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Saturday, September 20, 2014


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Inspiration for new album hails from Palestine




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Folk musician Joshua Davis performs Friday, March 22, 2013, at (SCENE) Metrospace during his tour stop in East Lansing. He performed songs that deal with his Jewish identity and shared his experience living in the Middle East. Justin Wan/The State News



With only standing room available and the accompany of applause, Joshua Davis stepped into the yellow light flooding the stage Friday night.

A packed (SCENE) Metrospace welcomed Davis, a Lansing musician and resident, at the local release for his third solo album, “A Miracle of Birds.”

Although Davis is no stranger to the East Lansing alternative art and performance space, last week’s performance was different.

After a life-changing trip to Palestine in February 2012, Davis returned to the U.S. with more than just inspiration for his new album, but with more fans.

During his trip to Palestine with On The Ground, a nonprofit organization, Davis participated in the Run Across Palestine. Davis and other participants raised funds and awareness in support of fair-trade olive farming communities in the West Bank, according to the album press release.

“Part of my job was to bring back some of the culture and write songs,” Davis said. “It was a really tough trip for me for a lot of reasons, personally.”

Davis, who is Jewish, said he has a lot of ties to Israel, which made the trip difficult.

“A lot of the songs are really personal, they deal with me kind of coming to terms with what I saw over there, and the way I identify as a Jew,” he said.

Chemistry senior Erik Martin attended Davis’ album release after hearing about it from a friend.

“(Davis) plays at The Green Door, and I heard about him from a buddy of mine. I think it’s an amazing story, his music captures what he talks about,” Martin said. “It makes you want to want to do something.”

Davis opened the show with the first track off the album, “Waiting on the Dove,” and continued with “House of Princes” and “The Market,” also off his new album. Dave Weissman, Davis’ publicist, said the music is more than a political message.

“The politics is the interesting hook in, but the music … stylistically it’s dynamic,” he said.

Besides promoting his new album, Davis said he also teaches songwriting and guitar at the MSU Community Music School, but that won’t keep Davis from a music career.

“I’m going to continue doing this for quite a while, touring and supporting this album, doing a lot more solo shows,” he said. “I see music as a way to bring people together and I think people can get behind that, whatever their political ideas are or their heritage is or their emotional ties.”

Weissman said Davis will return to East Lansing on April 13 to perform at Kellogg Center. For more on Davis and his music, visit joshuadavismusic.com.


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