Teacher Feature: Clinton Davis

Favorite Food: Fried chicken
Dream Destination: A small fishing town in Baja California Sur
Favorite Song Right Now: Vals d'Bayou Blanc by Pee Wee Broussard and His Melody Boys
Spirit Animal: Raccoon

Meet another member of our awesome teaching team here at Kalabash! Clinton Davis is a multi-faceted musician born and raised in the great state of Kentucky. Thoroughly curious, Clinton has studied a wide range of music on an even wider range of instruments.

A pianist from childhood, Davis earned a bachelor’s degree in piano performance from the University of Kentucky where he studied the works of Bach, Chopin, and Debussy, among others. While there, he developed an interest in modern or avant-garde practices and founded the Sound/Vision ensemble to perform the music of living composers.

Since moving to California in 2009, Clinton's interests have shifted to American folk traditions, and he has dedicated himself to numerous projects exploring our country's rich and varied musical heritage.

As leader of the G Burns Jug Band, Clinton arranges iconic recordings from pre-World-War-2 blues, jazz, and country music greats for a five-piece ensemble that tours throughout the West Coast.  In 2015, they were awarded a San Diego Music Award, and the legendary roots music publication No Depression called them “a joyous and soulful restoration of one of the lost treasures of American musical tradition.” On stage he switches between guitar, banjo, mandolin, piano, and harmonica. In 2015, he was approached by the Deering Banjo Company to appear in advertisements for their Americana instrument.

At the University of California, San Diego, Clinton currently teaches an undergraduate course on American musical traditions and is researching the nation-wide revival of Sacred Harp singing, a tradition of acapella harmony singing rooted in the Deep South. Twice he has ventured to the Sand Mountain region of northeast Alabama to sing antebellum-era hymns with families that have preserved this beautiful tradition of song for over 150 years. Here's a video of Clinton leading a tune at a singing convention in Union, Maine, where this singing has become popular in recent decades.

An occasional composer, Clinton has written music and served as musical director for theatrical productions on both coasts including San Diego's lauded Old Globe Theatre and Brooklyn's Lone Wolf Tribe. Through his work for theater, Clinton's music has been heard in tours across the country, Europe, and South America. Check out this clip of Clinton performing and recording his score for 'The Desperate Characters of Mercer County'.

Clinton will be performing a special Valentine's weekend concert at Kalabash on Friday, February 12th, when he'll be joined by an all-star lineup of friends to play the American roots music he loves so much. You can find other performance dates through his personal website: http://clintonrossdavis.com