Biography - Bruce Davies

Biography

Bruce Davies was born in November 1955 and brought up in Kirkcaldy, Fife. His father's family, from Rhosllanerchrugog in North Wales, have, for generations, been involved as singers, composers, pianist/organists and his Uncle, the late John Tudor Davies MBE, was a respected arranger and conductor in Male Voice Choir circles. His mother, who came from Dundee, was not musical in a performing sense, but knew what she liked to listen to. Both his mother and father have been a great encouragement to him.

For as long as he can remember, music has always played a part in his life. He made his solo debut at the age of seven, singing “While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks by Night” and many other musical offerings, usually in Church and School followed. In 1969 he was persuaded to join with three friends to form a group as a non guitar playing singer. This was a radical change in direction for a singer who was more interested at the time in Classical music. However, he enjoyed it and it laid the foundation for the most important job of his life. When the two girls left for University, he and the other member couldn't leave this new hobby so they went looking for a new lead singer. The resulting group, where he first played the guitar, became relatively well known (considering their ages and inexperience) throughout Fife wherever they could take their music. Following an appearance in a Talent Contest at Bowhill Miners’ Welfare Club, they became semi professional, enjoying a residency at The Fourways Restaurant, in their home town before further education, once again, interrupted musical activities.

He wrote his first song in 1969 and was 14 when he first picked up a guitar with any thought of learning to play. His first instrument had been the recorder but he also plays keyboards (badly, by his own admission) and dabbles on banjo and enjoys playing bass guitar, which has involved him in recording, broadcasting, and doing live gigs with others, including a year (and one album) with Common Factor, a Gospel Rock Band, and also playing in the "pit" for some Musicals.

I became interested in folk music when I was 14 and in my first group. The Corries were the first performers I ever identified as a folk group. I then discovered, and became a fan of, The McCalmans, The Seekers and the late John Denver. However, the biggest continuing influence is Tom Paxton".

At school, music was the thing that interested Bruce most and, following four years at Templehall School, a time he looks back on with great affection where he played a principal role in “The Mikado”, he won the music prize in his fifth and sixth years at Kirkcaldy High School. He also sang the solo bass role in Haydn’s oratorio, “Creation”. In tandem with his formal music studies, he was a member of many other groups, including the YWCA Light Opera Group (now known as Kirkcaldy Youth Music Theatre or KYMT) and Kirkcaldy Amateur Operatic Society, developing musically and as a performer.

In the 1980s his television, radio and “live” appearances as a session bass player with the Clydesiders and almost 1000 performances as part of, folk duo, Beggars Mantle added to his experience as a performer. He was also involved in the recording studio and on stage with many other artists, including The McCalmans, Harvey Andrews, Peter Nardini, Moira Kerr, Peter Morrison, Alistair MacDonald, Valerie Dunbar, The Alexander Brothers, Nell Hannah and for Scottish Tourist Board. He treasures the memory of times sharing the stage and getting to know legendary Scottish artists including Kenneth McKellar, Andy Stewart, and Jimmy Shand.

He celebrated 30 years as a full time performer in May 2014. As a singer, guitarist and songwriter he has performed all over the UK and has performed on 28 tours in the USA. Averaging around 200 performances a year, he has had many good reviews in prestigious places. However, it was at the Co-operative Hall, Shotts, where he received one of his most treasured commendations – “Heh pal, ye dun the bizniss”! Kenny Rogers also commented (at another venue), “You do great work” and he was recently listed beside Jimmy Shand, Ian Rankin, Dougray Scott and Jack Vettriano in the list of “The 100 Greatest Cultural Fifers...Ever!”

He has appeared many times on television, including BBC “Songs of Praise” with Isla St Clair, “Scotch & Irish” for Grampian Television and on many shows in the USA. His recordings (he has six CDs currently available) are heard frequently on radio and, in addition to his visits to the United States, he has also appeared in Germany, Nigeria and Jamaica. Wherever he works, whether it’s Burns Suppers, Folk Clubs, Highland Games, Coffeehouses, Hospitals, Churches, Schools, Colleges or Retirement Homes/Villages, it’s all important to him and he has had many highlights in his career, the most prestigious of all being his two concerts at the United Nations, New York and three appearances in Nashville at the legendary songwriters’ venue, The Bluebird Café.

Now, he looks back on a full time career that’s into its fourth decade and shows no signs of stopping. Although known primarily as a folk singer, he uses his formal musical background to good effect, being responsible for all accompanying musician arrangements on his albums, including an orchestration played by some members of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra on “Lead Me Home”, a song from his “Livin’ To Love, Lovin’ To Live” album. His concerts usually feature an eclectic mixture of Scots songs, the great standards of the acoustic singer/songwriter and folk repertoire as well as some of his own award winning compositions. In short, he sings songs that have moved him in some way and he passionately wants to move audiences in the same way.

He is the host and male singer at "The Spirit of Scotland" show in The Jam House on Edinburgh's Queen Street. The show runs from April to the end of October each year.

Bruce lives in Glenrothes, Fife with his wife. He has three grown up sons, from a previous marriage, a stepson and two grandsons.

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