The "Memphis sound" has always escaped a simple definition. Diversity and individuality characterize the musical tradition of the city that gave the world Beale Street, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, the Blues, Sun Studio, B.B. King, Rock 'n' Roll and W.C. Handy.
Jimmy Davis is no exception to this rule. This versatile singer-songwriter, named "Premier Male Vocalist" five times by the Memphis Chapter of the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, knows no boundaries when it comes to musical styles. Influences range from The Beatles to the Eagles, Johnny Cash and Gram Parsons to Jackson Browne. His songs have been recorded by Martina McBride, Restless Heart, Joy White, Johnny Rivers, as well as many other independent artists. Davis has appeared as a backing vocalist on numerous recordings by artists such as Johnny Lang, former Eagle Bernie Leadon, Danny Tate, Eric Gales, William Lee Golden, Mark Collie, Keith Sykes, Iris DeMent, Cory Branan, Susan Marshall, John Eddie, and the late Toy Caldwell. But it's Jimmy's charisma, warmth and talent as a performer that make him stand out among his well known peers.
Jimmy started his career in 1987 with the QMI/MCA debut release Kick the Wall by Jimmy Davis & Junction. The title song and first single "Kick the Wall" was a top 40 AOR hit as well as an MTV hit video. The group was known for its live appearances as a tight, loud, rock-n-roll band and toured all over America.
In 1996, Davis, with guitarist and Junction bandmate Tommy Burroughs, re-formed The Riverbluff Clan, a renowned Memphis rockin'-country-bluegrass outfit from the '70's. The band released two critically acclaimed independent CDs. The live album One Night in a Month of Sundays was heralded for its "hybrid vigor," while the studio CD Two Quarts Low was called a "genre-bending romp through bluegrass, country and country-tinged rock". It garnered a top 20 spot on the Gavin Americana chart and the song "Two Quarts Low" was even covered by RBC favorite John Cowan. The Clan also appeared in the award winning independent film The Poor & Hungry, directed by Craig Brewer (Hustle and Flow), performing Davis' "Honeysuckle and Kudzu."
In 2004, Jimmy made his solo debut with a CD of self-penned songs entitled Jimmy Daddy's Acoustic Song List. Songs like "Grandmother's Quilt," "Devil's Den," "I Gotta Roll" and "Waiting in the Wings" honor every style of music Davis has ever approached. The Commercial Appeal called it "an unassuming triumph and as honest a record as you're likely to hear." March of 2006 brought Campfire Songs to the world. The record was produced by Jimmy and recorded at Sounds Unreel in Memphis by Dawn Hopkins. It features Jack Holder, Tommy Burroughs, Jim Dickinson, Reba Russell, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Susan Marshall, Richard Bailey, Cowboy Eddie Long and the River Bluff Clan. Campfire Songs paints a cohesive and evocative picture by bringing together songs written throughout Jimmy's career. "I always wanted to make this record but I just didn't have enough songs that fit the concept," Jimmy says. "It has literally taken me 25 years to get the right mix. "Tennessee" was written in Germany when I was 19 on a USO Tour and "Death Ridge" was written while recording the album in 2004." As the title implies, some songs were actually written around the campfire on hiking and camping trips. Bluegrass and country, stories and hauntings, it's all here.
In addition to making the latest record, Jimmy has spent the last couple of years helping out a heaping handful of friends. He appeared as background vocalist on the Grammy-nominated record from the North Mississippi Allstars, Electric Blue Watermelon, as well as their new one, Hernando. Also their pop's (Jim Dickinson) 2006 release, Jungle Jim and the VooDoo Tiger and his latest Killers From Space. In addition, he sang on William Lee Ellis' record God's Tattoo, and provided all the backing vocal for Keith Sykes' last record, Let It Roll. The Reba Russell Band album Broke Down But Not Out features Jimmy's vocals and guitar playing as well as his song, "Sister Friend." And he contributed vocals, guitar as well as a cover of Waiting in the Wings to Jed and Kelley's cd Songs To Take Home.
He has also added producing to his list of accomplishments with the release of new songs by Giant Bear, including the song "Nashville", which is on the Paste sampler! Also coming soon in 2008 are Jimmy Daddy's Acoustic Songlist Vol II and a cd of home demos called BEAGLES.
Whether fronting a rock band, providing a soundtrack for an Oscar-winning film-maker, or picking his guitar around a campfire, Jimmy Davis continues his musical journey and the emerging legacy of a new Memphis sound.