29 Sep Dave Shoemaker & Dalton Mills
Wildcat Harley-Davidson/Kinetic by Windstream Stage
Anyone from the foothills of Eastern Kentucky can tell you, you grow up with a love for music in your blood. Dave Shoemaker was no different, he grew up learning a love for bluegrass and mountain music from his Pap and an eclectic pallet of musical taste was born from there.
Ask any songwriter, your taste in music evolves with age and time and you begin drawing influence from many of your favorite musicians and genres. For Shoemaker, these influences range anywhere from (The Mighty) Weedeater to Skynyrd to Guy Clark (who Dave will be quick to tell you is one of the best song writers to ever live) to one of Kentucky’s own, Sturgill Simpson. The more he matured as a writer, the more he was drawn to the storytelling of the great Muscle Shoals and Texas writers. If you have had the pleasure of hearing him play at a local gig, it’d be no surprise to hear the likes of Jason Isbell, Townes Van Zandt, or even Blaze Foley ringing through his set.
As you grow and begin to experience the joys and heartaches of life, they begin to shape you. Dave started writing his own material, where he began to pull from those life experiences and stories. He started out writing short stories as a creative outlet but it didn’t take long for the songwriter in him to take the lead and start writing his own songs. “Every one thing I’ve wrote is personal and deliberate.” Shoemaker said, when asked to describe his inspiration for his music. This is what gives his music heart. You can feel the raw emotion flowing in him.
Dalton Mills cut his teeth on the greats of Texas. Guy Clark, Blaze Foley, and especially Townes Van Zandt can be heard in almost any song he plays. Then of course John Prine has his finger prints all over his storytelling. Of course, like any Appalachian artist with a taste for Appalachian musicians, Mills also grew up idolizing Tom T. Hall and Dr. Ralph Stanley. That influence lead to Mills developing into a multifaceted artist, playing not only guitar, but also banjo. Catch him on the right night and you might just see him leave a banjo in a pile of ashes. There’s one thing for certain, Dalton Mills remains true to himself and where he came from. He writes what he knows, and he writes with his heart. You’d be hard pressed to find another musician like him. And for that, I’m glad to call him my friend. -Blake Carpenter