“Dave Goddess Group are torchbearers for the three-chords-and-the-truth gold ring…building a following one true believer at a time.”
-The Alternate Root
Dave Goddess is an artist that holds to a singular belief—that real music needs to express passion and truth. It doesn’t have to be lofty; it just has to be genuine.
“Making music is a voluntary act. Nobody’s put a gun to my head and said ‘write that song or else.’ I don’t even know why I do it other than to please myself, and that’s pretty hard to do. Hopefully an audience can connect with the things that matter to me and hear something that matters to them. And I never make musical choices in search of popularity. That might be a bad career move, but I don’t care.”
Those sensibilities inform Goddess’ upcoming album, Back in Business. Written during lockdown in his native New York City, he describes it as songs about “rebirth, religion, time, freedom, and gratitude with a healthy dose a fun thrown in.”
“I live in New York, and it’s such a stimulating place. You just have to keep your eyes open to see something strange or beautiful or different. In normal times I’d just walk around and write down any ideas that popped into my head or phrases I’d hear randomly. Many times, I’d find a scrap of paper in a coat pocket that would start me on a song.” But this time was obviously different.
“Like many other people, I was in pretty much total isolation,” Goddess recalls. “That sucks as a life plan, but it works pretty well for writing. I figured if Shakespeare could write ‘King Lear’ and ‘Macbeth’ during a plague I could at least come up with a few songs. Spending a lot of time alone is a pretty good way to find out what really matters to you, and I found that all that soul-searching gave rise to some interesting ideas.”
The process inspired eleven songs that leave a lasting imprint even on first listen. The music is both moving and memorable, occasionally frayed around the edges, while also remaining simple and straightforward. It’s anthemic and exhilarating one moment, intimate and vulnerable the next, and yet it remains raw, imperfect and determined throughout.
In crafting the record, Goddess has tapped into some pretty traditional sounds—acoustic guitars, fiddle, pedal steel, slide, accordion, and a healthy dose of Hammond organ. Lyrically, the emphasis was placed on what Goddess describes as “open-ended storytelling.” “I put it out there, but it’s up to the listener to fill in the blanks and complete the story. Make it you own--hell, half the time I don’t know exactly what they’re about anyway.”
Goddess notes that he was also inspired by any number of vintage roots rockers, and he cites The Band, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Grateful Dead, The Byrds, Neil Young, and, naturally enough, Bob Dylan as his primary references. “They’re all unique, but I admire the straightforward simplicity of their music,” he suggests. “I soak in the influences and filter them through my own off-kilter brain. In the end you realize that the most unique thing you have to offer is yourself.”
Nevertheless, Goddess admits that given the circumstances fueled by the pandemic, recording the album found him facing a new set of challenges. As always, he relied on long-time partners Mark Buschi on bass and Chris Cummings on drums, to provide their trademark locked-in rhythms on which the rest of the recording is based. “These guys are as solid as it gets--dynamic, powerful, and straightforward. They’re the heartbeat of the band and for my money, nobody does it better.” All vocals and guitars were recorded in Dave’s apartment. “It just goes to show that where there’s a will there’s a way. I had to approach everything differently. When it seemed safe I ventured out to a studio again to record some overdubs.”
Goddess also relied heavily on co-producer/engineer Konrad Carelli for support. “Konrad is my partner and sounding board. He’s a great engineer but is also very musical and creative. In the end, he makes the record sound the way it does.”
Then again, Goddess had a lot to live up to. His last album, Once in a Blue Moon, garnered great reviews, international airplay and an exceptional number of streams. American Highways declared, “Dave’s new independent LP Once In a Blue Moon…provides a solid set of melodies as attractive as a sparkling new jukebox. Lonesome Highway described it as “a nice helping of Americana Roots Rock, served up with a real swagger,” while Virtuosity hailed the album as “Wonderfully arranged and produced…powerful carefree harmonics atop irresistible rhythms. Don’t miss this one!”
Nevertheless, with the onslaught of COVID, Goddess and his group never had the opportunity to share the songs live. His hope now is to be able to return to the road and perform an array of material c ulled from his recent releases. That’s been his mission all along, and with his namesake Dave Goddess Group, the raw and rugged outfit he formed in 2012, he’s been able to spread that mantra through a combination of constant touring, positive press and international airplay. In the process, he’s garnered a popular following and a devoted fanbase that follows him every step of the way.
When asked about the future, Goddess is upbeat, “We want to lift people up with our music—make them think and feel. We want them to have fun and be inspired. We give it our all. If we continue to do that, I think there will always be an audience that will be eager to follow.”