Ethan Daniel Davidson tried going straight. For a minute.
During the seven years since his last album, the Detroit troubadour hung up his bohemian music ambitions -- which had included seven albums and a Legendary Six Year Tour around the world -- and settled down with a wife, two children and getting involved in the businesses of his late father, former Detroit Pistons owner William Davidson. But now Davidson, 42, has returned to music with a new album, "Silvertooth," but a slightly different orientation these days.
"I'm fortunate. I don't need to support myself with (music) anymore," explains Davidson, who holds degrees from the University of MIchigan, Harvard, the University of Chicago and the Universite Paris and was co-owner of the now-defunct Royal Oak-based Times Beach Records label. "I can write and record things because I want to, and when I want to. I don't have any interest in spending all my day on the telephone trying to book shows and trying to get paid at the end of the night. I don't need to do that anymore, which is a great feeling."
The lack of pressure has certainly opened up a new well of creativity for Davidson. Though he says there were times during the past seven years when he "couldn't even touch a guitar," Davidson, who resides in Birmingham, has recorded four albums' worth of music which will come out under his own name and with Seedsmen of the World, a band he formed with his wife Gretchen Gonzales Davidson, who co-produced "Silvertooth" with His Name Is Alive's Warren Defever. Davidson is also giving away the moody, nuanced "Silvertooth" -- which features new Pistons/Palace owner Tom Gores on tambourine -- for free, continuing a practice he started earlier in his music career, well before it was in vogue in the music industry.
"During the Six Year Tour I gave away more than 50,000 albums all over the world," Davidson recalls. "I don't know if that was successful or not in the end; I'm not exactly a household name, you know? But that was back in the 90s when Napster was big and I figured nobody was going to buy albums anymore, so why not give them away?
"And now I thought that if I'm going to get back into it, the way things are, I may as well give them away. My attitude is if someone calls me and wants to give me a lot of money to go tour England, or if somebody wants to license a song for a commercial or movie, I'll figure out a way they can pay me for that. Otherwise, if a fan wants the music, I don't see any reason why they shouldn't have it for free."
Ethan Daniel Davidson celebrates the release of "Silvertooth" at 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 15, at the DSO Music Box in the Max M. Fisher Music Center, 3711 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Reservations are required and can be made via firstname.lastname@example.org.
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