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Jamie Davis and his band perform for a capacity crowd during a February gig at The High Dive in Gainesville. Band members include Justin Lee on guitar, Sammy Bright on drums and Donnie Helms on bass. Another crucial member is his sound engineer, Justin Breeden, who travels with the band to ensure they sound as good as they can.

did a little stint as a rodeo cowboy. “Music and sports is what I did,” he said. “Music was real big. I started playing drums early on. My brother was a drummer in a rock ‘n’ roll band and he said, ‘Man, you can sing. You sound just like Garth Brooks.’ Then I started singing more. I was singing in church and they gave me the confidence.” This was also around the time Davis wanted to play guitar, so he began to practice. “I was fortunate,” he said. “Around the age of 14, my dad was living in Georgia and I went up and spent a summer with my dad and he gave me a really good strong foundation. I went through his curriculum. It was

68 | Spring 2013

cool. [He taught me] very fundamental guitar playing and music and theory in general, just the basic stuff you need to build your music on. I had the basic chords; my dad really put it together then. A lot of players just play by ear and don’t get that, and I was taught from an early age that you use your ear and you use your knowledge as well. That’s really where it all started.” His father also gave him some sound advice: learn a trade. “My dad said, ‘If you really want to play I’ll teach you everything I know. But you’re going to need to learn a trade.’ So I did construction.” By the time Davis was 15 he was playing any and every honky-tonk

venue around Branford. “I knew I had to cut my teeth, build my chops and create a local fan base at the same time, and lucky for me, my dad knew all the club owners so I didn’t have to lie about my age — at least not with all of them,” he is quoted on the Jamie Davis website. Davis was invited to play bass with the South Florida vocal group Buck Wild, where he gained experience touring, playing different venues each night and learning how to be a supporting act as well as a headliner. “Buck Wild was the first substantial thing I did with music. It was kind of like jumping off a cliff,” he said. “Going out on the road was

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