Photo courtesy of Davisson Brothers Band
If there’s anything I’ve learned doing this country music journalism thing, it’s that anything can happen and to expect the unexpected. Once again, weirdness darkened my doorstep. There I was about a week ago, just scrolling mindlessly through random songs on Spotify, when I came across a title I couldn’t ignore. “Pond Fishing” caught my eye. I have no idea why, but the name of that song intrigued me enough that I clicked on it. Somehow I envisioned a quiet tune. Something that probably included a sleepy old man with a bamboo fishing pole, lounging on the bank of a remote pool of water. You know what? I missed the mark on that.
From the very start, “Pond Fishing” is anything but tranquilizing. This is one rocker of a country song, and nobody could have been happier about that than me. Rock is my first love and this song whipped me right up! I couldn’t get enough. I immediately took to social media and began shouting about my newfound discovery to the cyber universe. Maybe I was late to the party. Maybe everyone already knew. I didn’t care. I was too excited to think about silly details like that. As it turned out “Pond Fishing”, by the Davisson Brothers Band, was just the most recent single from a group that’s been around for a long time. So, yes, I was really late to the shindig, but at least I made it before they turned off the lights and locked the door. From that song, I went and listened to everything else I could find. I was a new fan. That was one day about a week ago.
About two days later, I got a message from Annette Gibbons, the owner of Think Country. She asked me if that song I was going crazy over the other day was called “Pond Fishing”? Why, yes, it was. Oddly, she had just received an email from a publicist asking if we’d like to interview the Davisson Brothers Band. Weren’t they the “Pond Fishing” guys? Yes, they are and Hell, yes I do! Pass that one right on over! I’d never heard of these guys in my life a couple of days ago, and the next thing I know, I’m going to talk to them. As I said, in this world, anything can happen, and it does.
So, here we are. I have now officially talked with the Davisson Brothers, and what a wild time that was! Not only were they extremely cordial and informative, they were a whole lot of fun. I’ve been missing out! That’s alright, they were forgiving when I told them I only just figured out who they were recently. They were thankful I was looking for new music and dug them up, or should I say, reeled them in? Yeah, worst pun ever, scratch that. I discovered their music. Totally professional, albeit not very “me”.
After a bit of a snag getting Donnie Davisson patched into the call clearly (“We live in the mountains of West Virginia”, Chris Davisson explained), thanks to some cell signal trouble, we were good to go. I spoke with band members Donnie and Chris Davisson on the call, although Chris did most of the talking. In the band, Donnie handles lead vocals and rhythm guitar. Chris is the lead guitarist. Aaron Regester plays drums.
I explained to the guys how it was I came to find their music and asked them to tell me all about “Pond Fishing”. Chris was more than happy to do that, and shared the story of how the song came to be, which I’ll pass on to all of you in the form of a direct transcription. It’s a good one.
Chris Davisson: It was one of the very unusual songs that come about. We obviously spend a lot of time in the woods. We do a lot of fishin’, a lot of outdoor activities. We just grew up livin’ that lifestyle. That’s how that song come about. We’d been touring for several months. You know, you get used to that schedule, goin’ to bed late. We tour and we do stuff afterwards, events, and we drive to another city. Anyway, we was goin’ to bed around four or five in the morning for several months, then when we come off the road, we come home and we try to spend time with our family and do our stuff that we do, you know, our traditions. Go deer hunt, go squirrel hunt and fish and all that stuff, but this particular morning we’d been tryin’ to adjust. We’d just got off the road, so now when we got home we have to get up at four in the morning instead of going to bed at four in the morning. So, this morning was rough and we just literally got out of the bus, got home and got three hours of sleep.
Chris Davisson: I went down to Lost Creek, West Virginia, where we’re from, and met a friend that morning. I was in a rush to get all my huntin’ and fishin’, all my outdoor gear in my truck and all that. I was in a hurry to meet him before daylight, so I met him and I threw all my gear in his truck and went with him, and by the time we got to the property, we sat down and I started goin’ through my coat and I realized I forgot my phone. So I said, “That’s alright, just drop me off up on the ridge here and come back and get me at noon.” This was at daylight so I knew I wasn’t gonna see a person or anything. Well, a snowstorm come in. All I could see out of this snowstorm was a pond over the hill, and that song, that melody kinda hit me and I didn’t have a phone where I normally would sing that melody into my phone, and start writin’ notes on my notepad on my phone and start writin’ lyrics. So, I had to really just repeat the first verse and hum the melody to the chorus with the hook for about four hours (laughs) until my buddy shot back up on a four-wheeler to get me. As soon as he showed up I said, “Don’t stop. You gotta get me to the truck to my phone.”
