BIOGRAPHY You might say Dave Nevling got an early start to his music career because, according to his sister, he learned to sing before he learned to talk. Many Nevling family members were musically inclined, so Dave was inspired by both exposure and natural talent. The Nevling family moved to White Plains, New York when Dave was 15, and his first experience as a lead singer came when he was asked by some classmates to join their band, 'The Boys.' Nevling commented, 'I was the only one with a basement to practice in. That may have been the deciding factor for my being hired at the time.' Dave Nevling was first introduced to the blues while attending a junior college in Connecticut, but it wasn't until a couple years later at Georgetown University, in D.C., that he started studying the harmonica. Besides a few book basics, he realized playing the harmonica is pretty much a self-taught experience and requires many hours of experimentation and practice. While living in south Florida with his sister, Dave found the ultimate makeshift sound studio-empty sewer pipes at a construction site near their apartment. Nevling added, 'Of course, it wasn't until evening, after the work crew left, that I headed out to the pipes, no mic or amp, with just a flashlight and my bag of harps. The acoustics were fantastic!' Nevling moved to Houston, Texas and played with various bands from the mid 70's through the 80's. In 1991 he got his first steady job as a musician with Gulf Coast guitar legend, Bert Wills, and played with Bert for almost two years. Soon after leaving Wills, Mark May, another Houston guitar legend, asked Dave to join his band 'Mark May and the Agitators.' Dave played harmonica and sang with May for three years, and during that period performed on Mark's first CD, 'Call on the Blues.' After getting some good local band experience under his belt, Dave decided to go out on his own and formed 'Dave Nevling and the Blues Kats' in 1997. This was his opportunity to concentrate on true blues music and satisfy his need for self-expression by writing his own songs. Nevling said, 'My early harmonica influences were Paul Butterfield and Charlie Musslewhite. Ray Charles was one of my favorite vocalists, as was Delbert McClinton.' Dave's musical subjects range from the spiritual enlightenment expressed in 'You The One' to the dark, moody minor key blues song, 'Nightshade,' about a man who poisons his wife. He says he draws his inspirations from current events, movies, billboards, and relationships. Scott Colvin, an English teacher who has a website devoted to literature teaching tools, has used Dave's song 'Haunting Me' as a musical theme example for Arthur Miller's play 'The Crucible.' Of course, Nevling's sense of humor can't be ignored either, as expressed in the fun songs, 'Short and Stout' and 'Dip My Wick.' Dave Nevling has arranged and produced (Katastic Records) three CDs. His first release, 'That Look' in the spring of 2000, followed by 'Nightshade' in 2002, and the latest, 'Heady Brew,' out in May 2004, were met with rave reviews (see quote sheet). All three albums showcase Nevling's command of vocals, mastery of harmonica, and versatility as a songwriter. David Nevling: Nightshade (Katastic) IÂ¹ll keep sayinÂ¹ it until people get it; Texas is Blues central. Not Chicago, not Memphis or New Orleans. Mind you, IÂ¹m sure thereÂ¹s some great down-home authentic Blues being played in a few out-of-the-way Å?undergroundÂ¹ clubs and joints that never get recorded but of the 100 CDs to come from Texas in the last two years 99 have been killer. ThatÂ¹s a pretty incredible batting average. And, while California occasionally releases a disc that measures up (James Harman, Catfish & The Crawdaddies, Frank Goldwasser, Craig Horton...) most of the rest of contemporary Blues CDs donÂ¹t measure up to Texas intensity, talent and testosterone. Roadhouse boogie is not for sissies, rich kids or intellectuals. ItÂ¹s the soundtrack for dancinÂ¹, fightinÂ¹ and fu...k..nÂ¹, plain and simple. It ainÂ¹t politically correct, thank God and in an era of pretenders and poseurs