But his solo performances have still an added quality: in a small, intimate setting the authenticity of his Blues becomes a near physical experience. His second solo CD “Doni Harvey – Live … Telling”, released 2003, captures this experience of Doni playing his guitars, singing and telling about the songs he shares with his audience. It was recorded during his successful 2002 solo acoustic blues concert tour in Germany. Inspired by the enthusiastic responses to his solo blues performances in Germany, Doni pursued opportunities back home in the Bay Area to play his solo blues at many different venues.
These shows became the workshops where he wrote, created and perfected new songs in search for his deeper blues voice, and the material for his newest and last CD, “Deeper Into The Blues” took shape. This is what he told an audience about choosing the title for this CD: When I say “Deeper into the Blues” it’s because I have been playing the blues for quite a while now. But when you see a painter, he is using different shades of blue from sky blue, light blue, dark blue to a really nice dark blue. I see that with my music and with blues music itself: that certain of us artists, we still have that kind of medium Blue.
When you get artists like Son House, Bobby Bland, B.B. King , Albert King, Blind Willie Johnson, Freddie King, the fellows that aren’t here any more and even more modern artists like Eric Clapton: that is blue –that rich dark blue. So I am trying to find my shade of blue right now. The more I play, the more I write, the more I see what’s going on around me, I find that deeper shade of blue.
That’s why I play by myself because I want to find my voice – Doni’s voice. I have played with a whole lot of other folks, but this is the first time that I am doing this from my heart, where I express what I feel. So going “Deeper into the Blues” is my aim. I’ve got to find my blue voice, I’ve got to find my blue guitar – speaking the blues. When playing his solo blues at Tessora's in Campbell, Doni met the talented TJ Politzer, producer/engineer.
Two musical souls and great creative talents had met. They quickly became friends and a wonderful collaboration was born working on Doni's CD, "Deeper Into The Blues". When Doni suddenly died on June 6, 2011. TJ and Doni’s partner and wife of 35 years, Fre Goodyear, continued the task of completing the CD. As Fre said about finishing the CD: I have been part of Doni’s artistic and musical journey for 35 years as artistic, business, life and soul partner. From the day we met I could understand Doni’s songs as soon as he played the first few notes, sang the first words of a new idea – I found myself in the middle of his music.
The pictures he paints with his songs unfolded in all their colors. Through all these years, I was allowed to witness and contribute to this incredibly talented creative spirit’s search for his own musical voice. With this CD Doni truly found his voice, his darker shade of blue and created magic that must be shared with the world. So when Doni suddenly passed at the end of recording the music for the CD, there was no doubt that I had to bring this amazing project to completion. And TJ added: Doni was my good friend and a great creative talent.
We’ve been working (as our busy schedules would allow) for the past year on the production of a new, original Doni Harvey album. Just a couple sessions away from completing the project, to our shock and dismay, he was gone ... Doni Harvey is the real Folk-Blues San Francisco Original! One soulful, singer, songwriter, storyteller, musician, bandleader and performer, I feel so fortunate that he and his music found the way to be part of my world. I first “discovered” Doni late in his amazing and varied musical life. He was working solo, a voice and an acoustic guitar, and I heard the wealth of experience and the depth of his musicianship immediately.
Only later did I learn of the many projects he has been involved with during his over 40 years long career. After spending some time listening to Doni’s self-produced album “Your Blues Ain’t Like My Blues”, I knew that he was an artist who really knew how to use the recording studio. Our approach to all these tracks was to capture the solo performance first. All additional parts and harmonies were added with an ear to keeping that acoustical guitar and voice as the core of the sound.
It was pure pleasure to have Doni working and creating in my studio and a privilege for me to participate in the process. These songs tell stories of joy and despair, of love and grief, of longing, desire and fulfillment, told the way only Doni and “The Blues” could tell them, with such imagery and articulate musicianship. Let Doni take YOU “Deeper into the Blues!” Doni's roots are in San Francisco, a city that embodies an attitude of openness, spirituality and liberalism which influenced the different styles of music Doni played over the years. Here’s what Doni Harvey himself says about his formative years and influences: The music I heard at home was mostly Jazz, some Blues and occasionally some R & B. Some of the artists I heard were my father Earl Harvey (who never performed professionally), Lou Rawls, Sarah Vaughan, Billy Eckstein, Billie Holiday, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Joe Williams, Jimmy Witherspoon and many others.
Also there was the blues of B.B. King, Bobby Blue Bland and Louis Jordan, to name a few. My fascination with music lead me to pick up the guitar at an early age and begin to try to pick out things that I heard on the records. Having gone to church, mostly in California, has also had an effect on the music that I play.
We were taught to sing with crisp diction in order that all of the words could be understood, some of this can be heard in my music. Then, there are the influences of Classical music, Reggae and World music, and all other forms of music. All of which I draw on to create and visualize the sounds and colors of my music. I was first trained in Classical music on the clarinet. Later I played cello for a short time but quickly went on to the bass violin because I felt drawn to this instrument.
It was about then that I first played Jazz while performing in a school talent show. I continued to play music throughout high school and college. It was seeing and listening to Jimi Hendrix that really inspired me to pursue the guitar as another instrument to play and perform. I have always tried to stretch the boundaries and open the possibilities – in life and in music.
I feel that I'm still learning and will continue to learn the art of music and living. For to feel that you have learned all there is to know limits your expression, and the heights that you can reach. In the mid seventies Doni was based in London playing bass for Automatic Man, a band led by legendary Woodstock-era Santana drummer Michael Shrieve and Bayete-Tod Cochran, keyboards, with Pat Thrall on guitar. While living in London, Doni worked as session musician with Phil Collins, Steve Winwood and Gary Boyle. He co-wrote and performed an original tune to the soundtrack of a James Bond flick, “The Spy Who Loved Me”.
Along with studio work in London studios, Doni toured the United States with the successful “Go” project of Japanese artist Stomu Yamashta and recorded Stomu Yamashta’s “Go Too”- album with Al di Meola, Michael Shrieve, Paul Jackson, Peter Robinson, Brother James. Jess Roden, Klaus Schulz and Linda Lewis. 1978 Doni returned to San Francisco to form a trio with his brothers Regi and Chris – Harvey. They became a staple of the Bay Area club scene and put out a number of singles, EPs and albums for various indie labels well into the nineties.
In the late eighties Doni Harvey joined San Francisco’s popular roots reggae bigband Caribbean Allstars as bassist, vocalist and musical director playing the Bay Area and California until he died. Reggae remained one of Doni’s great loves. In the early nineties he joined Clarence Clemons & The Red Bank Rockers as singer and lead guitarist. Due to economic changes, 2009 offered the opportunity for Doni to devote more time to music. Besides playing his solo blues, Doni formed his own blues band, Doni Harvey & Deeper Shade of Blue.
Together with fellow musicians Isis and Andy Jonson, Doni formed another blues band, The Unemployed Blues Band. Doni also became a permanent member of Regi Harvey’s Example as vocalist and lead guitarist. He joined other blues bands, guest starring as vocalist, bassist and guitarist playing extensively in and around the Bay Area, as well as becoming a regular participant in jam sessions with some of the Bay Area’s best blues musicians. Following all his musical influences and experience have paved the way for Doni to tell the Blues with his Blue Voice – on the current CD “Deeper Into The Blues”. Official Website: Doni Harvey Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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