Americana musician Aaron Davis returns home to Frankfort on Saturday to perform at Sig Luscher Brewery.
Davis grew up in Bowling Green, moved to Frankfort in eighth grade and graduated from Western Hills High School. He attended Western Kentucky University.
During a summer break in college, Davis took a five-week road trip and visited 13 national parks. He fell in love with the American West and eventually moved to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, “not even really knowing what it was about, and I didn’t know anybody here,” he said. “I wanted to be in the mountains.” That was 19 years ago.
A lover of the outdoors, mountain biker and flyfisher, Davis took to Wyoming, and eventually started playing music there.
“I was really a sports kid when I lived in Frankfort, and I really didn’t pick up the guitar until I was in college,” he said.
Davis initially focused on playing guitar and other instruments, and later started singing as he wrote songs.
“I’ve had very little formal lessons,” Davis said. “I mainly learned from people in college and playing for people.”
Davis has been playing music full time for 14 years. Early in his music career, he traveled to Austin, Texas, and formed a band with his wife called Screen Door Porch. They recorded four albums and toured the country, but the band took a break in 2017.
“We couldn’t see ourselves doing the big city thing, so we really just felt like our heart was in Wyoming.”
Davis enjoys the small, tight-knit community of musicians in his adopted state. He plays solo sets and also performs with his band Aaron Davis and the Mystery Machine.
“It’s basically a blend of Americana country, folk, blues, rock,” he said.
Davis writes his own lyrics and music, and mixes cover songs with largely original material at shows.
“I really like the simplicity of early solo acoustic blues. I’m also a big fan of Kentucky and Texas songwriters.”
When he learned of an opportunity to play in Frankfort, Davis contacted his high school and college best friend, Nate Jones, with whom he first started learning guitar. The quartet at Saturday's show will include Davis, Jones and local musicians Jaret Ellis and Marcus Brothwell.
“Any time I come back to Kentucky, one of the first things I want to do is hook up with them and play some music,” he said.
Davis, who plays banjo and acoustic and electric guitar, said he is influenced by early acoustic country blues from the Deep South, including artists like Robert Johnson and Duane Allman.
“I like to switch things up a lot because it keeps me writing in different styles,” he said. “Getting out of my comfort zone pushed me to learn different styles and how to collaborate with people.”
Davis’ original lyrics address a blend of Kentucky and Wyoming themes.
“A lot of my lyrics are not as straight ahead as a lot of the classic country I listen to,” he said.
"Americana UK" called Davis a “truly phenomenal songwriter.” Davis’ songs have been featured in films, commercials and network television shows.
One song is called “Same Cloth,” an ode to the similarities we find in each other. Davis said that as he travels and tours, he’s reminded every day of how people are more alike than different.
“I think that’s where live music is so important now, because it gets people off their devices and in the same room and hanging out and socializing, and I think that’s more important now than it’s ever been,” Davis said.
Davis will continue to record songs in his log cabin home studio in Wyoming, as well as produce records for other artists. For now, though, he’s looking forward to performing in Frankfort.
“I can’t wait,” he said.
For more information on Davis’ show at Sig Luscher, visit aarondavismusic.com/events/.