There’s a great deal of enthusiasm when singer Maggie Davis talks about music. The word ‘awesome’ pops up frequently and she gets very excited when she brings up her musical idols like Janice Joplin, Led Zeppelin and Steve Nicks.
“I love music in general with a passion,” she said. “Its been in my blood ever since I can remember and I’ve been singing since I was a child so its just a natural thing for me now.”
Davis, 24, moved to Revelstoke last April and since then she has become a fixture in the town’s music scene, playing at open mic nights, jam sessions, street festivals and more both solo and with her band Highway One.
Despite her relative youth, Davis has been performing for most her life. Born in the tiny town of Lynden, near Hamilton, Davis was taught to sing by her mother Linda, who she describes as “the star” of her hometown.
“She had us all singing when we were pretty tiny,” said Davis. One of the first songs she recalls singing was the campfire tune Gin Gan Goolie, mostly her repertoire back then was songs “that you could pronounce when you’re three, which isn’t a lot,” she said with a laugh during an interview at Sangha Bean.
Davis’s mother taught her how to sing harmonies and she kept singing throughout school, performing in musicals her mother put on. Meanwhile, she was exposed to the classic rock her parents would play (they were in a band together).
While at the University of Guelph, Davis picked up her guitar and started an open mic night at a bar called the Fat Duck (which led to a series of duck-themed posters, she said)
“One of the things that got me to play music was the open mic because if nobody showed up you were playing for three hours,” she said.
Then, last Fall she packed up her bags and brought her amazing vocal talents to B.C., stopping first in Golden before moving on to Revelstoke in order to join the band Highway One, which features John Baxter on drums, Warren Bourke on lead guitar and Dave Marfleet on bass. Davis sings lead vocals and also plays some guitar and tambourine.
The band was perfect for her classic rock sensibilities – she lists sixties and seventies legends such as Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Janice Joplin and Jimi Hendrix as her favorites.
“I’d never been a in a band before I started playing with these guys. It totally changed my life,” she said.
As far as singers, she cites Joplin, Joni Mitchell, and, with a lot of energy, Stevie Nicks.
“There’s this one note in Rhiannon that every time I sing it, I feel like I sound like Stevie Nicks,’ Davis said. “It’s the most exciting thing ever.”
Davis mostly plays covers; among her favorite songs to play are Going to California by Led Zeppelin and Into the Mystic by Van Morrison. She is also working on her own music and said she has 15-20 songs in various stages of readiness but only two she’s willing to play live. Her goal, she said, is to write more of her own music.
Another goal is to play more blues. “I love the blues, I absolutely love it,” she said. “I used to go to the Tremblant blues fest with my family. We went for three years and it was the best experience ever. After every trip I would write a song on every trip home because I was so inspired by this blues.”
Davis recently started her own weekly acoustic music night at the Riverside Landing restaurant at the golf course on Sundays. The night was planned as a low-key evening where she would play her music but at the first event two Sundays ago, several of her friends came up on stage and joined her, she said.
Her friends brought their instruments, there was two drums, a friend brought a harmonica and it turned into a jam session.
“We’re not advertising it as a open jam session but that’s ultimately what it’s going to be,” she said. “I’m really happy with the first one and I think they’re going to get bigger and better from here on out.”
Maggie Davis plays every Sunday at 7:30 p.m. at the Riverside Landing Restaurant. She is also playing at Bad Paul’s on Thursday, Feb. 10, at 6 p.m. as part of the Revelstoke Spirit Festival.
Meanwhile, Highway One is currently on a brief break but will be back to “rocking the Shuswap” in the Spring.
“I get such joy out of singing and hopefully I can give joy to other people from doing something that I love.”