Morgan Davis played to a crowd of two dozen at The Arts Station on October 16, filling the room with bluesy licks and humourous jokes while performing on stage.
His set was filled with classic blues standards by Robert Johnson, Henry Thomas and others, including an old war-time tune called “Stagger Lee.”
Having been on the road for the better part of four decades, Davis has built up a repertoire filled with old favourites as well as his contemporary twists on blues that are often filled with tongue-in-cheek wit.
“A lot of people take themselves so seriously,” noted Davis. “To me, laughter breaks down the walls. So if you can make them laugh, they’re a lot more likely to be open to your music.”
At one point on stage, Davis pulled out a CD, cassette tape and eight-track cartridge in succession, insisting each would make “an excellent stocking stuffer for any Fernie resident” and would be available at the gift shop following his set.
One song in particular, which fell on the empathetic ears of the mostly 40-and-above audience in attendance, was about Davis’ irreverence for smartphones and society’s inability to look up from them for one second.
“Wha’ do dat do-dad do?” crooned Davis, thumbing the top string of his electric while a ripple of amusement went through the crowd.
Davis’ illustrious career has taken him all over the country and even earned him a Juno for Blues Album of the Year, but it’s playing to what he described as “small, but fierce crowds” like the one at The Arts Station that make it all worthwhile.
“This is probably my fifth or sixth time playing Fernie,” explained Davis, “and we’re playing a lot of smaller towns on this tour which I love to do. When you see the passion of these people, blues fans are generally pretty devoted, so it’s great to see,” said Davis.