Image courtesy of townmapsusa.com
Chris Davisson: I got to the truck and put it in my phone and I called Donnie, my brother, and I said, “We gotta get in the studio and finish this song and have you write some more lyrics to it.” So, we got in the studio and the song was done, but that’s how “Pond Fishing” come about and we ended up getting it to our producer, Keith Stegall (Alan Jackson, Zac Brown Band) in Nashville and he fell in love with it, so we immediately, within a month or so, we was in the studio and got some tracks to it. As soon as we wrote the song though, we started doin’ it live. It was just one of those good… it stuck with us real good, it fit us real well. It’s real high energy. Our live shows are high energy. We started closin’ the shows with it for a few months and it just got a great response, like, you could hear fans yelling and screaming out “Pond Fishing”, like requestin’ that song at every show. So, we knew that the song had something about it. We love to do it live, but just the response when we were out there all over the country playin’ that song live, people that had heard it before, they wanted to hear it again, so that’s always a good thing. We started closing the show with it, and we still close the show with it because it’s hard to beat. It’s just got that real fun, upbeat, big kick drum. It’s rockin’ man, a great closure for the night. We get an encore with “Pond Fishing” every night now.
Video (audio) courtesy of Davisson Brothers Band and YouTube
That story was a prime example of why I love what I do. Hearing how songs come to life, for me, is one of the greatest reasons to live here and be surrounded by this all the time.
In conjunction with “Pond Fishing”, the Davisson Brothers Band have partnered up with PLANO, a company that manufactures tackle storage products, for an online fishing derby. I was confused as to how that worked. Chris told me it was their idea to have fans send in photos of themselves and their families fishing. The Davissons will then choose winning photos. Fans that send in the winning photos can win prizes that include Davisson Brothers Band merchandise and/or PLANO products. It’s the Davisson Brothers love of fishing and the outdoors in general, that prompted them to launch this online fishing derby. It was their way of bringing their fans together to do something fun. As Chris noted, many of their fans are also “outdoorsy” types too, so this was an ideal contest for them to hold. For information on the fishing derby and how to enter, click here https://fb.watch/1UxhdaIePn/
When it comes to talent, the Davisson Brothers Band aren’t an island. They come from a musical family that goes way back. Six generations back. Donnie and Chris have been playing since they were kids. There are currently three generations of Davissons touring today. Their father, Eddie Davisson, still tours. All of the younger kids tour. It’s a very musical family.
As for the Davisson Brothers Band, they’ve taken their success to the other side of the globe. They have a record deal and an enormous fan base in Australia. Add to that a number one song written with Australia’s biggest female country artist. Over quarantine, Donnie, Chris, Nashville-based songwriter Rob Snyder and Australia’s Amber Lawrence co-wrote “Greatest Show on Earth” over a Zoom meeting. The premise being the amazing experience we’ll all have once this pandemic is finally over. The song is absolutely worth checking out.
Here’s what Chris had to say about it:
Chris Davisson: We have a lot of success and we have a lot of love for Australia. We have a record deal over there as well. We get to spend time over there, so we do a lot in Australia. We’ve got a great group of friends which are artists over there. We just wrote and recorded a song with their top female country artist, Amber Lawrence. It was three weeks at number one on KIX over there. It’s just a great, great community of people over there.
Then Donnie added this:
Donnie Davisson: It was really neat. It was the first song we had written on Zoom. Of course, with everything happening we couldn’t go back to Australia, or Amber couldn’t come here, so we done a Zoom write with her and a good friend of ours, Rob Snyder, he’s there in Nashville, and he’s a great songwriter. It was our first Zoom write and we got that great song out of it. It’s done really well.
Video (audio) courtesy of Davisson Brothers Band and YouTube
As you can tell, everything has been affected by this pandemic, even songwriting and the way it’s done. Obviously, live music has been hit hard. What’s going on with the Davisson Brothers Band as far as live shows? Have they been doing any at all? I asked.
Chris Davisson: Little bangs here and there. Drive-in shows. We’ve done just a handful of shows. We’re just focusin’ on writin’ and a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff, just gettin’ some new music ready, collabin’ with a bunch of our artist buddies and we just been diggin’ in creative-wise. Also, we’ve been spendin’ time catchin’ up, ’cause normally we tour 51 weeks a year, and have for a long time, so we’re gettin’ to catch up with some of the stuff we missed out on back home with the family, and it’s been a very different year for us, but it’s been good things come out of it as well.
I wondered if the Davisson Brothers had ever ventured over to the UK in their many travels, seeing as so many of our Think Country followers live there. They have not, but they are definitely anxious to get there.
