David Nevue: Whisperings of a Revolution?
By Mark Kirby, MusicDish.com
There is a quiet revolution going on in the music
world. As the industry continues to eat itself, to relentlessly
screw both artists and consumers alike, musicians are left scrambling.
Record labels are devoured by bigger labels, which are appendages
to corporate leviathans interested only in short term gain, and
the rote satisfaction of CEO's and voracious stockholders. This
leaves less and less room for the kinds of music and musicians that
created the monster in the first place. But there is another way.
Thanks to the internet, many musicians and bands of all genres are
turning to the world wide web to circumvent Leviathan, successfully.
is such a musician. Clearly seeing the writing on the music biz
wall, he bypassed the ritual of sending his demos to labels and
perhaps being courted by an A&R person, only to be rejected or ripped
off. Since 1995, Mr. Nevue has exclusively used the web to communicate
with listeners and distribute his music. A pioneer in exploring
the wild, wild world of online music marketing, and staunch advocate
of reaching out to and empowering his fellow musicians, he has published
a how-to manual called - what else - How
to Promote Your Music Successfully on the Internet.
That such an approach is taken by someone producing
introspective, mellow music - most DIY (do-it-yourself) proponents
are found in the marginal worlds of punk rock or avant garde jazz
- is part of David Nevue's uniqueness and proves that artists of
all genres can and are circumventing the stultifying music industry
that chokes creativity. It's also in line with his unique musical
Streaming MP3: Listen
to a Series of Songs by David Nevue
What are your earliest musical memories? Did
your parents play music in the house?
[David Nevue] No, not at all. I was raised
in a totally nonmusical family. In fact, my dad is totally tone
deaf. I've been told that if you go back two generations, our
family was VERY musical. I think the gift skipped my dad and fell
to me. As for my earliest 'musical' memories, as crazy as it sounds,
it boils down to my watching the Monkees TV show as a kid. Micky,
Davy, Peter and Mike - THEY were my musical family. At seven years
old, I wanted to be in a band just like that.
Who are your musical mentors and biggest influences?
Nevue] Of course, I credit my high school and college music
teachers, Brad Peterson and John Bowman, for giving me the foundation
I needed to become the musician I am today. Keyboardist Jeff Johnson
gave me good advice and direction during my early years.
But the biggest influence on me was simply listening
to music. During college, I immersed myself in the music of Rush,
Pink Floyd, Kansas, Clannad, Kate Bush, U2 and Renaissance. Somewhere,
in the midst of all that listening, I took away the elements that
shaped my musical style. I suppose what drew me to these artists
initially was that every one of them has their own, signature
Listening to Rush, for example, has had a major
influence on my own compositional style. While my solo piano works
may not exactly inspire memories of '2112', every composition
I write is driven by my desire to create interesting, ever changing,
thought-provoking works. I demand that from myself, and that,
to some degree, came as a result of appreciating, the complexity
of Rush's work.
With Kansas, Renaissance and Kate Bush, I really
appreciate the keyboard work. It's nice to hear something now
and then where the piano is the featured instrument. I remember
the first time I heard Ben Folds' "One Angry Dwarf" on the radio.
I was like, "Wow, there's a piano on the radio!" and I cranked
it up! As for the other bands, you can feel their music. In a
like manner, It's my desire that my listeners feel mine.
Streaming MP3: "One
Night at Mozart's"
his first album, The
Tower, with its dramatic, art rock drive, through the quieter
and more melodic follow-up records While
the Trees Sleep and The
Last Waking Moment, a work based on a vision of mystic Christianity,
Mr. Nevue has forged a unified sound and evocative musical voice.
From these past works, Mr. Nevue culled the pieces
found on Whisperings,
a best of and reintroduction to his ever-growing number of fans.
