David Halley will play a fine acoustic concert Saturday, November 24th, at 7:00 PM.
The press says it all...
For many of the out-of-town attendees SXSW was a chance to catch highly touted but rarely heard Texas institutions such as singer-songwriter David Halley, whose evocative lyricism and rootsy drive suggest Richard Thompson and The River-era Springsteen, caked in prairie dust. Although his songs have been covered by Joe Ely and the late Keith Whitley. Halley remains unsigned with only a superb 1990 import compilation of independently released cassette material, Stray Dog Talk, to his credit. “The next song is from our album,” Halley said with laugh during his band’s galvanic set at the Steamboat. “Too bad you have to take a plane to England to get it.”
-- David Fricke-Rolling Stone May 16 1991.
David, so great to see you out singing and playing again! It is such an inspiration and what's the word, I dunno, a message? Yeah, that's it. You seem like the messenger. Thanks! Now if I can just find that interpreter...
-- Bonny Holmes-Facebook September 19. 2010
Celebrating his 41st birthday, Halley showed that he remains a master of resigned romanticism whose material deals with difficult emotions in remarkably fluid fashion. There’s something of the slow dazzle in his songwriting, a subtle understatement that never succumbs to cleverness for its own sake but expresses a depth of feeling that gives his songs resonance beyond their deceptive simplicity. Saturday’s set emphasized Halley’s folkier side, with the guitar complement and vocal harmonies of (Rich) Brotherton as his only support, though even this setting found Halley tossing off pop hooks that would make Marshall Crenshaw envious. He could well be the best unsigned songwriter in the country, and if the music industry can’t figure a way to market him, the strength of songs such as Live and Learn, If Ever You Need Me and Dreamlife speaks for itself.
-- Don McLeese-Austin American-Statesman
When the traveling package show “Songwriter: Austin on the Road: came to the Birchmere last Monday night, it resembled nothing so much as barhopping through the Texas capital during South by Southwest. Jo Carol Pierce, David Halley, Michael Fracasso and Jimmy LaFave, each a legitimate headliner at home, sat in chairs on the Birchmere stage and took turns singing one good song after another…The evening’s highlights, though, came from Halley, who backed up everyone else with unforced, lyrical guitar fills that reminded one of Richard Thompson. When Halley sang his own songs, whether with the consoling sympathy of “Prayer” or the barbed warning of “Man of Steel” he put together the whole package-words, music, vocals, guitar-as few others can.
-- Geoffrey Himes-The Washington Post Tuesday October 26, 1993
Enduring mystery of the age: Why hasn’t a major label signed David Halley? The brilliant Austin-based singer/songwriter thrilled the crowd at a Saturday show at the local PBS studio where “Austin City Limits” is shot: his great band included master guitarist Rich Brotherton and bassist J. D. Foster. Commenting on Halley’s unsigned status, producer and Los Lobos saxman Steve Berlin (who used Halley and Brotherton on his Tish Hinojosa album) remarked, “It’s a mass hallucination on the part of the A&R community”
-- Thom Duffy-Billboard Magazine March 30, 1990
Simply the best unsigned songwriter in America and when he trades solos with Rich Brotherton, it’s reason to holler.
-- Best Bets Austin American-Statesman
The latest graduate of West Texas’ thriving singer-songwriter school, Halley remains unsigned in America despite having his songs covered by Joe Ely, Jerry Jeff Walker, Jimmie Dale Gilmore and the late Keith Whitley. Yet another native of Lubbock, Halley’s style is less obviously regional than Hancock, Gilmore and Ely. Texas towns and border accrordians are kept to a minimum and while there’s a country flavoring to songs like “Rain Just Falls” and “If Ever You Need Me,” two marvelously poised ballads, Halley is ultimately more of a rocker in the Petty mould. Blessed with a pleasant enough vocal style that positively drips sincerity, Halley’s debut is distinguished by some delicately weighted lyrics and the punchy production of J. D. Foster.
