When you meet Dave Tucker, it doesn’t take long to see that he’s the salt of the earth. A carpenter by day, Dave is a hard-working man who tells it like it is. “If I ain’t sweatin’ then I haven’t worked,” he says, “and if I haven’t worked, how can I justify the pay?” His homegrown pragmatism is also what so appropriately makes him an Americana singer/songwriter. Dave Tucker now prepares to release his fourth studio album, In Kind, on December 18, 2012. “In Kind is my statement of bartering for what I need,” and that’s exactly how this album, produced by recording artist and multi-platinum songwriter Wendy Waldman, came to be.
“Carpentry has very tangibly shaped my world of music,” says Dave, “in that it has provided my entry into the actual creation of my album.” Born and raised in Union County, New Jersey, Dave Tucker temporarily moved to Los Angeles in 2008 on a carpentry-music barter deal. It started with making an album with producer, songwriter and recording engineer Rob Hoffman (Quincy Jones, Christina Aguilera), and that soon led to light carpentry work for Wendy Waldman, followed by co-writes between Wendy and Dave on his 2009 EP Inductive Reasoning. In the spring of 2011, with a vision and only one floor plan, Dave Tucker built Wendy Waldman’s new studio, the Longhouse II, at her home in the San Fernando Valley in five months. It now acts as the home of the acclaimed public radio show FolkScene, which has been on air for more than 40 years, and now on KPFK.
Dave’s carpentry masterpiece was exchanged for In Kind, recorded at Longhouse II in the summer of 2012. The album features Dave Tucker (acoustic guitar, vocals), Phil Hurley (lead guitar), Tom Fillman (drums/percussion), and Ted Russell Kamp (upright, electric basses). In Kind was engineered by Mike Sawitzke, mixed by Rob Hoffman and mastered by Sangwook “Sunny” Nam at the Mastering Lab. Taking on the roles of both producer and mentor, Wendy Waldman helped Dave to blend the lines between music and carpentry, asking, “What part of a song is the foundation, the windows and floor?” Dave learned that just as the person who does the dry wall isn’t the one who puts in the windows, he had to trust Wendy’s production and Rob’s mixing.
In Kind guides the listener through traditional Americana, folk and roots (“Mountain of a Man”), to pop rock (“Cocoa Butter Baby”) with a little country swagger (“Slidin’ Backwards”), then throws curveballs with a reggae beat (“Arctica”) and singer/songwriter ballad (“Simple Kind of Love”). The all-encompassing, explorative nature of Dave Tucker makes sense though, considering he grew up in an extremely religious and socially conservative family, which, for most of his youth, kept him from discovering music outside of Peter, Paul and Mary; at age 17, Dave seized his musical freedom with a driver’s license and car radio. A lover of poetry who learned how to look for substance in music because he had to justify it to his parents, Dave Tucker is a man who will always choose, “Let’s go dancing in the harvest moon” over “I wanna make love.” After all, it’s the innuendos that make you sweat.