burning cigarettes, breaking guitar strings

neil jones

Neil performing

burning cigarettes, breaking guitar strings
mined his soul's depths for the songs he sang,
with a smoke lit, guitar in hand, all alone or with a band
burning cigarettes, breakin guitar strings

and the songs he sang, the written words
like he read your heart, then punched a nerve
sung for you, sung for me
songs of love, sorrow, released free
burning cigarettes, breakin guitar strings

and now the man has gone. but his songs remain
Carolina sky and Coltrane
sung by me and sung by you
only one thing left to do
burn a cigarette, break a guitar string.

in the promised land there's gonna be a show
gotta new front man, he's a dynamo
choir of angels back the man, playing in a hell of a band
burning cigarettes, breakin guitar strings
burning cigarettes, breakin guitar strings
burning cigarettes, breakin guitar strings

the sun has set, the sun will rise
and warm our Carolina skies
the long road home

tears fall down

george brannon

two guitars in stand

You left us FAR too soon Nathan and you will be sorely missed. I came about your music from my brother and had the pleasure of sharing an email or two with you and you are a very caring individual who is very attentive of his fans.

The sheer nature of your music and the way that it pours out of your soul is enough to bring anyone to a screeching halt and listen to everything you have to say. You know that you helped me beyond what words can explain and for this I will never forget you.

May you find peace in that Carolina Sky, Nate, and until we meet again.

In all of my years I've never known anyone like you.
The songs that you write and the way you sing like you do.
You write with your heart and sing with your soul,
Your words come across strong on my radio.

Your lyrics are strong and your music is fierce.
Your words are like knives and my ears they do pierce.
Like nickels and dimes are the words that I hear,
But these words have much more meaning with these burdens I bear.

I've made up my mind, its time to take a stand;
And without a second thought I take off this gold band.
I have a newfound strength from the words you have said;
If not for these songs I'm sure I'd be dead.

I know I have to leave her for my sanity;
But without your help I don't know where I'd be.
So I pack all my things with a smile on my face,
And I prepare to finally leave this place.

Now the 22nd of August is the day that I dread,
For this is the day the world found out you were dead.
Now tears are falling for someone Ive never met,
And after two days they havent stopped yet.

I go to your website in hopes it's a dream,
But reality sets in when I see what I've seen.
Sometimes life's a bitch with the cards that we're dealt.
For you left us too soon with but 30 years on your belt.

The 22nd of August a crime has occurred,
For never again live will your voice be heard.
I think of your songs and I wonder aloud,
How could such a strong man have been taken down?

I know your music lives on in all of your fans,
And my hope is one day that I'll hear you again.
But until that day comes when we finally meet
I'll have your songs on cd to sing along with the beat.

You left us too soon, Nathan, and your fans are left sad,
But together in Heaven one day we'll all be glad.
For you'll be back on that stage right where you belong
And you'll have just belted out another powerful song.

nate's song

joanna willard

Nathan performing

Nathan was a wonderful man, and I feel blessed to have known him. Inspired by the Southern Pines Memorial Concert, I wrote this song for Nathan. I experienced something for the very first time-- my head swimming with music and like a waterfall the words and music just flowed together and started gushing out faster than I could write.

This is the first and only draft at this point, and is the same I posted on my website in our Nathan Davis R.I.P. thread. I have not recorded this yet because well, I've never recorded anything before. The day I do, I'll be sure to get this one down.

I haven't seen you in awhile, and it's been too long.
I wonder what you're doing now, are you feeling wrong?

I saw your mama crying, nothing I could say;
Only that I hope you found a better place to lay.

So keep on playin' that six string in the northern haze,
While we're left to remember the good 'ol days.

You always left me wanting more, no exception here;
And I would give both my eyes to see you through my tears.

Here, grab this guitar, won't you take back your stage;
I wanna hear you pickin' another heart torn page.

Come out of that blocaine wasteland, let us hear you sing;
Share some more of your glorious soul as the truth gently rings.

