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The Upbeat: David Gerald

of the Oakland Press

» See more SOUND CHECK

Born: 1968 in Detroit. He resides in Westland.

Sound: Blues

Influences: Albert King, ZZ Hill, B.B. King, Uncle Jessie White, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Prince

Day Job: Gerald is a full-time musician.

Unintended Mentor: The youngest of 11 children, Gerald was influenced by Detroit blues legend Uncle Jessie White as a child, though he didn’t know at the time how valuable those lessons were. “When we lived on the west side we lived on 30th Street and he lived on 29th Street — we weren’t allowed to play with the 29th Street kids ’cause they were too rough. But we could hear (White) playing on the weekends. We didn’t know it was jam sessions or rehearsals, but we could hear him and his music. When I finally got my first little blues band together and played at the Attic Bar (in Hamtramck), I found out Uncle Jessie played there every week, and I ended up sitting in with him at a jam session they had.”

Necessary Luthier: After playing saxophone in middle school, Gerald picked up a guitar as a high school freshman, building his own instruments from discarded equipment he was given by a neighbor who played in a band. “I’d come over and watch him practice and play, and he had guitars laying around that didn’t work, so he’d let me have those. I pieced them together into Frankenstein guitars. They certainly were not Luthier quality; sometimes the strings were close to an inch off the fretboard in places. But that shows how much I wanted to play.”

Further On Down The Road: Gerald has two goals for the near future. “I want to travel and tour,” he says, “and I want to put another CD out by the end of the year. I want to open for act that are way more known than I am and do gigs that expose me more. So I’m focusing on playing as much as I can, and in a month I’m going to start writing the next CD so I can do all original songs in my shows.”

Hear Him: Gerald’s first album, “Hell and Back,” which features five original songs and five live covers of blues favorites, came out in November.

See Him: Gerald and his band will host blues jams on May 7-8 and 21 at McCarthy’s Pub, 1600 W. Fort St., Detroit. Admission is free. Call 313-496-0626. Gerald will also play at the Detroit Blues Challenge on May 16 at Callahan’s Music Hall, 2105 South Blvd., Auburn Hills. Admission is free. Call 248-858-9508 or visit www.atcallahans.com.

Surf Him: www.davidgerald.com.

Web Site: www.davidgerald.com

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