If You’re Not Listening To Ward Davis, You’re Doing It Wrong

Anyone who gets the nod of approval from Cody Jinks, Jamey Johnson, Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard is pretty cool in my book.

Ward Davis has shared the stage with his good friends, Cody and Jamey, more than few times including performances of “Colorado” and “Highwaymen”, but friendship with some of country music’s best is not the only thing Ward brings to the table.

After moving to Nashville and trying to make it as a commercialized songwriter, he quickly realized the mainstream was not where he belonged when Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard put “Unfair Weather Friend,” a song he had written, on their Django and Jimmie album.

Since that revelation, he’s become a go-to songwriting partner of Cody Jinks, helping pen songs like “I’m Not The Devil,” “Colorado,” “Big Last Name,” “Can’t Quit Enough,” and “Same Kinda Crazy As Me.”

He actually told the story of how that last one came to be about a month ago at The Pig Pen in San Antonio. He had a night out in Nashville with Cody and Greg Jones… and the rest is history.

But, as shown in the performance above, Ward is not just a songwriter, he’s a hell of a performer as well and has put out some great music on his own.

Ward Davis the Performer

His first album, 15 Years In A 10 Year Town, was released in 2015 and featured “Old Wore Out Cowboys” with Jamey Johnson and Willie Nelson, a song about longing for a place where old school guys can hang out, play pool, drink and listen to Hank Williams.

The title track tells of the time he spent trying to make it in Nashville before he found his way, a story many country musicians can relate to in one way or another.

His latest album, Black Cats and Crows, was released in 2020 and really shows the songwriting ability Ward has. “Good and Drunk” is one of the best sad drinking songs I’ve heard in awhile:

“Drove myself to the lawyer’s today
And picked up a pen and signed my wife away
I know I’ll regret it, but I don’t know when
But with any luck I’ll be good and drunk by then

Got a brand new bottle and a clock on the wall
And more time than I need to kill it all
When the truth finally hits me I hope that the whiskey is settlin’ in
And with any luck I’ll be good and drunk by then”

“Papa and Mama” is a swampy, southern blues murder song, but the target isn’t a cheating partner, it’s his father for how he was treating his mama.

A really cool sound and a great story, even though it is a dark one.

“Lady Down on Love” is just another example of a great country song featuring piano. Originally recorded by Alabama, it’s about a lady going out for the first time since the guy singing broke her heart by cheating.

This song also has a great sound to it, and really shows the range Ward has.

“Well, I know a lady who’s down on her love
‘Cause I used to hold her and have that special touch
But work took me away from home late at night
And I just wasn’t there when she turned out the lights
Then both of us got lonely, I gave in to lust
And she just couldn’t live with a man she couldn’t trust”

All I’m saying is Ward Davis is in for big things.

Get on the train now because this guy has that same outlaw “it factor” that makes Jamey Johnson and Cody Jinks have such a powerful draw.

A beer bottle on a dock

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A beer bottle on a dock