Now, as I gaze into our Carolina sky, your ghost holds my hand and I
Just cry into the night.

So keep on playin' that six string in the northern haze
While we're left to remember the good 'ol days.

everything i wish i could say to you

heather raye rickman


I know the only reason I can stand with my head up and do what I do, is because he taught me how.

I cannot imagine a life without you. But I know I will live it, remembering and using everything you've taught me to make me a better musician..

I will sing forever in memory of you. You were my mentor and friend. You were my brother. No one will ever take your place. I love you oh so much. I pray that you are resting peacefully somewhere watching over your little girl and us, your family, as we walk through this life left only with your songs.

You are my heart. And I will carry you with me forever.

I love the way you smile
It makes me smile with you
I love to hear you laugh
I love to listen to you talk
No matter what it is about
I want to hear every word

I love your hugs
The little moan you make
Tickles my heart

I love to watch you perform
It captivates me
Your style is so charismatic

Your words contain truth
Your music truly captivates me
Never has someone had such an effect

I'm always left wanting more
I long to hear each new word
each new feeling
each new song

I wish to learn all there is to know about you
And hopefully develop a life-long endearing friendship.
And that we did my friend.

a poem for nathan

jason adamo


I-40 through Tennessee won't be the same
Ya know the music highway
Where we shared music and stories and dreams

Laughing and carrying on
Taking turns behind the steering wheel
Spinning dear Chicago until we wore it right out

And then there was the drive up to Fox
In the middle of nowhere Arkansas
A long long way from Beale
It all seems so surreal

I knew to not get you started on Beale
Either way you'd tell me again
You were just that kind of friend

Loved to laugh and tell some stories
Now you've found your morning glory
Your music flows through speakers still
But each night the stage feels empty

From the times we burned them down
From Raleigh to Tulsa and back again
You can probably still hear echoes from the places we've been

So rest your weary head tonight
My friend and brother
You're on the other side of light

Say hello to Coltrane
I'll think of you every time I sing
Pulling it out from the heart
Where you will always live
In mine

But man we had a damn good time
But man we had a damn good time
With you I had a damn good time

please mister song player, play your song tonight

jordan perili


The volume knob on the jukebox is broken,
And I've been dyin,
To hear his song today,
But tell me what's the use,
When the speaker's blown anyway,

The man behind the guitar playin
Says he don't wanna be heard anyway,

He sings the moon is dyin,
And swears that he's just pryin,
To get those bloody fingers broken again,

I said why are you wastin days cryin,
Why are you wastin tears tryin,
To turn those blue eyes brown tonight

Where did ya go yesterday,
You left me leanin on the clouds,
The rains washin me away
Through the puddles of disgrace
Is where I'm steady cleanin my dirty face,

The man behind the guitar playin
Says he dont wanna be heard anyway,

He sings the sun is lyin
And swears that he's just hidin,
To keep those memories from playin again,

I said why are you wastin days hidin,
Why are you wastin time pryin,
To get those bleedin fingers broken again,

He holds his head down in the spotlight,
He always hides his expressions,
When he's playin his songs
In this here dive,

He screams just to be silent,
He plays just to be unheard,
When the jukebox knob is broken,
He plays his song,

Im just wastin my days cryin,
Im just wastin my tears tryin,
To turn those blue eyes brown tonight

the angel's song

jordan perili

I've heard the angel's song,
A sweet symphony of prayers,
The little voices harp memories of you,
A smile as wide as the canyon,
And a heart as deep as death valley,

This song seems so small,
In the amounts of your footsteps,
The size of your shoes will never be filled,
Any such replacement would be an injustice of you,

Lift me up,
With the wings of an angel,
Carry me to that sanctuary of song,
High up in the blue gray sky,

And I've heard the devil's song,
A siren orchestra of deceit and pain,
The demons inside of me are battling to breath,
For you've released my tortured soul today,
To rise up to that gray blue sky today,

This sound seems so empty,
In the amounts of your voice,
That echo inside these empty halls tonight,
Cause any placement of dusty photographs would never bring it back,

