Summerville-born Jeremy Davis sings Songs to No One on latest Elonzo Wesley album


From Elonzo to Wesley

For Jeremy Davis, life is about pursuing what you love and spreading love to others — utimately, doing your part as a human being. The Charlotte, N.C.-based artist finds his musical roots in family and the styles of swaying bluegrass heard in the Appalachian region. While speaking on what he writes about, his recording process, and his experience as an artist, Davis says he’s focused on his work and adapts to the many changes that the life of a professional musician may bring. Channeling all that inspires his music, Davis’ band, Elonzo Wesley, is preparing to drop its sophomore studio album, Songs to No One.

The band formed in January of 2015 after the breakup of Davis’ previous indie rock outfit, simply called Elonzo. Both bands were named after Davis’ late father, a drummer and music lover. “I wanted to keep that part of the name going, but make some kind of notable difference in the project, so that it’s not the same,” says Davis.

Violinist Alicia Driver, bassist Dennis Contreras, mandolin player Taylor Winchester, and Davis have great chemistry, blending with each other skillfully in recordings. There are times on the record where each individual commands the spotlight. A notable example is Driver’s violin riffs on tracks like “Rule of 7.”

“I’ve been playing guitar for a long time, but I grew up going to church,” says Davis, recounting what initially inspired his passion for creating music, while growing up in Summerville. “I don’t really go to church now or anything, but as a kid that was just a normal part of life,” he says. “That was really where I experienced music for the first time, when you’re [there] Sunday morning singing with a couple hundred other people. It is a heightened experience, kind of.”

From there, Davis’ music appreciation and foundation was laid by his mother. “Over my lifetime, my mom always kind of played music. That was kind of a part of our family ‘thing,’ and she played guitar a little bit, and sang, and played piano, too.” Eventually, Davis realized he loved music and always surrounded himself with it, whether it be by Walkman, Discman, or any other medium.

Davis tries to model his music after several iconic artists. The first is Bob Dylan and how he masterfully wrote songs. Then it was the Beatles and how they created records. From there, the influences are endless.

Davis writes primarily on acoustic and builds up. Previously, writing for an indie rock band became somewhat “aesthetically confusing,” Davis describes. It seems that getting closer to his roots and solely focusing on acoustic or traditional instruments has freed him to be more expressive, contrasting from how many other artists perform.

Determined to take Elonzo Wesley on tour, Davis had a goal set to write a new album over late summer 2018. In order to tour the new record, it had to be completed fast, and this was a bit unconventional at the time. “Normally, I wouldn’t write an album that fast. It would just have come together over a couple of years and then I would start recording it,” Davis explained. “Previous attempts at making records, I can kind of pour over things a little too much, so I decided to do things a little differently.” This included changing his routine for music.

Prior to becoming a professional musician, Davis was forced to reserve his playing for late at night, after the day was finished. This was when all the writing was done. “I decided that I was going to write all the songs in the morning instead of doing it when I’m exhausted.”

Following a new streamlined creative process, Elonzo Wesley is fired up on new material. Singles, like “Human Bean”, showcase Davis’ songwriting prowess, and his simple message to care for your neighbor and not be an asshole, all accented with beautiful and soft instrumentation.

Support the Charleston City Paper

We’ve been covering Charleston since 1997 and plan to be here with the latest and Best of Charleston for many years to come. In a time where local journalism is struggling, the City Paper is investing in the future of Charleston as a place where diverse, engaging views can flourish. We can't do it without our readers. If you'd like to support local, independent journalism:

UP NEXT FROM

FEATURE

11/29 COVID-19 update: 12.2% positive, 1,053 cases; 7 deaths

Charleston City Paper Staff

COVID-19 updates: South Carolina health officials reported 1,053 new cases of the coronavirus on Sunday, with seven additional confirmed deaths. With 8,279 tests reported Sunday, 12.2% were positive. As of 4:26 p.m. Nov. 29, via S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control: Confirmed cases in S.C.: 202,422 (+1,053)Positive tests in Charleston County (total): 19,927Negative tests in S.C.: 2,440,321 (+12,615)Deaths in S.C. from COVID-19: 4,050 (+7) Note: […]

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

11/29 COVID-19 update: 12.2% positive, 1,053 cases; 7 deaths

COVID-19 updates: South Carolina health officials reported 1,053 new cases of the coronavirus on Sunday, with seven additional confirmed deaths. With 8,279 tests reported Sunday, 12.2% were positive. As of 4:26 p.m. Nov. 29, via S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control: Confirmed cases in S.C.: 202,422 (+1,053)Positive tests in Charleston County (total): 19,927Negative tests in S.C.: 2,440,321 (+12,615)Deaths in S.C. from COVID-19: 4,050 (+7) Note: […]

Chanukah at The Bend making the switch to drive-thru

The largest annual Jewish event in the state is still on, but moving to a new location for the same festive atmosphere at a social distance and from the safety of your car. Join family and friends for Chanukah at The Bend starting at 4 p.m., Dec. 13. Shifted from the traditional, annual Chanukah at […]

Brack: Here’s to two good friends who will be just a click away

In this season of thanks during a year that’s challenged everyone in new ways, let’s remember and honor friendships. Friends make our lives richer. They open new worlds and ideas. But they’re so familiar and comfortable that you kind of want them to never change and always be there.  Two longtime friends, cookbook author and […]

Before You Go: Record holiday spending projected; Groups ask McMaster to address long-term care

COVID-19 updates: South Carolina health officials reported 1,777 new cases of the coronavirus on Friday, with 28 additional confirmed deaths. With 14,392 tests reported Friday, 12.3% were positive. As of 2:46 p.m. Nov. 27, via S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control: Confirmed cases in S.C.: 199,538 (+1,777)Positive tests in Charleston County (total): 19,803 (+709)Negative tests in S.C.: 2,440,321 (+12,615)Deaths in S.C. from COVID-19: 4,043 (+28) […]