Originally from Arkansas, singer-songwriter Ward Davis has lived and worked in Nashville for 15 years, composing tunes for artists like Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Sammy Kershaw and many more. In addition to his own solo career, in 2009 he and fellow singer-songwriters Rick Huckaby and Matt Nolen formed The Beagles, an alt-country band that has released two studio albums. A few weeks ago, on September 18th, Davis released his debut solo album, 15 Years in a 10 Year Town. The album is an honest collection of songs that you can tell truly came from the heart (not just the pen) with Davis’ vocals being just as deep and emotive as contemporaries Jamey Johnson and Whitey Morgan.
The compilation opens with the gritty, harmonica laced “No Goin’ Town” which is followed by eight more acoustic tracks of sincere American music in the vein of Chris Knight. These are songs, including “Old Wore Out Cowboys” featuring Johnson and Willie Nelson that embrace struggles, question decisions (and the future) and welcome love.
The good, bad and in-between of love is the focus of the mid-tempo “More Goodbye” which deals with the remains of a relationship, “I Got You” which finds solace in having the one and “Nobody’s Looking” a song that sees two co-workers continuing a clandestine relationship. There’s depth and reflection on the introspective “15 Years in a 10 Year Town” which paints a vivid picture of chasing your dreams in Music City; the tender, heartfelt ode to friendship, “Unfair Weather Friend” (which also can be found on Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard’s Django and Jimmie), and “The Overpass” an emotional tale of a man who lives “below the cars and trucks rolling by” that will hit your heart and make you think.
The song that closes the record becomes more powerful with each listen. “Skeptic’s Prayer” ponders what many of us have wondered at one time or another, asking the Lord to show us the way, a sign as to what His plan is for us.“Hey Jesus what’s the plan/If you’ve got it figured out then spill it man/Don’t feed me riddles, I can’t understand.”
After fifteen years, Davis seems to be following the plan–the rest of us simply need to catch up because 15 Years in a 10 Year Town is a musical journey worth accompanying him on.
Review originally posted on The Daily Country: http://thedailycountry.com/6/archives/10-2015/3.html