Introducing Dave Christman, the NYC-based musical virtuoso whose debut single, "Alice," takes us on a captivating journey through the unexpected encounters that reshape our world. In this rock gem, Christman explores the enigmatic people who briefly enter our lives, leaving behind indelible marks with their peculiar stories and unique perspectives. With a rich musical history as a founding member of Delroy Rebop, Christman's return to songwriting, including his notable work on the PBS film "Tulsa: The Fire and the Forgotten," foreshadows his forthcoming album, "Talking To The River." With an all-star lineup of collaborators, Christman's musical odyssey promises to captivate audiences with its storytelling and versatility. Get ready to be entranced by Dave Christman, a musician whose artistry defies conventions and celebrates life's intriguing intersections.
Hey Dave! Tell us how you first got your start in music? What was the initial spark and what instruments did you learn along the way? I started with guitar as a kid. My mother had a Gretsch New Yorker [guitar] and played folk songs, mainly ballads, so I learned some things from her. I took some lessons, too, but I wasn’t very serious about. Then I started writing songs in my teens and I feel like my guitar playing and songwriting grew up hand in hand from there. And I’m not done learning - during the pandemic, I bought a couple of harmonicas and I’ve got some decent blues licks under my belt at this point.
You were in bands prior to your solo project, and also opened for some talented artists like The Motels, The Rockats, Blotto, and others. How did that shape you as an artist today? Well, having been in a pretty successful band at one point [ed: Delroy Rebop, a Rochester, NY band known for high energy live shows], you come to recognize the discipline that’s required to really make it go. Also, as the songwriter, you’ve got to recognize that the band is like an organism that’s going to ingest your song and that it might end up sounding a lot different than you had originally imagined. Recording tracks is a little like that, too. Every song develops its own sonic and harmonic qualities as you add players and parts so you have to trust in the folks you’re working with.
You just released your debut solo project single "Alice". Congrats! We love it! What inspired this song and what was the recording process like? Alice grew out of a songwriting workshop I regularly participate in. It’s about one of those people that unexpectedly turn up in your life and make you see the world a little differently. I recorded the lead vocal, the guitars, mainly my Fender Telecaster, and a ukulele part, in my home studio. Fred Pratt recorded the bass guitar and backing vocals at his home studio. And Tony Conniff, who produces all my stuff, pulled it all together and added some keyboard parts, mainly during sessions we did on Zoom, which is surprisingly useful for musical collaboration.
You got the opportunity to compose and perform music for the PBS film “Tulsa: The Fire and the Forgotten” (directed by Jonathan Silver). What was that like, and do you recall when you first heard your music on TV? Great experience. Jonathan Silver, who is a visionary documentary filmmaker, had heard some of my guitar stuff and asked if I would be willing to participate. The film chronicles Tulsa, Oklahoma’s ongoing efforts to address a terrible chapter in its history: a riot in 1921 in which a flourishing black business area was razed and hundreds of African Americans killed by a white mob. The music had to capture some of the complex emotions underlying those events. I had never done music for a film before but I was able to import the scenes he needed me on right into Logic Pro, which is the recording software I use. Most of what I did was created and put down while watching the scenes in real time. I saw the film the night of its debut on PBS, exactly 100 years after the riot; a powerful experience.
What's next for Dave Christman? I am going to be releasing several more songs later this year and, in 2024, I hope to put out an EP and a full-length album, which will include Alice and a bunch of other songs I’ve written. I expect to do some live shows in NYC next year to support the releases.
What's one hobby you love to do when you're not playing music? Actually, I’ve got a few. Lately, I’ve been playing a lot of pool. I just came in second in a pretty big, roughly 50 person, competition at Amsterdam Billiards here in New York. I also like to juggle - just moved up to four balls from three!
How can our readers keep up with you going forward? Please do!