it. He has plenty on YouTube with Randall, Chuck Leavell, Shawn Mulliins, Sea Level, etc.

Thank you for the lesson, Davis and Gerry. Peace and love, y’all.





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