The Powerful Now
ANTHONY DAVID feat. Sy Smith
510 Embarcadero West
Oakland, CA, 94607
Doors 7:30 PM / Show 8:00 PM
Anthony David feat. Sy Smith
Georgia-based singer/songwriter Anthony David is another in a growing list of impressive, talented performers who are successfully merging old and new school grooves with a Southern flavor and are quickly turning Atlanta into perhaps the most exciting city for new soul music.
Born in Savannah, Georgia, David moved to Atlanta as an adult to pursue a career in music. One of the first people he met was India.Arie, and the two formed a friendship based in part on their mutual love of 60s and 70s soul music. A break came when Arie released her highly acclaimed debut, Acoustic Soul, in 2002, which included a David composition, "Part of Your Life."
Thinking of himself more as a songwriter, it took several years before David was willing to showcase his voice publicly, but he began to perform and gather a following in Atlanta. Using soul greats Bill Withers and Anita Baker as models, he developed his own vocal style, a rough, raspy Southern baritone that worked well with his poetic, storytelling compositions. David signed with Atlanta-based Brash Records and in late 2004 released his debut album, Three Chords & the Truth. An impressive series of stories set to mostly acoustic backing, the disc found David moving effortlessly along the spectrum that began with the contemporary blues sounds of Keb Mo and ending with the accessible acoustic soul of Arie and P.J. Morton. Lyrically, the disc was mostly about early love relationships, although it occasionally moved into more complex territory, including urban social issues ("Krooked Kop"), personal spirituality ("The Water/The Fire") and a sad family tradition of marital infidelity ("Cheatin' Man"). Musically the disc was even more impressive, with David's laid-back vocals covering a baker's dozen of solid, melodic blues, soul, folk and even reggae tracks.
David received a strong response from the indie soul community, and Three Chords catapulted into a leadership position in that movement, at the level of Morton, Eric Roberson and Frank McComb. He solidified that position two years later with Red Clay Chronicles, an album that was even stronger than his debut and that featured two simply outstanding songs: The bluesy first single, "Stop Playin'," and the duet with Arie, "Words." The latter became one of the year's most played indie songs and won for David the 2007 SoulTracks Readers' Choice Award for Song of the Year.
David's ascent led him to the door of Universal Records via Arie's own Soulbird label. His Soulbird debut was Acey Duecy, a compilation of 11 tracks from his first two albums and a nice introduction of his music to the general music world. However, soon David was back as an independent artist.
At one point, he was India Arie's manager. After he warmed to the idea of being a performer rather than just a songwriter, he hooked up with the local Brash label, which released 3 Chords & the Truth (2004) and The Red Clay Chronicles (2006). (Dome issued both of the albums in the U.K.) Through Arie's Universal-distributed Soulbird, Acey Duecy was put together for a 2008 release; it combined tracks from the two independent releases for greater exposure and reached number 30 on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. "Words," a duet with Arie, was nominated for a Grammy in the category of Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. He then switched to the eOne label, where he released As Above So Below (featuring the Enchantment-inspired Top 20 R&B/Hip-Hop hit "4evermore," 2011), the compilation #LocationLocationLocation (2011), and Love Out Loud(2012). After a move to Shanachie, a haven for veteran R&B artists, he released The Powerful Now.