Raymond ‘Chip’ Davis – Singin’ Rascal

chipper

Raymond ‘Chip’ Davis a West Virginia native who grew up in Baltimore Maryland as a preachers kid. Davis made the move down to Music City U.S.A. in the late 80’s after playing the clubs and bars in and around Baltimore for years.

‘Chip’ as everybody knows him around Nashville nowadays, is a singer/songwriter and producer. Who worked with some of the biggest names in gospel and country music. Chris Cagle recorded Chip’s song “What Kind of Gone” it was the only song in 2009 to get a 2nd Airplay award for staying in the top 50 for two years! Just to name a few more Chip worked with are Dolly Parton, Randy Travis, Don Felder, Mickey Gilley, Michael English, Russ Taff, Kenny Hinson, Gaither Vocal Band, Carman and the list goes on and on. Chip sang in the ‘behind the scenes choir’ on a bunch of Homecoming videos. The Martins performed Chip’s composition “Grace” on the Hawaiian Homecoming video. He currently tours with country music legends Alabama. In fact he wrote the title song of Alabama‘s latest project ‘Southern Drawl’. Chip is a singing machine…..a one man choir. Check your music collection and you’d be surprised on how many other people’s he has worked on. He’s either credited as Ray(mond) Davis or Chip Davis. As we speak he’s probably cramped in a vocal booth somewhere round Nashville…..laying down track by track…delivering only the best, to the ones who hired him! Making everyone around him sound better!

Sounds a little dramatic perhaps, but this guy has a signature sound in background vocal land. When you listen to various projects in the country/gospel field from the 90’s till the present day you understand why he’s the guy who got the call. Like George Younce once said to Chip when he ran into him at the National quartet convention ‘Raymond you singin’ rascal… you…’. Chip sang on two of George’s solo projects, and George loved to hear him sing! Davis a singer’s singer….respected for his ‘ear’ for harmony and his remarkable pleasant voice. He embodies ‘easy on the ears, heavy on the heart’ like no one else. Chip recorded a solo album a couple of years back and it is truly one of the best albums out there! It is titled ‘Standing in my own way’. Vocally, lyrically and musically a top notch project! Yet very few know it’s out there, and that’s a shame. He also recorded a stellar Bluegrass album entitled “Lifetime” with his family. Go seek that one out too, it’s one of the most moving and honest albums you’ll ever hear.

So what is Chip up to these days? Well he’s still doing session work either as producer or background vocalist. Traveling with Alabama as mentioned before, where he’s singing and playing keys. And he is still writing wonderful tunes, tunes that have a common thread…being truth. Love and truth…that’s Chip alright! I had the pleasure of hearing some amazing tunes while visiting with Chip just recently. As soon as I heard some of these demos I texted every SGM artists I knew, that I just heard a song that would be perfect for them. At the moment he’s collaborating with Dony McGuire and Reba Rambo McGuire and it’s amazing what these three have crafted! Wonderful songs with poetry and content. Potent stuff! Every group today that is looking for some new material should stop what they are doing and get a hold of one of these three, because these are real message songs…songs of hope and love!

Mark Lowry recently recorded  one of those songs entitled “Come As You Are”. Lowry also posted a video recently that he’d shot at Chip’s home. In the video, that has had 1.9 million views on Facebook, Chip his talented brother Billy, and sister Amelia sing a song that he and Billy wrote over 25 years ago entitled ‘Lord Remember Me’. A song that is an instant classic from the first time you hear it! People love that song, all the comments you read on Facebook and Youtube are nothing but raving! Here’s a link to the studio cut of this song; https://youtu.be/FrvIZRWoC18

