Raymond ‘Chip’ Davis – Singin’ Rascal

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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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Review “Journal of a Songstress” by Destiny Rambo McGuire.

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“It is the function of art to renew our perception. What we are familiar with we cease to see. The writer shakes up the familiar scene, and, as if by magic, we see a new meaning in it.” (von Goethe)

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was a gifted playwriter, novelist, poet, statesman, scientist, and philosopher. But above all these marvelous titles he was an amazing thinker! Listen to what his quote says; It is the function (why it’s here, and how it’s supposed to work) ,  he then he then continued saying, ‘that it’s supposed to renew our perception’.  Speaking of such! A lot of the music cranked out in the music scene is nothing more than the same old same old….it really is. Music in general is almost reduced to wall of sound, with less melody and more bpm’s (beats per minute), sucked vacuum by the lack of content.  But thank God for beautiful music and wonderful crafty wordsmiths! “Beautiful music is the art of the prophets that can calm the agitations of the soul; it is one of the most magnificent and delightful presents God has given us”. said Marten Luther!

Thank God for Destiny Rambo McGuire, daughter of Reba Rambo McGuire and Dony McGuire. Who is not only a lovely, and gifted young lady. But a stunning, ravishing young woman who possesses a rare kind of elegance. This young lady is the grand-daughter of the late and legendary Dottie Rambo, never was there anyone that was such a worthy and fitting heir. You’ll hear people describing the human voice like an instrument, and Destiny sure has a fine instrument!  In short, she’s got it all! Beautiful as fine china,a poetic writer, a nomad, mysterious, and what a voice!

Her latest album entitled “Journal of a Songstress” is nothing short of breathtaking! It opens with a Donna Summer disco sounding song, I am transported to the old couch at my folks home, where I’m watching an episode of ‘Love Boat”. First song on the album is entitled “He Gave Me Music“, it’s full of wah-wah riffs on a guitar, strings, brass,slap bass and a disco beat. Very uplifting, and love the unexpected opening of this album. Unexpected? Yes because the album art suggests anything but this, that’s why this is a good choice!

Second on the album is “Letters to Cinderella” which features Nick Britt singing harmony on the choruses. Nick Britt and Destiny in duet sound just as good as Leslie Philips and Paul Smith did on “Make My Heart Your Own“. Don’t know who wrote this song (I hate writing reviews without credits) but it’s a superb lyric. Musically it would fit a Disney movie very well, if there’s no script to fit these lyrics, somebody ought to start writing them. I’m lyrical about this song! The first definition of the word ‘lyrical’ is ‘expressing deep personal emotion or observations’ the second is ‘highly enthusiastic; rhapsodic’. If there was ever a ‘bohemian rhapsody’ this is it! Destiny is expressing deep personal emotion, and does so in a highly enthusiastic manner.

The third song has the melodious makings of an old Irish tune….at least that’s the association I make. Maybe you’ll hear Jamaica in it…. it don’t make no difference really ,whatever or where ever….it sounds bloody marvelous anyway.

Let me make this statement now, to the writers that contributed to this album, some of who are unbeknownst to me. Who ever you guys are, there’s a minimum of two extra stars going be set in your crowns!!

Garden of Incense” is the next track, that starts with a piano fly that sounds like a thing Dr John would do..a great gritty track, Destiny’s crystal clear, soft, yet piercing vocals and the floating background vocals seem out-of-place, against that groovy backdrop. Somehow this provides a harmonious contrast that boosts this song into the ‘remarkable’ section of your music library. It’s been a while that I was so excited by a record.

The fourth song is also of world-class, magnificent perfect melody, everything comes together two exceptional singers Destiny and Nicole Nordeman…wonderful singing, beautiful playing, superb lyrics…and that melody..did I mention that before? The song’s entitled “He Starts With The End”…wow! ”

“I Just Came To Talk With You Lord” that Dottie Rambo wrote is next…the musicians are playing with a such a believable jazz vibe. I could hear Norah Jones sing this song. Destiny is a world-class performer, a nightingale….this is soooo good….this familiar tune made my jaw drop, as if I heard it for the first time.

My daughter heard the next song on the album, and said “hey dad’s playing ‘modern music’!Well I love u 2 darling! No kidding…but that’s what she said, and I was grinning from ear to ear, she suddenly thinks I’m cool. The song entitled “Upside Down” is besides stellar, modern indeed. Not because my daughter (eleven years old)  said so, but because this will always be considered modern…songs like this will never grow old.

Let me quickly skip to track  14 (there’s a total of 15 songs on this album), now that we’re talking about songs that will never get old “He Will Provide” a great standard from the gospel quartet’s golden era! Written by Cornelius ‘Mac’ McGuire (grandfather) and her father Dony. A song I first heard sung by the obscure Sabers Quartet years ago. This cut’s musical setting is a piano and lush violins. Destiny is joined by Sonya Isaacs Yeary and Rebecca Isaacs Bowman, these three should record a complete album! Very moving rendition, and thank you, lovely Destiny for breathing new life into that classic, thanks for bringing it back to the party.

I suddenly feel incapable, unfit and  totally inadequate to continue like this. Continuing struggling, trying to describe the splendor of this gem! Sorry y’all,  but I can’t muster more superlatives without repeating myself! And in the days of short attention spans,  I’m in grave danger to alienate my audience (yeah right, as if)  by boring the living daylights out of you. So let me state that this album is a fest for the mind, body and soul.

You won’t be bored with this truly creative and daring album, I guarantee that, you may even quote me on that! I urge you all to buy this album on iTunes, and write the rest of the review, on the pages of your mind!  This is a one of the most amazing albums I heard in a long time. Masterfully produced album and my sincerest compliments to whomever was responsable for the production! This is truly an album of epic proportions, it’s intimate, uplifting, thought-provoking. Just all around impressive!

Destiny Rambo McGuire’s album is available through iTunes! Merry Christmas…and spread a little love around!

Vintage1966