The songs on this disk explore various approaches to theme and emotional
the Trees Sleep," for example, takes a simple, rolling four
note pattern, and develops it into a motif that builds like the
rolling waves of incoming tides, getting denser and stronger, before
from another early release, The
Vigil, is romantic in the manner of Debussy, but has a touch
of Americana, adding a dash of blue emotion to the song's European
What made you decide to focus exclusively on
[David Nevue] I was playing keyboards for
garage bands during my college years. I enjoyed that very much,
but I found more enjoyment and less frustration just doing my
own thing. I'm kind of a musical control freak, not to mention
an extreme perfectionist, so I don't think I was the easiest to
work within a 'band' context. My college roommate introduced me
to the piano music of George Winston. That's what really turned
me on to the piano. Winston's sound was unlike anything I'd heard
before. So, at the age of 20, I sat down at the piano and starting
playing with some of my own musical ideas. And that's what I've
been doing ever since.
Streaming MP3: "While
the Trees Sleep"
music that is not strictly designated a "for meditation and prayer"
is designed for rapt focus and attention. David Nevue's songs, however,
have multiple uses. One can focus on the compositional flow and
his technique totally. Or one can have it in the background as you
sit in your home or go about everyday chores. You can also lay back
and let your thoughts cascade as the music washes over you. After
an evening of loud bars and music spaces, this writer has found
his CDs Whisperings and Postcards
from Germany to be the perfect antidotes to the pummeling
intensity and crazed energy of life in the city (and today's pop
Your music on these CDs could be compared to
George Winston's piano records. But the songs have too much change
and movement to be considered New Age. How do you describe or
define your style of piano music?
[David Nevue] I would describe my music as
"Neoclassical." Basically, what I do is a simplified version of
classical music. My compositions, though, are totally melody-driven.
Rather than trying to compose something complex and significant,
I keep things simple and to the point. I have a musical idea,
develop it, put a twist on it, and then wrap up the song.
Streaming MP3: "Home"
Nevue's musical goal is to evoke more complex, inward emotions.
from Germany, for example, paints pictures of odd, quiet
and lovely moments. The title song starts on a simple ostinato figure
with a rhythm that has a stridency that evokes the historic, stately
feel of Germany.
"Racing the Northern Lights" takes you on a wintery
drive in the north country at the early afternoon sunset. Other
highlights include "The Kindness of Strangers," a tune that evokes
the feelings of gratitude and warmth that only a stranger in a strange
land can feel when confronted with need hospitality, the ultra romantic
"Castle Hunting" and "Big Snow in Salzburg," his affirmative answer
to Debussy's "Snowflakes Are Dancing."
On Postcards From Germany how are the places
that the pieces are named after related to the pieces themselves?
Nevue] The album, as is probably obvious, was inspired by
a trip my wife and I took to Germany and the surrounding areas
in 1998. The trip was such an amazing adventure. Germany is a
magical place, filled with ancient castles and cathedrals. And
the countryside, particular in Bavaria, is simply stunning. There
were days my wife and I felt like we were exploring a fairytale
world. I just loved it. After we arrived back in the States, I
found my mind returning again and again to Germany. I missed it.
Before long, I began to put some of my favorite memories to music,
trying to capture, in some small way, the moments that made the
biggest impact on me. That's how the album, a collection of musical
'postcards', came to be.
Streaming MP3: "No
How did you come up with the idea for your book
How to Promote Your Music Successfully on th Internet?
[David Nevue] Well, I started promoting my
music on the Internet in 1995. When I began to have some success
at it, I thought to myself, "Man, I wish someone had shown me
how to do all this." So, I thought, why not be that guy? Why not
be the person who shows other musicians what works and what doesn't?
So, in November 1997 I release the first edition of my book. I
just released the Fall 2003 edition and I'm finishing up the 2004
Nevue also has created The Music Biz Academy (www.musicbizacademy.com),
an information repository. It is, he says, "an archive of everything
I've known and learned about the music business." He covers all
aspects of the topic, including music industry news, career opportunities,
and a directory of carefully selected resources for independent
With his spirit-lifting music and his humble, yet
authoritative and radical approach to spreading his music, he is
a different kind of music figure. And a much needed one. Besides
offering his music on his own website, his CDs can be found at MP3.com,
Amazon.com. CD Baby, and FaveStreet.
by the MusicDish
Network. Copyright © Tag
It 2003 - Republished with Permission. All Rights Reserved.