Though it’s available on iTunes, and it has had that many views on social media, you would think that song would do well for Chip and Billy. i’m sad to report that sales are not worth mentioning. I hear people say all the time ‘nobody makes real music anymore’ or ‘aren’t there any good songs anymore? Well I tell you there are! But if these artists don’t get what they deserve, you’ll probably never get to hear them! Making records doesn’t come free! Rare songbirds like Chip Davis need to be heard, and his wonderful poetry has to be shared with the masses, there’s a lot to be learned from his songs. So spent $0.99 on that tune…feed the birds…..ultimately feed your soul!
Chip Davis is besides an artist, also a loving family man with a big big heart. A loyal and hard working individual, with a genuine love for all of God’s creatures….great or small. A guy who not quotes the verse ‘the greatest of these is love’ but lives it in a humble and real way! Like George said, this guy is a singing rascal, well indeed he is, but he’s more than just that!

Go to http://www.chipdavisworld.com and get to know this incredible brother!

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Old man river (the old story)

Why is it that I’ve always loved old stuff? Old cars, old music, old furniture, and old architecture. When I was about 8 or 9 I got interested in music…after a got my first record by The Delta Rhythm Boys I was hooked on jazz, quartet singing and voices in general.

After the smooth and intricate harmonies of ‘The Delta’s’ I got into Bill Haley! Bill Haley and his Comets! I had that live album…that had a version of “Love Letters in the Sand”….that was marvelous!

I also had a gospel album by Jim Reeves entitled “We Thank Thee”. I love Gentleman Jim…still do…his smooth, no frills, nothing fancy approach to singing has a soothing quality to it! My favorite song that he did was “The Nightwatch”.

 I bought a compilation album on a budget label that had all kind of different artists on it. People like Owen Bradley, The Kalin Twins, and Buddy Holly. The latter I loved…one of the few R&R poets! “It’s too late, she is gone” I loved that tune!

I’ve always been a ballad guy, don’t get me wrong, I love uptempo too…but I always sit up when a slow song comes on! If you never heard “Blues Stay Away From Me” by Gene Vincent you haven’t been livin’. Gene Vincent was as rock and roll, as rock and roll could possibly be. That cat had it going…..love Gene!

Of course Elvis came along…I had to see what the fuzz was all about! My first Elvis record was “Elvis Golden Gospel Songs”. First time I heard “He Touched Me”, first I heard the Imperials sing!

Elvis got me into Southern Gospel….into the Quartets! My first gospel album was a Imperials album….it was 1981 by then, and the group had some personnel changes from when they sang with Elvis. I rushed to my room, got the record out, and onto the player…. I almost slammed it on that mother. Those few seconds of scratchy silence before the first song comes on…the anticipation…then suddenly Disco came pounding through the speakers

“Closer Than Ever”…I was shocked! Didn’t like it one bit! Brother! Those guys are total sell outs I thought! Abandoning real quartet singing, why?!  But I played it forever…and kinda wore myself out really, so my narrow-mindedness caved in…and decided I liked it! I own every record by the Imperials from 1964 to 1984! One of the best things to ever come out of gospel music was and is Russ Taff! Loved Russ with the Imperials loved that tune “Whenever Is Speak His Name” 

I love Russ voice and spirit…a real good guy! Russ influenced me greatly…not that it helped much…but he made me reach for the stars! And for that I am grateful. Another guy that influenced my singing was a guy named Tony Hadley! He sang with Spandau Ballet…a british band from the eighties. 

Another group I really digged in the eighties were The Housemartins…who did a cappella stuff..and gospel tinged pop! Their lead singer had a distinct voice…love how he sings “Lean On Me”.

As the years rolled on…I grew to love that ‘modern’ music! It’s not that I don’t like any ‘new’ music…man I do…but it’s all current bands playing new music with that good old feeling! The feeling Ray Charles, Merle Haggard, Gram Parsons, Sam Cooke, Charlie Rich, Jerry Lee Lewis, Larry Norman and Kenny Drew give me! 

It’s funny I hate old people, old food, old coffee, old matresses, and old what have you not! But I love my old car, my old music, and the old, old story!