A Mythical and Moral Tale To End All Tales With Barrett Davis

This one is for all the late bloomers. For anyone that went all in on their passion as an adult rather than a youth (or hopes to still), you will find a kindred spirit in Barrett Davis, who in his late 20s has released his debut album and is pushing to make music his career. While it may be harder to start a music career later in life, it has been done before: fellow North Carolina artists Chatham Rabbits come to mind, as well as previous Southern Songs and Stories guests Pony Bradshaw and Jeremy Pinnell, plus icons like Leonard Cohen and Al Jarreau are also examples.

Barrett Davis (center) performing at the Albino Skunk Music Festival 10-08-22 (photo: John Gillespie)

Davis, a carpenter by day, has the additional challenge of providing for his family while he chases his dream. If his first album The Ballad Of Aesop Fin is any indication, though, he has a good shot at realizing his goals of making carpentry more along the lines of a hobby or side hustle than a daily endeavor. The eight song collection features Woody Platt of Steep Canyon Rangers fame, and is produced by longtime friend and former bandmate Aaron Aiken, now a member of Asheville indie pop group Pink Beds. We spoke on a video call in early September 2022, and touched on everything from the sense of place in his music to his faith to what he described as the “old man emotions” that he witnessed on construction sites. Of course, we dip into his music as well, including a live performance of his song “Lazarus”.

Songs heard in this episode:

“Aesop Fin” by Barrett Davis, from The Ballad Of Aesop Fin

“Highway 64” by Barrett Davis, from The Ballad Of Aesop Fin, excerpt

“Quiver” by Barrett Davis, from The Ballad Of Aesop Fin, excerpt

“Lazarus” by Barrett Davis, live at Albino Skunk Music Festival 10-08-22

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Southern Songs and Stories is a part of the podcast lineup of Osiris Media, with all of the Osiris shows available here. You can also hear new episodes of this podcast on Bluegrass Planet Radio here. Thanks to Corrie Askew for producing the radio adaptations of this series on public radio WNCW, and to Joshua Meng, who wrote and performed our theme songs. This is Southern Songs and Stories: the music of the South and the artists who make it.   – Joe Kendrick