Folk singer-songwriter Dave Nachmanoff grew up in the suburbs of Virginia, but he’s a self-proclaimed “Davis guy.”
It’s fitting that a Davis guy would have his CD release show at a quintessential Davis venue, the N Street Cohousing Common House; show time is at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at 716 N St.
Admission is $20 donation at the door or sign up in advance with PayPal at http://davenach.com/news.
“It’s a cool co-housing community,” Nachmanoff explained over lunch. “The people are very nice. It’s a bunch of houses where they knocked down all the fences in the back. They built a two-story house with a kitchen and once a week they have a communal meal.”
The concert is celebrating the release of Nachmanoff’s new solo album, “Step Up.” It’s an unusual record in that the fans stepped up to make it happen. “It’s all backed through Kickstarter,” he explained.
Kickstarter is an organization that allows artists to get funding directly through fans. “Our goal was $10,000 and we reached it in two and a half days!” Nachmanoff said.
But he soon realized “that wasn’t enough of a budget. I asked people to feel free to continue and we ended up doubling it. In the old days, it took a lot more money to make a record. Now, people can make something for $2,000, especially if you play all the instruments and don’t have to hire musicians.”
The album features mostly new tracks but also two songs from his debut album, “Descartes in Amsterdam” and “Not What I Expected.” The latter features the great line “And it’s Custer’s last one night stand.”
“It was Al’s idea to re-work these older songs,” Nachmanoff said.
You may know Scottish-born folk singer Al Stewart from the 1970s British folk revival hits “Year of the Cat” and “Time Passages.” Nachmanoff has been Stewart’s right-hand man for years now, playing rhythm guitar and singing back-up live. He also appeared on the album “Uncorked.”
In fact, Nachmanoff is fresh of an East Coast stint with Stewart.
“We played Virginia and New Jersey. My wife’s giving me grief ’cause I have three days off. Not in a row,” he laughed. “She’s a mom so she doesn’t get a day off.”
“Step Up” also features a killer cover of Counting Crows’ “Rain King.”
“Al said, ‘You should do a cover; it gives people a reference point.’ They hear it and think, ‘OK, it’s a little like Counting Crows. It also brings in the Counting Crows fans. It gives people a way in.”
While Nachmanoff has been making music for years, he’s still learning new tricks.
“I went to this convention for musicians who aren’t in a major music city, to help with songwriting and marketing,” he said. “Ronan Chris Murphy — who ended up being my producer — gave a talk on vocal recording. He explained you don’t have to use a large condenser microphone and put the singer in a sterile booth with headphones. All that live energy gets lost in that isolation booth, hearing yourself in headphones.
“Lots of great records are made with a dynamic mic — a stage mic — in a room belted out with speakers going. Bono’s recorded like that. The singer gets out of their own way.”
Murphy and Nachmanoff recorded almost the entire album like this.
“We did the vocals really fast, some were even first takes,” he said. “It felt like I was performing live.”
And it shows; the production is fantastic and, as expected, Nachmanoff’s songwriting, vocals and musicianship are top-notch.
Being an independent musician is hard work but Nachmanoff is up to the challenge. He’s happy to be promoting his own music and hopes to tour the new songs in the near future. The upcoming Davis gig will feature a full band, so expect a loud, rockin’ good time.