Ethan Daniel Davidson likes to note that, "most people say they'd like to turn their hobby into their profession. I'm doing it the other way around."
The Birmingham-based singer, songwriter and musician -- and son of the late Detroit Pistons and Guardian Industries owner William Davidson -- was once a full-time musician, churning out seven albums and maintaining a Six Year Tour around the globe. These days his primary work is on the board of the William Davidson Foundation and on the environmental compliance team at Guardian, but music is a bit more than a hobby -- as "Drawnigh," Davidson's new album and follow-up to 2013's "Silvertooth," shows.
"I'd taken a couple years off from music to have kids and things like that, and then you say, 'Oh, yeah, I used to do music...,'" Davidson, 45, recalls with a laugh. "So I got back into doing a little bit of it, not on the scale I had been doing but still seriously. And I did 'Silvertooth' and kept writing songs and that turned into 'Drawnigh.' I really didn't set out to necessarily do anything except rediscover this part of me that had been such a big part of my life for such a long time."
Interestingly, he adds, pursing music with less intensity has actually made him more prolific.
"Just in terms of sheer volume of songs I write, I've been more prolific in the last year or so than even when I was doing it full time," says Davidson, who has three children with his wife and musical collaborator Gretchen Gonzales-Davidson, who played in the bands Slumber Party and Kill Rock Stars. "Now it's a little easier to do it. It's a little more fun. I'm not necessarily doing it with any kind of goals in mind. I'm not trying to get or maintain a distribution deal anymore. I'm not trying to maintain some kind of rigorous tour schedule.
I'm jsut not trying to be in the music business or anything like that in the way I was before, and somehow that's kind of made it more liberating, I guess."
With his wife and His Name Is Alive's Warren Defever as his creative "counselors" on "Drawnigh," Davidson also played on the set with a variety of musicians from the Detroit rock and jazz scenes, including members of the Howling Diablos, Detroit Cobras, Hot Club of Detroit, Bluesong and others. He's particularly proud that Danny Kroha of the Gories signed on to play lead guitar on the upbeat, rootsy track "Muddy Waters."
"When I first moved to the Cass Corridor in 1988 or 89, I went into the Old Miami and saw the Gories, and it was still one of the greatest live shows I've ever seen," Davidson recalls. "I immediately became a Danny Kroha fan, and for this album I thought, 'I've finally become sort of friends with Danny. I've got to write a song I can have him play guitar on.' So it was really to be able to do something with Danny, who's been one of my musical heroes for awhile now."
Ethan Daniel Davidson, colorwheel and DJs TwinSpin
Saturday, May 16. Doors open at 9 p.m.
UFO Factory, 2110 Trumbull St., Detroit.
Cover is $5.
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