itÂ¹s performed by artists who get gigs without the help of million-dollar promo departments and media campaigning. This is real music in a time of bullshit and hype. ThatÂ¹s why I love Texas Blues. Dave Nevling is one of the two top Texas harp players on the contemporary scene (that weÂ¹ve heard) the other being the down-home styled Walter T Higgs. Dave is more a modern, swinging Little Walter-influenced type player who is totally at ease swinging through a classic jazz instrumental a la Big Walter Horton or laying down a Texas/West Coast shuffle. Leading a scary band of Matt Johnson (the next big Guitar slinger out of Texas) on lead guitar and trumpet (1 track), Jeff Parmenter (bass and backing vocals), Bob Armour (drums -awesome shuffles) and Joel Barr (keyboards). Nevling gives us hardcore, exquisite blues and man, this guy could teach all those windbags out there about melody and restraint. He plays that harp the way Calvin Owens blows trumpet; singing with his instrument. I very seldom hear harp players these days who have both tone and taste. Nevling is heads and shoulders above the current crop of harp players and easily among the Top 5 worldwide. Dig this, not only can the man play so sweetly, heÂ¹s also an awesome singer and I mean this man has got chops! Add to that talent the fact that the man has written every single one of the tremendous tunes on this disc. Who else can do all that? Maybe one or two guys at best. I would have to say that Dave Nevling is the greatest harmonica talent to emerge in the Blues in the last decade. I dare ya to try and play each song just once. How often does it happen that it takes you three hours to listen to a CD from start to finish? Â³From AboveÂ² is a rollicking opener with fine rhythm guitar from Johnson and a super cool vocal delivery on top of great drumming from Armour (sounds like Francis Clay in 1961 - just a swinginÂ¹), heavy harp throughout, too. Great way to start. Â³Feast Or FamineÂ² has Shag/Beach Music Hit Record written all over it, so IÂ¹d suggest Mr.Nevling get some CDs down to Myrtle Beach deejays right away. What a harp tone! And every note counts. A funky-assed Southern dance floor ditty if I ever heard one. Â³NightshadeÂ² is a 7 minute spooky, jazzy number with plenty of atmosphere guitar from Johnson (God, this guyÂ¹s good!) and solos from Nevling that youÂ¹ll catch yourself replaying (if you love harp at all). Â³AnnaÂ¹s SouffleÂ² is a fast instrumental that swingers will love.(I must say the tandem of Armour and Parmenter is one of the greatest rhythm sections IÂ¹ve heard in the last 20 years. TheyÂ¹re very close to Myers and Below at their best). ThereÂ¹s a guitar matching harp solo that has to be heard to be believed. Â³Fine LinesÂ² is another dance floor hit in which I can actually picture people grabbing partners and pullinÂ¹ them to the dance floor. However, the grindinÂ¹, bumpinÂ¹ Â³I DonÂ¹t Need MuchÂ² is the piece de la resistance with a groove that gets ya and extraordinary Big Walter-ish harp on top of dirty guitar. Oh yeah. DonÂ¹t get any better. Â³Be My BabyÂ² has nice latino rhythm and I realize with this tune that Nevling sounds very much (vocally) like the old Peter Green which is a compliment. Â³InsatiableÂ² is a minor-key masterpiece about a woman who canÂ¹t/wonÂ¹t stop spreadinÂ¹ it around. Â³CopaseticÂ² was the one missing piece - chromatic harp on top of a Jimmy Smith-style organ workout. Wow! And, Â³Without A WarningÂ² is a country-styled blues with nice slide from Matt Johnson. Well, all I can say folks is that this CD deserves awards (besides our own) and Dave Nevling has delivered a Texas Blues and Harmonica Blues masterpiece that every fan of modern blues has to hear. ItÂ¹s easily among the Top 10 Modern Blues albums of the last ten years and if this falls into the Shaggers hands (and it will) down in The Carolinas, Nevling will find himself having to spend a good bit of time playing in Myrtle Beach, NC. 6 bottles for an exceptional disc that sets standards in feeling and pure talent. A Grigg.
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