Rusted Roots

Joshua+Davis%2C+Marquette+native+and+2015+third-palce+qualifyer+on+NBC%E2%80%99s+%E2%80%9CThe+Voice%E2%80%9D+plays+from+7+p.m.+to+10+p.m.+this+Friday+at+the+Ore+Dock+Brewing+Co.+

Joshua Davis, Marquette native and 2015 third-palce qualifyer on NBC’s “The Voice” plays from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. this Friday at the Ore Dock Brewing Co.

Jackie Jahfetson

Marquette native and ‘The Voice’ finalist returns to Ore Dock

His voice carries an evergreen blues appeal. It’s timeless, original and untouched by the auto-tuned industry. With one guitar, he picks up and down the neck in a nostalgic rhythm. His authenticity renders through the lyrics as he tells a story. He sings about a black-eyed Susan who’s bent and broken but regardless
of her mental state, she never cries. Though the song was originally recorded by Michigan artist Jennifer Sygit, his voice
puts an alternative blues touch
on a folk tune.

Joshua Davis, a Marquette native and 2015 third-place finalist on NBC’s “The Voice,” will return to the Ore Dock stage to sing “Black-Eyed Susan” and many other songs in a stripped down setting with just a few guitars, a kick drum and one voice this Friday night at the Ore Dock Brewing Co.

With the promotion of his new EP “Secondhand,” Davis will perform from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. and the doors will open at 6 p.m. Seating is limited but tickets can be purchased at www.ore-dock.com, at the Ore Dock or by calling the brewery at 906-228-8888. Tickets purchased in advance are $15 or $20 at the door.

Though Davis has been performing since his early days of college around Marquette and the U.P. with his then-band “Steppin’ In It,” he always manages to bring an upbeat touch to his songs. Yet, his performances are still intimate where you can feel the “power of his voice,” said Kris Wierenga, Ore Dock talent buyer/entertainment & floor manager/beertender.
“He has such a powerful presence on stage. His voice cannonballs his words, striking you. The entire room is usually mesmerized, like they’re in a trance. It’s kinda freaky,” Wierenga said.

With origins of roots, rock, folk and blues, Davis’ voice is very much his own, Wierenga said. His work ethic as an artist shows, you believe what he is singing about, he said. When people listen to him, you feel the “integrity” of his “calloused hands” as he sings the truth and it “resonates” with each stroke of his guitar, he added.

“He is Joshua Davis, his voice is his own. His songs are a reflection of his roots, family and his connection to home,” he said.

Spending summers around Big Bay with his dad and stepmother, Davis said he grew up listening wto many folk artists at music festivals such as the Hiawatha Music Festival. He saw how music connected a community and was a reason why he began playing the guitar at age 13. Though his musical influences have changed over the years, he gains inspiration from folk musicians such as Joni Mitchell, Pete Seeger to
world music including South African and jazz.

With little musical training beforehand, Davis said he had an “eye-opening experience” on “The Voice.” Though the hit show helped put Davis on the musical map and gave him a larger fan base, the fame only lasts so long, he added.

“I was on television in front of millions of people but that kind of boxed fame dissolves after a little while,” Davis said.

Davis found the experience worthwhile, he said. While on the show, Davis worked with a vocal coach and said it changed the way he looked at his vocals. Though he’s never had much professional musical training, Davis said he has an “insatiable curiosity” and he always looks for inspiration to grow as an artist. He
treats his performances as “one-of-a-kind,” meaning that each night is different, he said.

Lately, Davis has stepped away from the band and has taken on a solo role, but said the change has opened up a new door for him. Being a solo performer, each performance can vary
because you don’t have to be in tune with other musicians. It allows for more “impromptu stuff” to happen, he said, adding, there’s a direct connection to the audience when you’re the only one on stage.

Davis, who also teaches music classes at Interlochen Center for the Arts, said he tries to use
his musical platform as much as he can to inspire others
to speak up about issues. He said he hopes his music resonates with people, makes them think about something and “hits
a nerve.” Though Davis said he enjoys writing his own music, he wanted to try something new with
his latest EP, which is a collection of covers.

“I wanted a project I could have a lot of fun with. I wanted to have a diverse array of songs that I had a personal connection to and songs that I love,” he said. “I wanted people to know these tunes that they might not know and maybe [they’d] look into where they came from.”

Davis added he loves coming back to the U.P. to perform, especially at the Ore Dock.

“It’s a very intimate space. I do a lot of gigs that are theatre gigs that are sit-down, very quiet and I like that because people are engaged in the lyrics. They’re listening to the stories. And then I do some shows that are more club shows where people are dancing and hanging out. [The Ore Dock] is somewhere in between,” Davis said. “People are quiet and paying attention to the show but they’re also relaxed. They’re drinking beer, hanging out and loving the show. The shows I’ve played there have been my favorite visits.”