Ward Davis

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About Ward Davis

Ward Davis first gained attention in Nashville as a songwriter, placing songs on albums by Trace Adkins, Wade Hayes, Merle Haggard & Willie Nelson, and Cody Jinks. The latter was a pivotal connection for Davis. After he co-wrote three songs for Jinks' 2018 album Lifers, Jinks chose to go out on tour with the like-minded Davis, thereby raising his profile as a practitioner of lean, literary neo-outlaw country. Originally from Monticello, Arkansas, Davis moved to Nashville in 2000. He quickly became a professional songwriter in the Music City, while simultaneously attempting to launch a career as a performer, getting some additional work as a keyboardist in Ray Scott's band. Davis spent his first decade attempting to fit into the commercial confines of Nashville, but success took a while to materialize. His first break arrived in 2011, when he placed "My Kind of Crowd" on Premium Country from David Adam Byrnes. During this time, he was also playing in the Beagles, a band he formed in 2009 with Rick Huckaby and Matt Nolen. Trace Adkins recorded Davis' "So What If I Do" for his 2013 album Love Will... and a year later, the Beagles were showcased on A&E's musical reality program Crazy Hearts: Nashville. Shortly afterward, Davis broke away from the Beagles and released the EP No Bridges in 2014. The following year saw Merle Haggard & Willie Nelson's recording of Davis' "Unfair Weather Friend" for their duet album Django and Jimmie, a milestone that helped the singer/songwriter realize that he belonged on the fringes of Music City. 15 Years in a 10 Year Town -- Davis' debut album released in 2015 -- found the singer/songwriter pursuing a direction that was influenced by classic outlaw country. Davis teamed with Cody Jinks to co-write three songs -- "Big Last Name," "Can't Quit Enough," and "Colorado" -- for Jinks' 2018 Lifers. Following its release, Jinks hired Davis as his opening act on the supporting tour for Lifers, which provided Davis with the opportunity to plug his Asunder EP. 2020 heralded the arrival of his muscular sophomore long-player, Black Cats and Crows, which debuted at number 30 on the Billboard independent country albums chart. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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