Dave Desmelik debuts 10th album at Grey Eagle show

NOW AND THEN: Dave Desmelik's 10th album revisits his older songs, but it's no intentional greatest hits album. “I wanted to do something that’s a little more representative of the sound that the trio is today,” he says. Photo by Brent Walker

There’s something about reaching double digits that make 10th anniversaries and accomplishments times of reflection. But for Dave Desmelik’s 10th self-released album, Old News, its look back at the Penrose artist’s previously recorded work is merely coincidental.

The collection receives a family-friendly release show on Wednesday, July 1, at The Grey Eagle. “Some of these songs were recorded a long time ago, and they are almost different songs now – same lyrics and same type of chord progressions, but just a different feel,” Desmelik says. More than anything, he says, he wanted to express the live energy created by his band — Josh Gibbs on lap steel guitar and Andy Gibbon on bass.

Over the course of a single afternoon in December, all 12 songs were recorded live by the trio. The process was done in one take, with no overdubs, on an old Tascam 8-track recorder. “I don’t think there were any train wrecks, so to speak, but there are warts and scabs along the way,” Desmelik says. “It’s certainly not a polished album. But it’s real, it’s authentic, and I think it captures that good spirit of song.”

Desmelik’s next two albums are already written, but he hasn’t had the time to record them. Last summer, not long after Desmelik finished lyrics for one of those projects, his son Holmes — a rising first-grader at Brevard Elementary School — was diagnosed with a brain tumor. The other album, half lyrical and half instrumental, was written after that major life shift and is influenced by it to an extent. “I’m certainly thinking about him and what’s going on with his brain tumor and pediatric brain cancer and all this stuff, 24/7,” Desmelik says. “It definitely affects me in writing. Sometimes it’s more of a feeling than lyrical stuff.”

Also impactful is the network of friends and colleagues known as the Holmes Team. They’ve been responsible for selling T-shirts and organizing benefits across the region to help pay the family’s medical bills. Desmelik says that he and his wife, Clare, lean on the energy of that support group, as well as that of the upbeat Holmes himself, who is generally doing well.

“[Kids] have a different mindset than adults,” Desmelik says. “They don’t think about the future or the past – they are just in the moment. It’s been a good reminder for me and Clare to try to stay in the moment as well and take this one step at a time.”

Chemotherapy sessions are typically on Mondays, which often have Holmes worn out by Wednesdays. But there are also days when he wants to go swimming, hiking and eat Mexican food. The Desmelik family, including preschooler Vince, have planned a beach trip for this summer. And for Father’s Day, Holmes and his dad went to Atlanta to see the Braves take on the New York Mets — the younger Desmelik’s first major league baseball game.

WHO: Dave Desmelik Trio

WHERE: The Grey Eagle patio, thegreyeagle.com

WHEN: Wednesday, July 1, 6-8 p.m. Free.

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About Edwin Arnaudin
Edwin Arnaudin is a staff writer for Mountain Xpress. He also reviews films for ashevillemovies.com and is a member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association (SEFCA) and North Carolina Film Critics Association (NCFCA). Follow me @EdwinArnaudin

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