August 10-12, 2007
Programs & Activities: Music & Dance

Cullman, Alabama

David Davis and his Warrior River Boys- a bluegrass band

David Davis is linked to the origins of bluegrass music- in 1938, his Uncle Cleo Davis was hired by the legendary bluegrass musician Bill Monroe as the very first member of Monroe's famed Blue Grass Boy.
Born in Cullman, Alabama, in 1961, David grew up in a family of musicians. In addition to his uncle Cleo, David's maternal grandfather played old time fiddle and banjo. David's father, Liddell, was also an accomplished guitar player but lost his right hand in a mortar accident in World War II. Nonetheless, when an eight-year-old David discovered an old guitar in the back of a closet and asked for lessons, Liddell found a way to teach him. A song leader at his church, Liddell also taught David how to sing in parts.
At age 19, David played in a couple of local bluegrass groups, the latter of which needed a mandolin player so he taught himself to play by watching video footage of Bill Monroe. "I always thought Monroe made the mandolin more virile than I had heard before," he says. "I wanted to play like that." While playing a joint show in Cullman with the Warrior River Boys, led by banjo player and Blue Grass Boys alumnus, Garry Thurmond, Davis offered his services. Six months later, Thurmond invited him to join the group as a singer. Thurmond also brought David to Nashville to record a tribute to Monroe. Amongst the musicians in the studio were a number of the Blue Grass Boys and Monroe himself. 

In 1984, at age 23, David took the lead of the Warrior River Boys when health problems forced Thurmond to retire. Since then, he has built a career around a sound that holds true to the music created by the pioneers of bluegrass. "Bluegrass demands honesty from a musician," Davis has said. The music we play comes from a lot of different directions and influences, but always with the desire to make honest, heartfelt music." According to Ellen Wright, co-author, Pressing On: The Roni Stoneman Story, "David Davis is a credit to his heritage. He and the Warrior River Boys perform a nuanced and highly creative music. This is bluegrass that has both an elegant purity and an intense dynamic excitement. They do it right."
With Davis at the 2007 Great Lakes Folk Festival, the Warrior River Boys are Owen Saunders (fiddle), Adam Duke (guitar), Marty Hays (bass) and Wes Vanderpool (banjo).



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