Lift me up,
With the wings of an angel,
Carry me to that sanctuary of song,
High up in the blue gray sky,

I left today,
Not to die,
But to rise up to a higher guardians watch tower,
To supervise the one thing that never let me go,
And that is the laughter we left hangin',
Inside our radio,

I've heard the angel's song,
A sweet symphony of prayers,
The little voices harp memories of you,
A smile as wide as the canyon,
And a heart as deep as death valley,

This song seems so small,
In the amounts of your footsteps,
The size of your shoes will never be filled,
Any such replacement would be an injustice of you,

Lift me up,
With the wings of an angel,
Carry me to that sanctuary of song,
High up in the blue gray sky

paddy's eulogy

paddy gibney

Paddy with Bill Ayerbe and Nathan

My name is Paddy Gibney and Nathan Davis told me that I was a musician.

"Show me the company you keep and I'll tell you who you are." That's an old Irish saying and a true one. It's unfair to judge a person by their family because we have no choice in that matter. We do, however, have a choice when it comes to our friends. It's obvious, not least from this gathering, that Nathan Davis was loved very much. He was of course doubly blessed when you consider his wonderful parents who he talked about often, wrote about and who are here with us tonight.

Bill Ayerbe and I have been performing live music for almost nine years and we have known Nathan Davis for most of those years. We've played the same places, shared the same dreams, drove along the same lonely roads, and once in a while we got together for a beer or three if, for nothing else, just to make sure we weren't seeing each others' girlfriends without realizing it. Seriously though, we enjoyed those moments away from the stage. It was a chance to catch up and take stock of where we were and where we were going. It was a time for feedback and coming clean around members of the same gang, the same breed. Often Nate would call me from the road at five or six in the morning knowing well that there was at least one other lunatic awake at that time. We kept each other awake on many such nights with our bullshit stories and delusions of grandeur. I never remember talking to Nathan without us both laughing. Of course, we were laughing at ourselves most of the time.

Nathan knew he could be difficult. All great artists are. He told me once that he could really relate to the song "I'm an asshole." I told him that it was a sign of growth when you can be honest with yourself. Then he told me, "I was thinking about you!" And that was how it was most of the time, we laughed. We also made plans, lots of plans. Plans for dinner, plans to play together, and plans to write together. Three weeks ago in Charleston, SC, Nate came to our hotel room after we'd finished our respective gigs. We had just finished a two night stint down there and we were heading home the next morning. He asked us to stay and play with him the following night. We turned him down due to prior arrangements Bill and I both had made. I believe we will regret that decision for a very long time to come.

But Nathan wasn't about regrets. There were many faces, many colors, and many levels to him. I told once that overall we considered him a nice bunch of guys. He got a great kick out of that. I won't tell you what he called me most of the time but, I think I can hear him whispering it to me right now.

Nathan was not a religious man. He was something far greater. He was a deeply spiritual man. Listen to his music! I believe he is now at home with the Source of that Great Spirit. There is no way God blesses a man like Nathan Davis with that kind of talent without welcoming him home with open arms. I take great comfort in that knowledge personally. I also take great comfort in the belief Nathan had in me as a musician. It's only now that feel comfortable calling myself one. Nathan has inspired me to become a better musician. His life and passing have inspired me to become a better man.

I want to thank you all for allowing me to speak here tonight. I especially want to thank Dave and Sally Davis for the gift of their son. His is a great light and, through his music, it will never be extinguished. Thank you.

Paddy Gibney

August, 2006

it hasn't slipped away like a dream, these five years

kami periman

Kami with Nate and friends

Written on August 21, 2011 and published as a Facebook "note."

No, it hasn't been like a dream. I've been a rough dirty gemstone some grimy kid's hands mined from a bucket of dirt at a cheesy "Discover Gold!" mine in a touristy mountain town that has been tossed and tumbled and turned in a rock tumbler, the outer jagged edges worn away, shining brightly again, as nature intended. It's been a pretty significant 5 years.

