Hampton Roads is home to some of the best vocalists this side of well, anywhere. One Virginia Beach native in particular is one of the best kept secrets. That is, unless you are already one of his uber-cool fans.
Although not a stranger to the local music scene, Dave Johnson is a guy who deserves to be heard, and heard again. His dedicated fan base regularly follows him whether his gig is at an up-scale restaurant such as the Lighthouse Beachside, the concert-like atmosphere of the Norva, the laid-back renowned Jewish Mother, or the comfortable barefoot atmosphere of Calypso Raw Bar & Grill at the Virginia Beach oceanfront, or OBX’s Brewing Station – just to name a few. He is a vocalist who definitely has “It”.
When someone has “It”, it never ceases to amaze members of a captivated audience why the performer is not already famous. Dave is one of those enigmas.
If one were to walk in an establishment and hear Dave playing but not see him, you might think there were at least four people on stage. When performing solo he is never without his acoustic guitar, playing it as masterfully as his vocals are strong. He may have a couple extra guitars with him, his harmonica around his neck on a holder, a tambourine within reach, and bass drum complete with foot pedal. You may even think, “Ah, great… a one-man band” – until you listen. Then it is like, whoa… this guy has “It” going on.
You never know where this guy will show up. But one thing is certain; whether Dave is playing for an intimate crowd of 50 or even 5,000… you will see and hear the same Dave Johnson. Every single time he performs, he sings and plays his guts out. One can only marvel at his ability to keep his voice intact song after song.
Winston’s in the Greenbrier section of Chesapeake is like playing at home. Suffice it to say most artists who play Winston’s call it their home base. It’s just cool like that. With culinary artists in the kitchen, bartenders who take good care of their patrons – and “mother” the band (“Here, drink this – it will sooth your voice,” instead of “Hey, slam this shot and I’ll bring you another!”) all in a cozy, comfortable environment. Bands love to play this place as much as people enjoy going there.
Dave Johnson does not know the meaning of holding back. His face reddens, veins bulge in his neck, and fans wait with bated breath; hoping his head does not pop off as he manages every tessitura easily. When he goes to that place with his voice, it is literally impossible for anyone to pass out at any bar over their preferred beverage.
Not that Dave is all about volume. His voice possesses a certain ebb and flow akin to the waves of the ocean. His voice can vary from a near meditational quality to the gravelly distinctive sound of John Fogerty of CCR, or Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam. Somewhere in-between is the sweet spot which is the voice of Dave Johnson
Do yourself a favor. Although Dave encourages requests from fans, do not ask him to play your favorite song. Instead, ask him to play one of his originals. With lyrics like: [Leave a light to shine long… I was too shy to take your eyes on – For all my shadows – In all the hallways of all the sad homes – So years they roll by and we may get lost – In the close to never] from “Insomnia”. Or the clever, seductively romantic prose from “Ten Miles”: [Ten miles to go – Soon I’ll be home – How I’ll make it – I don’t know – I don’t care – But I’ll be sure to come wake you - When I get there].
Keeping his head on his shoulders has actually been easy for Dave. He is ridiculously nice and humble, knows his fans on a first-name basis, and always makes time to say “hello” and “thanks for coming out tonight” to everyone in the joint. Although he has been to New York, Atlanta, Florida, and various musical showcases in-between, his lack of not hitting the big-time (yet) has not jaded him. His genre on reverbnation is listed as Rock, Alternative Rock and Blues Rock. By the way, in case you don’t know or have not figured it out by now…Dave knows how to rock.
Dave Johnson recently released his debut CD, "In the Arms of the Dark Tree Limbs". This 5-song album was produced by Jody Dobson of Box 25 studios, NYC and Dan Grigsby, well-known for his production and mixing talent with Bruce Springsteen, Keith Richards, and Joe Cocker. Dave also has his own label, “Human Test Pattern”.
Dave has performed with his band in New York City clubs, including the legendary Bitter End. He has opened for several national recording artists most notably, King's X and also Reeves Gabrels of David Bowie's Tin Machine. One might also catch Dave at a local Barnes & Nobles on a Saturday morning reading and singing to children. Remember… he is a nice guy after all.
With all his talent and positive attributes, I would be remiss if I did not report he is taken. Dave has been married nearly four years to one of the most beautiful of kindred spirits, Charlene, his soul-mate.
To view Dave’s current list of scheduled appearances, to purchase his cd, or find out more information about booking him for your event or venue, please visit: www.davejohnsonband.com.