Guy Davis and Fabrizio Poggi will rock the Prestige Vernon Lodge stage for the Vernon Folk-Roots Society Oct. 10. (Josheph A. Rosen photo)

Guy Davis and Fabrizio Poggi will rock the Prestige Vernon Lodge stage for the Vernon Folk-Roots Society Oct. 10. (Josheph A. Rosen photo)

Guy Davis to rock Vernon Folk-Roots stage

Performance is Oct. 10 at Prestige Vernon Lodge

Paul Tessier

Special to The Morning Star

An act of kindness by a perceptive elementary school teacher marked Guy Davis to this day.

“I had this Grade 3 teacher Mrs. Hughes. I’ll always remember her,” he recalls. “At our elementary school, only kids in Grade 5 and up could play in the band. One day she brought me into the band room where all the kids were set up to play. She got me to stand in front of the band on the podium and conduct the band. I stood there and just happily waved my arms – I didn’t know any different. But she could tell, even back then, the music was in me.”

The music, particularly the blues, is still in Davis. He and Italian-born harmonica ace Fabrizio Poggi will be performing live for the Vernon Folk-Roots Music Society Oct. 10 at the Prestige Vernon Lodge.

Davis vividly remembers other significant events that shaped his musical upbringing.

“At the age of eight, I attended a summer music camp put on by Pete Seeger’s brother. There was lots of folk music all over the camp — lots of guitars and lots of five string banjos. I had already picked the harmonica but the main instrument that got to me at that camp was the five-string banjo. A few months later at Christmas, my dad bought me a five-string banjo. It was a special Christmas.”

A few years later in 1967 at another summer camp, Davis was profoundly influenced again.

“I was in my teens when we went to this blues show in Cambridge, Massachusetts. They let us into a show in the afternoon to see Buddy Guy with Junior Wells and his band. It was a four-piece band and my eyes just about popped out of my head- watching Buddy Guy bend strings.” Davis says. “My brain was getting compressed watching Junior Wells suck all the air out of a harmonica, bending those notes. It woke me up. Later when I heard this wild guy, Jimi Hendrix do Voodoo Child, it shook me. It absolutely shook me.”

Over the years, Davis has played the blues from the Equator to the Arctic Circle, even playing for the visiting Queen of Denmark for a children’s home in Greenland. He’s been called “An Ambassador of the Blues” and is also an author and a film, television and Broadway actor. He’s appeared on the Conan O’Brien and David Letterman shows.

Most recently, his collaboration with Fabrizio Poggi has yielded two successful albums: Juba Dance (2013) and Sonny & Brownie’s Last Train (2017), which garnered a Grammy nomination for Best Traditional Blues Recording.

“Fabrizio is a gentle fellow and a wonderful spirit,” Davis says. “He’s a published author. He’s written historical books about the blues. He loves the blues and he celebrates music wherever he finds it. Playing with him is like watching a man free himself from chains of prison. It’s hard to describe — he just breaks out. Occasionally, on some of those tunes, he’ll play till his lips just about fall off. He’s quietly intense and he’s an incredible harmonica player.”

Davis has a forthright message for blues lovers in the Okanagan.

“This is going to be like a back-porch experience for you. Imagine yourself, sitting back on the porch on a warm summer evening sipping lemonade and listening as Fabrizio and myself sing songs, tell stories and play some blues. It’s going to be lots of fun and a good time is going to be had by all. I know that for sure.”

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $30, $25 for members available through ticketseller.ca, 250-549-7469, Expressions of Time Book Store or at the door, if available.

Season tickets for our fifth season are available for $200. We are also selling memberships to our Society for $20. Society members receive a $5 rebate when attending a show and are eligible to attend our Annual General Meeting.

Food (beef brisket sliders), beer and wine available at the show. A 10 per cent discount is available on purchases in the restaurant and Don Cherry’s with proof of purchase to show on the evening of the performance.

More information on all shows for the upcoming season is available through vernonfolkroots.com and on Facebook, vernonfolkroots. For further information contact info@vernonfolkroots.com.


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