Musician David Lawrence has called Colorado home for more than a decade. Now, he’s not only the proud new father of a baby boy, but also of a new debut album called “Lean In.”
The album blends diverse genres, including roots Americana, down-home blues, old-school country and even a bit of jazz. As the name suggests, the album is all about leaning in—to becoming a father, to releasing original music and to being his authentic self.
“Every time I play, I’m leaning in and waiting to see if the audience leans back,” says Lawrence.
We chatted with Lawrence during the band’s five-city Colorado album release tour—which stops in Denver at The Black Buzzard on Oct. 14 and Boulder at 63rd Street Farm on Oct. 21—to get the scoop on what inspires him. Learn more and get tickets online at davidlawspoonful.com.
Can you share some of your earliest musical memories? How, when and why did you get into music?
My earliest musical memories come from listening to my father. When I was pretty young, I remember him saving up for his dream instrument, a baby grand piano. Most nights, I remember him playing a few tunes, some Carlos Jobim, The Beatles or just something stuck in his head.
I didn’t start playing music until I was a freshman in college. I loved poetry and got really deep into the slam poetry scene. I realized if I wanted more people to listen to my poems, I better put some music behind them and start writing songs. I became obsessed with the guitar and, after years and years of struggle, started to synthesize my two loves, lyrics and music.
What’s the story behind the band? How did everyone come together to create David Lawrence and The Spoonful?
The band started pretty informally with a weeknight gig in Buena Vista at the Wesley Rose inside the Surf Hotel. Coleman Smith, an internationally touring violinist from the Colorado bluegrass band Rapidgrass, was looking for a guitarist/vocalist who loved early swing and hot-club jazz akin to the style of Django Reinhardt. My long-time friend and bass player, Gary Sloan, said, “I know just the guy.” With no rehearsal, we tore up that three-hour gig and it was one of the most magical musical synergy moments in my career. Since then we’ve added a drummer, played some of the state’s best stages, brought in guest musicians and recently completed an all-original debut album, “Lean In.”
How would you characterize the band’s style?
The music that I love is roots music. It’s rich, deep and shared like bread, between travelers and around campfires. It’s nourishing. It’s blues music played on an old guitar or a finger-picking Americana song that everyone does a little differently. My biggest inspirations are American blues legend Taj Mahal and Romani-French jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt. A contemporary artist that I think we sound a bit like would be The Wood Brothers.
What is the band’s songwriting process like? Where do you seek and find inspiration?
I think some of the best songs create a feeling without forcing the listener to think a certain way. For example, instead of singing, “I’m so sad my sweetheart left me,” you would sing about “the smell of her perfume still lingering on the cold side of the bed.” Create stories, invoke the senses and put the listener into the song with you. Those images and ideas are everywhere if you listen with intent.
What are you most proud of about this new album? What sets it apart? What does it mean to you?
“Lean In” reflects on personal songs and stories that span my life and musical journey over the last decade-plus. It’s the result of untold hours of writing, recording, editing and over two years of production. Simply put, I’m incredibly proud that it exists. Also that in 20 years, my baby boy can dust off a vinyl and listen to his dad sing about the first time his parents kissed. What sets it apart is my fusion of traditional roots Americana music with fresh original songs.