Born in a small town in Maryland called Havre de Grace (have-er-duh-grace); Dave Birks was a Baby Boomer raised on the shores of the glistening Chesapeake Bay by a family of “modest means”. His musical ability was discovered at age 6 when he would sit at the piano and pick out “Yankee Doodle” on the keys.
It was the 1950s and the Birks’ house was filled with music; big band music, movie themes, show-tunes and popular songs. His dad was a big fan of Louis Armstrong and his mother, a “Southey”, loved traditional Irish music and Johnny Cash. His two brothers were teens listening to Rock ‘n Roll. Growing up, Dave pretty much heard it all.
Dave sang in an all-male choir at St. Patrick’s in Maryland when he was ten and picked up his first guitar at twelve. He bought his own guitar at fifteen, and in 1965, began jamming with Joe Pascuzzi; who’s band “Time Will Tell” is still popular in Maryland.
Moving north to New England at 16, Dave joined folk singing groups, Top-40 bands, and country bands; all the while expanding his musical horizons.
In 1972, Dave spent a year in Orlando, Florida, playing the “chitlin circuit” with Louisianan bluesman Harmonica Fats as well as R&B artist Jerry Newman & the Barefooters. This was musically and socially a powerful growth experience for a white Irish-Catholic teenager from New Hampshire. His time in the Southern Blues scene brought even further depth to his already broad-based musical influences.
Finally finding his song-writing self and a vehicle with which to express it, Dave first started performing his original songs in Durham, New Hampshire with the Stonehouse Band. Starting out as a blues band, Stonehouse began incorporating Pop music through 1975 and was in Dave’s words: “One of the most talented groups I was ever in, individually and collectively”, opening shows for Buddy Guy, Junior Wells, James Cotton and James Montgomery of Capricorn Records, where he became acquainted with Matt Guitar Murphy of Blues-Brothers fame.
After Stonehouse, Dave formed and ran a trio, the KDB Band, in Manchester, N.H. from 1979-1981. Moving back again to Florida, he played country music in Florida until 1983.
Always up for a challenge, Dave joined the Florida Reggae scene in ’84. Performing with the mixed-racial reggae band Jah Sons of Babylon, Emphasis and Derek & the Slammers from 1988-1991. During this period, Dave opened for The Wailers, 3rd World, Jimmy Cliff and other Reggae greats.
Married and moving to Chicago 1991, he formed Dave and the Belvederes trio and played with the Blithers (country/pop band) for a couple of years before yet again heading back to Orlando; landing a gig at Walt Disney World’s “Pleasure Island” with Island Breeze. This band performed in Miami for the Super Bowl XXIX party and pre-game show and Super Bowl XXXIII party and concert. After Island Breeze, Dave played solo gigs and with Daily News at Church Street Station from 1998 until Church Street Station closed in 2001.
In August of 2001, Dave “Headed West” to the “Far East”! Playing with novelty pop act “Cali-4-nia” at Universal Studios in Osaka, Japan, he was once again immersed in a society and musical culture very different from his small town Maryland roots.
Lakehouse Records &Publishing (www.lakehouserecords.com) is proud to have assisted Dave in bringing his versatile talent and globe-spanning influences to bear in “A New Sunrise”. He dedicates this musical collection to his daughter, Elizabeth, (who is responsible for the watercolor cover picture) and to the memory of Chris O’Connor who died of cancer in August 2011.Dave currently resides in Brevard County, Florida, and would love to hear from you. Contact him at http://www.reverbnation.com/davebirks where you can preview his music and find a listing of his upcoming performances.
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