EXCLUSIVE: Interview With Arkansas Dave

Fast rising country/rock singer Arkansas Dave is gearing up for the release of his self-titled debut album which will be dropping on April 20th. His musical output so far have seen his sound likened to that of Chris Stapleton, Neil Young and Jack White.


Here we speak exclusively to Arkansas Dave to discuss his first LP, musical inspirations, 2018 plans and more:

Growing up who inspired your love of music?
I guess I can contribute my love for music to my parents. Even though they divorced at a early age, they both showed me different styles of music that has really impacted my songwriting style and taste of music. When I was a kid, my dad tried real hard to shelter me from Rock ‘n Roll for some reason. I guess after my mom and dad split, he tried to live a lifestyle polar opposite than what he led with my mother. He was always a hard worker, but started to commit his life more to the church and trying to live a Christian life. My mother, on the other hand, lived hard and did whatever she had to do to survive the abusive relationships she endured after my father. My dad abandoned Rock ‘n’ Roll, after being in a badass band in the 80s to listening to pop country and Christian music and playing in church. Now, my dad has longer hair and a longer beard than I do, and plays Rock ‘n Roll with his Harley Davidson riding, skydiving buddies of his. My mom always has listened to good music…for the most part. I have to say, that she and her ex-husband, Steve, showed me more Classic Rock than anyone else in my life. I learned about more music that inspired me from my mom than I did from my dad…even though he basically showed me how to play music. I have to say they both have impacted my life enough that I found refuge in one of the few things they could agree on – good music. 

When did you realise you wanted to pursue music as a career?
I think that I’ve always wanted to play music as a career basically since I was like 11 or 12 years old. I used to play with this kid from church in my garage, and we dreamed of being the “next biggest Christian rock band” because that’s basically all our parents (meaning my dad….) would really allow us to listen to. All new “secular” music was instantly written off as being basically shit or immoral in my dad’s eyes, and didn’t “stand up to the music his generation made”. He would occasionally be cool and try to show us cool shit when he and my mother would fight over custody of us, so he eventually tried to be cool and slowly admit to liking certain music and told me stories of his younger days. I remember when I was a kid, one of my favorite movies was Wayne’s World. One of the famous scenes from that movie was set inside a music shop that had a sign that said “No Stairway to Heaven”. Curious what that meant, I asked my dad and he obliged by taking me to the closest CD store to buy the Early Days compilation by Led Zeppelin. As soon as I heard John Bonham play the drums, it was over for me. I knew that I wanted to be a rocknroller for the rest of my life. That was probably still the coolest thing my dad has ever done for me…turn me onto Led Zeppelin. 

How would you describe your sound to new listeners?
Growing up in Southern Arkansas, I was surrounded music that is the fabric of American music – blues, country and rock n roll. I would say that I have melded a blend of the sounds of the South that could be best described as Americana Rock ’N Roll. 

What is the main inspiration behind your debut album?
When I started demoing these songs back in 2015, my intent was just to catalogue my songs. As I grow older, my mortality becomes more and more relevant to me, so I decided to start recording my songs in the event that I have an untimely death so that my children could have a way to understand who I am as a person. Most of my songs are very personal, and so I believe that my songs definitely tell my life story. So, I guess I can give my children the credit for the main inspiration of my debut album. 

How does it feel to now be on the brink of releasing you first LP?
Honestly, it’s kinda surreal. This whole journey has been a rollercoaster of emotion. I’d be remiss to say that I would not be here today speaking to you if it wasn’t for my manager, Rusty Hannan, pushing me to record this album and taking charge of the project to actually make it happen. I also have to say that my wife is paramount to me cutting this record. If it wasn’t for her constant support then I would have broke a long time ago. I feel very accomplished and excited to showcase and tour this record around the world. I’m elated.

What can fans expect from the record?
I think music fans can appreciate the honesty of this record. Plain and simple. I try to write music that, not only I enjoy listening to and playing, can be appreciated by anyone that enjoys good, honest Blues based Rock ‘N Roll. To me, I feel that this record is has a classic sound that will hopefully stand the test of time. But as they say, only time will tell….

Do you have any plans to tour the album?
Absolutely. I’m about to go out on the road later this month and into May. I’ll be stopping in Colorado for the release of my record on 4/20 then route over to Arkansas and on to Nashville for some gigs and radio spots. I’m particularly excited about my European summer tour. I’ll be out on the road for a total of 53 days going from Sweden to Denmark to Germany and Switzerland to all over the U.K. The crown jewel of the tour will most definitely be the humbling opportunity of playing the Montreux Jazz Festival. I can not put into words how grateful I am to have these opportunities given to me. I just hope that I can give the good people that have given me these chances the best performance that I can possible give; and that I’ll be asked to come back. I’m truly humbled. 

What else can we expect from this year?
I plan on going back into the studio later this year to record my second album. I’m already starting to demo the songs. I’ll probably start playing some of the newer material this summer while on tour to really test the songs. It’s going to be a great year. I feel very blessed to be in the position I’m in; I just want to make the best of it. Thanks for your time. See y’all down the road. 

Make sure you follow Arkansas Dave on Twitter @thearkansasdave to keep up to date with all his latest music and tour news!

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Written by Laura Klonowski

Qualified music journalist! Writing single/album/live reviews, feature articles, interviews, and news pieces.
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