Chris Davisson: We have not. We were about to. It was in the books this year. We was gonna maybe do a fest this year that I think got canceled due to COVID, but we’re lookin’ forward to getting over there. We’re doin’ a Nashville Meets London next week, but we’ve not toured over there. I’ve always wanted to be there. We had a few things stirring around with the booking agent, they were lining up a few dates, then everything happened and it kinda put us in the hole. I’m sure we’ll be there eventually.
I made sure to tell them how much fans in the UK would love them and they were glad to hear that.
A question I haven’t asked in a long time that I thought would be good to bring out again was the one about Nashville bars. If the Davisson Brothers Band were to open their own bar/restaurant in Nashville, like so many celebrities do, what would they call it, and what would it be all about? I mentioned we had asked it once of Ashley McBryde, and they liked that. They told me that McBryde is one of their good friends. They also laughed heartily when the question came up, saying they owned a bar in the past. I wasn’t sure how to take that, but pressed on, asking if they were to try it again, what would they do?
Chris Davisson: “If we were gonna try it again, that’s a good question. Big Rock Camp. The Davisson Brothers Big Rock Camp Bar, that’s what we’d call it. That’s where our farm’s at, Big Rock Camp, West Virginia. It’s got a double meaning. (Laughing)
Patti McClintic: I’ll use my imagination with that.
(They laughed even more)
They were interested in knowing Ashley McBryde’s answer to that question. I gave them a brief synopsis from memory. She said she would call it Southern Babylon, after a song from her first album. It would be a whiskey bar, with a simple “meat and three” menu. A pretty chill bar. They agreed their bar would be much like that.
Chris Davisson: That’s kind of how we started out. We had a saloon here in Morgantown. There’s 35,000 college kids. There’s nothing in Morgantown but the university.
Patti McClintic: Well, you can’t have a chill bar with college kids.
Chris Davisson: (Laughing) Yeah, but it was a lot of fun. Actually, our manager, Erv Woolsey (George Strait) in Nashville, he owns Losers, Winners and Dawghouse and all this. We’ve discussed this before. It would be awesome if we had a bar, you know, with West Virginia pepperoni rolls. We always wanted to do something where we offered West Virginia foods and stuff.
I stopped him right there. What were pepperoni rolls? I needed to know.
Chris Davisson: Pepperoni rolls. It was invented in West Virginia in the 1800’s for the miners. The only food that would keep underground all day without spoiling was a bread roll which they would make homemade bread, then they’d put pepperoni and cheese in the middle of it and roll it and bake it. If you look online, Clarksburg, West Virginia, where we’re from, is where they originated. It’s kinda the only place you can get ’em because the altitude makes a difference, and the water source and all that, in how this bread rises. It’s pretty much baked bread with pepperoni and cheese in the middle. It’s really good stuff.
Donnie Davisson: You can add, like, homemade peppers and sauce. They put a lot of things in ’em, but it’s a really good little snack, and they only keep for so long. If you put ’em in a plastic bag, you can keep ’em for a couple weeks before they go stale or start tasting old.
Photo courtesy of tasteatlas.com
Chris Davisson: And if we had a bar in Nashville, we could incorporate all the different flavors of West Virginia moonshine. Like, I know there’s already bars that do that, but I think if the Davisson Brothers had a bar in Nashville, we’d have to, as the signature West Virginians, we’d have to have our own Davisson Brothers line of moonshine. Everyone would probably be tearing up the bar. (Laughing)
I told them they could construct all the fixtures from something like cardboard. Rebuild the place every other day. Tearing it up could be a fun diversion for the patrons. No glass bottles, serve everything in cans. Limit the number of times ambulances blocked the front of the place. All simple measures to create a happy, safe environment. What could possibly go wrong?
Chris Davisson: You’d have to have a lot of chicken wire in there. Just make it an ol’ dive bar.
Works for me. I’d go.
Last but not least, and I knew if anyone ever had a good answer to this question, these guys would, when the Davisson Brothers “Think Country”, what do they think?
Chris Davisson: I think people that just live a country lifestyle. The word “country” to me, is people that grew up like we did. You know, we live and breathe every lyric. Every note you hear on our records, we live it. We’re out there, you know, we’re not up onstage, or in a studio, or in a writing room 90% of the time. We’re on a trout stream, we’re out huntin’ ginseng, mushroom huntin’, you know, just doin’ what country people do. We’re on our farm, our property, we live it, we live and breathe it. It’s an everyday lifestyle for us. That’s what country means to me.
Donnie Davisson: Simplicity. The simple life of good old, honest people in the world. That’s what I think of country.
We said our goodbyes and agreed when they’re in town we need to meet in person. I’m holding them to that.
Photo courtesy of Davisson Brothers Band
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*Featured photo courtesy of Davisson Brothers Band