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“The Voice” finalist Joshua Davis celebrates “ordinary moments” on new album

David James Swanson
Joshua Davis's new album "The Way Back Home" was released on October 13.

Michigan singer-songwriter Joshua Davis released a new studio album, The Way Back Home, on Oct. 13.

The album comes some two and a half years after NBC’s The Voice introduced the rest of America to Davis, who had already built a strong fan base throughout his home state.

Davis joined Stateside to talk about his music and his inspirations.

On working with his producer, Steve Berlin of Los Lobos

Davis was excited to work with Berlin, since he cited Los Lobos as a “huge influence on my music for a really long time,” he said. “So to have him working on the album was a real honor.”

Still, Davis was nervous. “It’s the first time that I worked with a producer on one of my solo records,” he said. “Usually I produce my records myself and so that was a big leap for me because I’m kind of a control freak when it comes to my stuff and I don’t think I would have trusted a lot of other hands in the mix.”

On writing songs about “everyday” joys

Davis’ album is composed of songs that detail not the key moments of his life, but the ordinary. “I’m always kind of, as an artist, liv[ing] with an observer’s eye and pick up on all these things and lately I’ve been really finding these ordinary moments and writing about those rather than these big emotional highs and lows, and it is a little scary,” he said. “You wonder what the hell you’re going to write about, what the substance is and how people are going to react because there’s so many songs about these peaks and valleys that, you know, it’s kind of hard to put into words the loveliness of the ... everyday.”

On how growing up in Michigan shaped his music

“I grew up in the folk realm and I grew up going to a lot of music festivals around Michigan,” said Davis. He went to a number of music festivals around the state — Wheatland, Hiawatha, BlissFest — and “that’s kind of where my music came from.” It was at festivals in Detroit’s Hart Plaza that Davis learned a distinctly Midwestern music ethos. “That sense [of music being about community and about collaboration] is really deeply in our music here in the Midwest and specifically in Michigan.”

Listen above for the full conversation.

Support for arts and culture coverage comes in part from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs.

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