-- Mark Cooper-Q Review September 1990
Ironically, Brentoford-based Demon appears to have taken the lead with Stray Dog Talk which has yet to see the light of day in Halley’s homeland. Recorded in Halley’s own home, it benefits from the cheap and cheerful approach, which highlights the man’s unusual lyrical twists. “Further” is an allegorical tale where Halley likens his own wanderlust to a restless horse while a harmonica wails across the lonesome prairie, and the opening “Live and Learn” is a Dylanesque ramble put to a Tom Petty rhythm track. Halley fits between the musical styles with ease while retaining his own identity throughout. The Syd Straw duet “Walk the Line” is pure Buddy Holly and Halley’s voice on “Rain Just Falls” (…to the half truths that are always half lies”) echoes the fragility of Glen Campbell on Jimmy Webb classics like “Galveston” and “Witchita Lineman.”
-- Terry Staunton-New Musical Express August 1990
The only act that I will mention that I listened to that night is the one I’ve been yelling at everybody about recently. Yes, folks, I concede that I’m the last kid on the block to discover David Halley, whose latest demo, I think, bests the Ely/Hancock/Gilmore axis on its own turf: better songwriting than the first two and a voice almost as good as the third. If he can keep from signing with a label that will lose him in the shuffle, or promote him as some kind of country singer, or otherwise mess with what’s a damn near perfect situation, he’s got it made.
-- Ed Ward-Austin Chronicle March 17, 1989
Halley’s solo debut, was taped at the singer’s house and produced by J. D. Foster (formerly Dwight Yoakam bassist, True Believers, Barnburners). From the complex, affecting rhyme structure of Live and Learn to the sheer sadness of Rain Just Falls, Halley makes a pretty good case for being the premier songwriter in Austin.
-- Michael MacCambridge Austin American-Statesman
I don’t have many regrets in life, but one of them is that I didn’t pen a song lyric like, “I wish hard livin’ didn’t come so easy to me…” David Halley did. Though, and he’s written a bunch of other great songs, as well. Yet another of the West Texas expatriates who have enriched Austin music, Halley is a great songwriter and performer and a wizard guitar player.
-- John T. Davis-Austin American-Statesman June 22, 1984
David Halley is a brilliant, evocative songwriter (“Hard Livin’”, “Rain Just Falls”, and the title track of Jimmie Dale Gilmore’s new album, Fair and Square, and one of the finer guitar players in a town full of fine guitar players. But it is his songs which stand out, beautifully structured, yet rich in imagery and emotion. In performance he is a pleasure.
-- Austin Chronicle September 16, 1988
Picking up this tape from the racks of a local record store is akin to catching a performer who usually plays concert halls in a nightclub performance. It’s readily apparent that the talent far exceeds the format in which it’s being delivered…Halley’s ability to write creative and intriguing songs within an accessible framework – an equal parts blend of rock, folk and country – makes his music both critically sound and commercially viable.
-- Peter Blackstock-Austin Chronicle
Finally there are two songs from another old friend, David Halley, a gentleman whose presence in Jimmie Dale’s Continental Drifters give that outfit the double-whammy songwriting power Joe Ely’s band had when Jimmie Dale was in it. One, the title track “Fair and Square” is nice enough – a very clever sad song – but the other “Rain Just Falls” is a real spell, a gorgeous mood and message poem with a power rare indeed in country or any other form. It closes the door quietly on the dense adventure of this album.
-- Patrick Carr – Country Music (reviewing Jimmie Dale Gilmore’s Fair and Square on Hightone)
Here’s an album for people who liked the Eagles but were too hip to admit it. Tom Petty with a brain. Richard Thompson with a heart. David Halley spins out little tales of hard luck love and harder luck life. His spirit shines through these seemingly effortless wonders, bringing a poet’s vision to some testy rock with blue county fringes. Guitar work is uniformly superb, ranging from hypnotic jangly solos to feather touch acoustic picking. I’d definitely recommend you give this stray dog a home.
-- Tabula Rasa Magazine
-- David's Website -- http://davidhalleymusic.com/
-- Bio/Songs -- http://www.allmusic.com/artist/david-halley-mn0000218206
-- Interview -- http://www.virtualubbock.com/intDavidHalley.html
-- Rain Just Falls -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Srqa9MFVGA
-- Hard Livin -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZdsLv-MEiAo&feature=related'
Doors open at 7:00 and the concert is 8:00 to 10:00.
$15 suggested admission donation
BYOB and hors d'oeuvres are welcome!