Go big or go home

David Garver throws his all into new album, 'Songs from the Ghost Tree'


David Garver is performing music from and releasing a new CD titled "Songs From the Ghost Tree" with a little help from his friends Jimmy Stadler, Bob Andrews, Norm Cutliff and Dave Toland.

The show is planned Tuesday (June 26), 7-9 p.m., at the KTAOS Solar Center, 9 State Road 150, north of El Prado. Tickets are $10 and CDs will be available for purchase.

Garver is a member of The Working Class Theatre Company in Taos and an award-winning singer and songwriter.

He said the new release has been incubating for over a decade. "The songs have been around in some form or other, nearly finished or just an idea."

The cover of the CD is the iconic tree that everyone recognizes as they come to the top of the horseshoe curve overlooking the gorge. In contrast, he said, "The tree on the insert is from a 'ghost tree' in Illinois, a place I grew up in and spent a lot of time. The trees are both dead but still have a presence in the world. Their history is open to interpretation by the viewer. They are still grounded, rooted, worn and beautiful, and still have a presence and a voice, if you take the time to listen. Both trees are a beginning and an end for me."

Greg Thum of Vanilla Pop and Gigantic Hawk produced, directed and mixed the project playing guitar, bass, drums, keyboards and harmonies. Garver added, "He brought so much talent and expertise and guidance to the project."

Garver is a renaissance man who favors the work of the late playwright Sam Shepard, whose plays redefined the landscape of the American West, and Irish playwright Samuel Beckett. He said, "Doing one of their characters is taking a walk down a dark hall, and you must commit and let it take a piece of you, a piece you may never get back, or it looks silly and indulgent. Even great acting looks very indulgent sometimes. It's a strange thing to base your life on and ask everyone around you for support."

His acting career has always been a struggle, he explained. "I went deep into acting. It was my identity. I did not come out of it unscathed, nor my family and friends. It's a bit much, a method actor in the middle of your kitchen. I ended up homeless and sleeping in a truck in a parking garage in Dallas trying to be an actor. It was not my finest moment. I have very conflicted feelings around it. Everyone is a better actor in life than they are on the stage and screen."

He is also a Shakespeare lover and said he is always "reading something from him, and I have a whole ton of it committed to memory. I have a dozen soliloquies in my back pocket. They are like prayers or songs, like universal law and wisdom. You almost want to remove your shoes when you perform that stuff. It sticks to you: to your skin, your gut, your heart, your soul. It never quite leaves you. It's not for everyone, but it is one of the magical treasures ever known to man."

His musical and life inspirations include: "The Beatles who were present since age 5 and still to this day. Bob Dylan changed it all for me. The way I dressed, what I read, how I listened to music. The first song I learned was 'Blowing in the Wind.' 'Blood on the Tracks' is my go-to record to this day. Patti Smith. We share the same birthday. Neil Young, Tom Petty, Bruce (Springsteen), Mozart, Bach, Arvo Part is fantastic and Muhammad Ali. In this town, it's Larry Bell, Jimmy Stadler, Greg Thum, Amber Vasquez, Jackson Price, Mina Tank, Angel Reyes."

He added, "My wife, Aura, is amazing and inspires me daily as do my children and grandchildren." He said the people of Taos inspire him as well.

His early family life also influenced his creativity and musical direction. His mother played piano, and he would sing classics by Andy Williams, Elvis Presley, Johnny Mathis and Tom Jones accompanied by her.

He also listened to Diana Ross and The Supremes. "I still know all of their songs, and Diana Ross was a beautiful exotic goddess, he said.

He also loved Little Richard and Chuck Berry. "The first place I performed my music in front of an audience was in Catholic Mass," Garver said. "I wrote songs about peace and love and was just irreverent."

Garver said he is pleased with the CD. "The guys playing with me--Jimmy Stadler, Bob Andrews, Norm Cutliff and Dave Toland-- are the best around," he said. "Tons of experience, master players who know how to perform and put on a show."

He added people who attend the party can expect "an entertaining high-energy rock-and-roll show. Go big or go home! With soul and sincerity and joy and passion. Original, timely music with some heartfelt and loved covers. And a physical copy of the CD available for purchase."

For more, call the venue at (575) 758-5286.