When Dan Davidson got into music, he never expected to discover a love of country.
Drawing from his prairie roots, the Edmonton-based country singer currently on tour with Brett Kissel, is set to rock the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre March 12.
Davidson’s career in the music business launched with Tupelo Honey, an Edmonton indie rock troupe formed in the halls of Grant MacEwan College. And, after a decade-long presence in the band, Davidson decided to disembark and pursue a change of pace.
“We had a lot of great success, but things got tough for rock,” said Davidson, who was working as a music producer as the band began winding down. “I was surpressing this side of me I didn’t realize. Being from the prairies, you can’t escape country.”
Born to a musical family, Davidson began noodling on the guitar at a young age.
“When high school was over, I didn’t really know what to do. All I could do was play guitar,” Davidson said. “It all just sent me on this path towards country music. I just didn’t realize how much of a match it was for me.”
Davidson embraced his country roots. And, after dropping his second single, Found, in 2016, he knew he had found his calling.
“The second song I released kind of exploded,” Davidson said. “It’s the kind of stuff you can never expect.”
Found is a foot-stomping country track that stays true to the genre’s love of whiskey, rusted trucks and the girl next door. Complete with upbeat clapping over a fiddle-diddle, Found sky-rocketed Davidson’s career, reaching 16 in the country charts, top 50 on Shazam across all formats and 15 on iTunes sales charts, making Davidson’s second country drop a gold single.
Now two years, four Association of Country Music in Alberta awards (song of the year, single of the year, video of the year, rising star) and two Canadian Country Music Association Awards (songwriter and rising star) later, Davidson stays true to his prairie roots and draws from his rock ‘n roll background to inspire his front porch jams, as evidenced on his debut EP Songs for Georgia.
“I try not to pay too much attention to what’s cool. I find when I don’t try to change it, it comes out natural,” Davidson said. “I try to focus on what sounds fun.”
And, Davidson said, the amalgamation of rock and country is the perfect conduit for a good time.
“It’s fairly high energy. I like to keep that rock part alive,” Davidson said of his live performance. “We like to keep the audience alive. Sometimes we feel like we’re just entertaining ourselves. It’s amazing. It’s kind of a dream job. Getting that positive feedback when it works, that’s super reassuring.”
While Davidson has toured B.C. extensively with Tupelo Honey, he’s looking forward to bringing his new sound to Okanagan audiences. Because for Davidson, that audience interaction is what keeps him motivated.
“Meeting people after the show is 100 per cent the best part,” Davidson said. “It’s great to have 10 million followers online, but I’d rather have 1,000 dedicated fans.”
Davidson kicks off the show for Kissel at the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre March 12 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $49.50 all seats and are available from the Ticket Seller, 250-549-7469, www.ticketseller.ca.