“Blues-grass,” “Americana,” “Roots,” “Y’all-ternative,” – whatever you want to call it, DAVID VIA & CORN TORNADO’S eclectic acoustic mix of bluegrass, jazz, blues and funk is driven by the soulful songs of David Via, three-time winner of the MERLEFEST Songwriter’s Award. They were chosen by BMI, ASCAP, Sony Records, TNN, & the Nashville Entertainment Association as one of the TOP 20 UNSIGNED BANDS IN AMERICA. Via’s songs are real: they tell the true stories of love gone wrong, living off the land, of hard times and good times – they will put on a show you’ll never forget!
David Via’s songs come from being raised and living up in the Blue Ridge mountains of Patrick County, Virginia. Via (as most folks call him – that’s pronounced Vi and rhymes with sky) is a well-known figure in bluegrass/newgrass circles, and with twenty-some odd years of singing and songwriting, he’s made a lot of pickin’ buddies along the way. He started his performing career in church when he was three years old. He picked up on the guitar early and in college began playing the blues from coast to coast. Returning home after college, Via’s long-time friend Tommy Morse brought him back to an appreciation for the home tradition – the bluegrass and old time music Via had heard his uncles play when he was a boy. Via and Morse performed with The Bluegrass Buddies and played many well-known bluegrass festivals with members David Via, Alan Bibey (currently with BlueRidge), Tommy Morse (currently with Clearwater) and Ronnie Bowman (now a solo artist and with Lonesome River Band). It was then that Via started playing the mandolin and since then he has won numerous pickin’ championships. Over the years, Via has played in a lot of lineups and with a lot of great pickers: the newgrass In Sync – Jody King and James Donchez, Kim Gardiner, and Alan Purdue (now with New Vintage) – and with the Dan River Revue (Wyatt Rice, Tommy Morse, Tim Jefferson, Pete Ross) among others. He traveled to the west coast in 2000 for a six week tour with Larry Keel and Curtis Burch. He is now highlighting original material, teaming up with longtime friends who spin the Corn Tornado.
Corn Tornado features Via with Daniel Knicely (guitar), “Fiddly Dave” Van Deventer (fiddle), and John Flower (doghouse bass. Other frequent guests include Woody Wood (guitar), Tommy Morse (banjo), David Knicely (bass) and Curtis Burch (dobro). They all highly complement Via’s songs, singing and mandolin with pyrotechnic pickin’ and tight harmony vocals. Before coming together with longtime buddy David Via, Daniel and John were original members of Magraw Gap (with Larry Keel and Will Lee), band winners at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival and one of the hottest bluegrass bands of the mid-1990s. Fiddly Dave also toured with the Gap and heads his own old-time funk and new acoustic group, Furnace Mountain. Woody Wood was an original member of The Blue Rags and frequently performs with his father, world-champion banjo-picker A.L. Wood.
All band members, including Via, perform frequently with friends The Larry Keel Experience, Acoustic Syndicate and Colorado’s polyethnic Cajun Slamgrassers Leftover Salmon. Via has, in just the past year, joined the stage with Vassar Clemmens, Ronnie Bowman, The Blue Dogs, Tony Rice, Curtis Burch, John Cowan, A.L. Wood and Rex McGee. Daniel and Fiddly Dave are featured on several recordings with Keller Williams ; Knicely is currently performing with such artists as Mark Schatz and Rooster Ruley and VanDeventer still heads Furnace Mountain.
Most important, David Via and Corn Tornado is a collection not just of stellar musicians, but of close friends – a feeling that really comes through on stage.