TAMPA — Davina and the Vagabonds will perform Thursday, June 13, 8 p.m., at The Attic at Rock Brothers, 1510 E. Eighth Ave.
The doors will open at 7 p.m. The show begins at 8 p.m. General admission tickets start at $25. Visit www.rockbrothersbrewing.com.
Davina Sowers and the Vagabonds have created a stir on the national music scene with their high-energy live shows, level A musicianship, sharp-dressed professionalism, and Sowers’ commanding stage presence. With influences ranging from Fats Domino and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band to Aretha Franklin and Tom Waits, the band is converting audiences one show at a time, from Vancouver to Miami and across Europe. In 2011 Davina released her first full length, all original album “Black Cloud.” It was named one of the 10 best releases of the year by the Minneapolis Star & Tribune and awarded 4.5 stars from Downbeat Magazine. “Sunshine,” their next release in 2014, hit No. 13 in the Billboard Blues Chart and led them to landing a performance on the hit BBC2 show “Later with Jools Holland.”
Recently, Red House Records announced that the Davina and the Vagabonds will release “Sugar Drops,” their new album, on July 19. “Sugar Drops” will be the band’s first album for Red House Records. It also marks the first time singer/songwriter/pianist Davina Sowers entered a proper studio to record an album according to a press release. The Minneapolis-based artist holed up in Nashville’s Compass Sound Studio with producer Garry West, along with her trumpeter, string arranger and husband, Zack Lozier, and a rotating cast of powerhouse players including Todd Phillips on bass, Doug Lancio on guitar and Reese Wynans on Hammond B3.
“My songs always begin with an emotion, so it started out as an ‘I see you and I see through you’ song,” Sowers said. “I do what I do because I am who I am, not because I wanna make a buck or because it's the next cool trend. There's nothing smellier than dishonest music and fake people. Even if you're doing music from eras past and paying homage to music that you, yourself have been influenced by, it needs to come from the heart and from your own truth.”
Through the process of writing it, Sowers started reflecting, and she ended up giving advice to these types of people and having a little empathy.
“It was hard when I started out, too,” Sowers said. “You can get lost in what you think others want and it’s not necessarily who you are. At the end of the day though, it still needs to be your work and your words.”
“Sugar Drops” is distillation of bluesy barroom baritone and bravado, graveyard jazz grooves, and noirish confessional lyricism backed by boisterous piano, guitar, and strings. Eclectic, engaging and instilled with a deep respect and knowledge for the Great American Songbook, the new album is the actualization of longstanding intent for Sowers.
“It represents about 100 years of Americana,” she explained. “I did exactly what I wanted to do.”
Sowers grew up in Altoona, Pennsylvania, which she now describes as “awesome in the industrial era, but horrible for high school.” She developed a heavy drug habit in high school, which morphed into heroin dependency, left her homeless, sent her in and out of jail, and brought on all manner of trouble. Kicking dope on the streets, she got clean and started the band. Sowers and the band are constantly on the road, touring throughout the world.