I saw you again tonight. You are the lightning in the night sky when it doesn't rain. That's how I know you are still here if I ever doubt. I saw you make your first appearance that way that night in Southern Pines when your friends were inside the bar playing your songs, Larry on the drums. I was looking out into the night and my eyes focused on nothing in the sky just above where I could see your mother standing. It was the first moment of clarity I'd had since you'd passed. I always think of you when I see that harmless lightning. If anyone could appear again as lightning it would be you.

I was struck by lightning earlier this year. I was sitting at my computer with a wet head, just out of the bath, trying to cut my computer off in a storm. The lightning ran in the wall, through my computer and out my toe on my left foot. It was terrifying. That was NOT FUNNY.

So yeah. I got away from it all. I had that chance. I don't know why. Why did I have that chance but you didn't? I'm going to be okay now, man. I know you think that's good. I don't know how or why I lived to be sitting here typing this and you didn't. I guess everyone thinks back on a few years in their life and wonders that, glad that they grew up, much wiser, but missing those who didn't. You were the first person I ever lost. It's hard not to feel guilty. No, I didn't live your life. But I was there. No I couldn't have stopped it. I still wish it could be different, but I know it can't be...

Tonight I was thinking about you and remembered that time your guitar was being held hostage. Good grief. You dummy. I had to go put my good word up to get it back. Just because that was such an awesome guitar. And I knew you needed it more than you needed an arm to play it.

It was only this year, for the first time a few months ago, that I put the few things of yours away that your parents gave me after you died. That blue watch box that you borrowed from your wife (I know they didn't know the story, but I did, that's why I asked for it) and that crazy red t-shirt from the worst band in history (again, I knew, I didn't say, I just asked, it wouldn't have made sense to anyone else at the time). I can hear us laughing now. You called me, they were THAT bad. It's bad when the band is so bad that you call someone to tell them to come hear the band playing b/c they are so bad you have to hear it to believe it. AND you buy a t-shirt. I got to King's and we were falling down laughing when you showed it to me. The Helicoptor Tour. What kind of dumbasses does it take to have t-shirts printed 1) for a three day tour and 2) that say it is a helicoptor tour?!? Gilligan and his cronies. Oh my goodness, really?!? REALLY? Ha! Oh my. Maybe I will wear that shirt tomorrow. Believe I will.

So I put your things away. I felt like I had to be able to move on. I had already started. I never will totally.

Maybe the reason I'm here is so I can tell the story. So no one else has to go through it. And you are a part of my story. You are a part of me and everyone else who is listening to your songs and watching your videos and your documentary. Your presence was electric. Your memory will always remain so.

There are still some jagged edges on the inside if you pop open that gemstone. At first they were really prickly, and sometimes they are a little jagged still, but overall, more than not, now they shimmer with brilliance... sometimes the flashes of light from the night sky strike them at the perfect angle.

I always could write better than you.

You will always be a velociraptor, you motherfucker. I miss you.

a place to hide

jassica mashburn

Jessica at the piano

From an email dated January 12, 2007

I got kinda sad earlier and had to write something. I'm sharing, maybe a song, or just a poem.

the congregation read the verse that cast him out
to the streets where it's hard to find a friend
it was impossible to trust another word from the holy cross
now they're heading to land where they are protected by the cold
they ran out of town
they were looking for a place to hide

the situation kept the secret from getting out
when you have a history of trying to pretend
it was impossible to trust a world so filled with loss
now she's heading back to her room to cut the pain and watch it flow away
that's what she does when she's down
she's just looking for a place to hide

a place to hide, where there's nothing they can do
about what's on your mind
a place to hide, somebody asked about you,
but you're nowhere in sight

the expectations of the lights were burning out
with no reason at all he was stolen by the end
it was impossible to trust, what in the hell does more time cost?
now he's in the hearts of everyone that ever heard him play
if there's a higher ground, I'll follow you down,
he was just looking for a place to hide