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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Dallas Wiertella
Dallas Wiertella
Multimedia Editor

Through my experience here at the North Wind I have been able to have the privilege of highlighting students through all forms of multimedia journalism. Whether I'm in front or behind the camera, I aim...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Opinion — Its okay to outgrow your college friends
Opinion — It's okay to outgrow your college friends
Megan PoeApril 12, 2024

Three guitars, two spotlights, one voice

Joshua Davis, Marquette native and 2015 third-place finalist on NBC’s “The Voice” attracted a full house at the Ore Dock Brewing Co. last Friday night. He played new songs from his EP “Secondhand.” Photo by: Jackie Jahfeston

Three guitars rest on pedestals on a tiny little stage formed out of wooden pallets. An Airline electric guitar with a bright red body sits to the left while a basic Waterloo acoustic rests to the right. Shining beneath the neon blue spotlight is a 1954 Gibson ES-125, waiting to be picked with rhythm.

Meanwhile, shoes crowd the floor. Beers and drinks teeter totter all around. Tumultuous conversations fill the space. A man wearing a simple gray sweater, blue jeans and a newsboy cap walks up to the stage and begins to fiddle with the three guitars. He picks down the acoustic, tuning each string. Unsatisfied, he switches to the Gibson. With a smile he bends down to take a sip from his tea mug, clearing his throat. Without saying anything to the audience, he begins to play a song. The background noise vanishes instantly.

The left-handed guitarist strokes an upbeat tempo with his opening number “The Ballad of Lawrence Wotkyns King.” The folk-like tune tells a story about a couple in love where upon the death of the woman, the man takes his own life. He picks persistently and jumps into the next song. With a slight fist jab on the sound hole, he switches to a roots beat. But the feeling of death remains as he reflects on someone that he misses.
When he finished the song, he finally said, “I promise every song won’t be about death.” The crowd chuckled. “I like to start with death,” he said, with a little laugh then cleared his throat. “It’s a unifying force and I feel that it’s healthy to look at because it’s something we all share.”

Joshua Davis, Marquette native and 2015 third-place finalist on NBC’s “The Voice,” attracted a full house at the Ore Dock Brewing Co. last Friday night. He promoted new songs off his new EP “Secondhand” and sang older tunes from his previous albums.

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Storytelling was a theme for the Michigan artist who vividly expressed the emotion of his lyrics, especially when he sang “Good Love Last,” which was written to commemorate the 50-plus years his grandparents were together. Though Davis admitted he usually doesn’t write love songs, he wanted to know how his grandparents were so devoted to each other when his parents divorced early on.
“[I remember] sitting at Big Boy with Grandma and trying to pick her head. I wanted to know what’s the secret. She looked at me and said, ‘Well Josh, we left all our bull shit at the door,’” Davis said, sending laughs to the audience.

For some, Davis was a fan favorite on the NBC show “The Voice.”

“I watched him on ‘The Voice’ and I voted for him. I know he’s been here a few times but I’ve missed his other performances so I was happy to get tickets for us to come tonight,” NMU alumna Lynda Laakko said.

Laakko and her friend NMU alumna Kim Manninen bought tickets as soon as they heard he was coming to the Ore Dock. Davis is not only an “awesome singer” but has a hometown vibe that you don’t see all the time in singers, Manninen said. Even though it was the first time seeing Davis perform live, they both said they couldn’t wait to get a copy of his CD.
“Him being from Michigan, you know you gotta root for your other Michiganders. He’s young, he’s fresh and he’s personable,” Laakko said.

The hometown connection brought in others who knew him from his college band and who also watched him on “The Voice.” For Carmen Lebert, Davis’ voice and style of music on the show was “really entertaining,” she said. And Lebert’s husband, Dan, worked with Davis’ father and saw him as a young boy who would later perform with “Steppin’ In It,” so they figured they had to come check him out.

“It’s the kind of music I like,” D. Lebert said. “[With] good beer, good music, what more could you ask for?”
Though this is not Davis’ first performance at the Ore Dock, the brewery always enjoys bringing him back, Tap room and Events Manager Lizzie Corser said.
“One of the things that we are really proud of here at the Ore Dock is our ability to be able to showcase singer/songwriters in a unique space, and to provide that opportunity is really important to us,” Corser said.

Davis’ performances are so special, people get a little bit of everything, she added.

“He pulls from so many different genres that you could have this really intimate pindrop atmosphere, but then the next minute, everybody can be out of their seats and dancing,” she said.

It’s “fun” to see his “evolution” from his then-band “Steppin’ In It” to where he is now in his career, Corser said. Davis has a way to bring his audiences into the performance, she said. It feels more like a “living-room” setting, she said, because he’s that intimate and comfortable in his own space.

“We’re always excited to have him back at the brewery. He’s an incredible musician and the community certainly loves seeing him back in his home field,” Corser said. “I think he has a really special connection with his audiences especially in this space. It’s such an intimate environment and he makes for a really unique performance.”

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