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MN Music: Stuart Davis

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Hidden : 11/10/2009
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Stuart - Guitar

Stuart Davis (born on January 11, 1971 in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S.) is a contemporary American musician and songwriter from Minnesota, currently residing in Boulder, CO. His music contains elements of folk, punk, rock, pop, haiku, and progressive rock. He describes his musical style as 'Post-Apocalyptic Folk Punk Rock' or 'Dharma Pop'. Costellonews.com described Davis as a "Singer/songwriter...known on the indie circuit for his Buddhist-Muslim-Hindu-Taoist-Jew-Christian-infused brand of biting pop/folk..."[1] He has been performing throughout the United States and Europe since 1993. To date, Davis has sold over 40,000 albums worldwide.

Davis is also a member of the art branch of Ken Wilber's Integral Institute, and in recent years has become more active in multimedia endeavors that showcase his comedic writing and interviewing skills, and his passion for Eastern and Western spirituality.

Davis' early work is acoustic, folky, and typically indie. The early lyrics critique the materialism and irrationality of contemporary culture with irony, sarcasm, and biting humor. With the release of Kid Mystic, Davis' work turns more inward and spiritual, but sustains the entertaining wit of his earlier work. Many of his recent lyrics reflect the struggle to relate to a divinity that is truly transcendent, and yet equally immanent. Later albums use a more extensive and electric instrumentation, and fall under the power pop genre.

Although Davis' lyrics are informed by contemporary philosophical and spiritual issues, they also display a preoccupation with alternate sexual practices. In fact, one could say that Davis' work mediates between sensuality and spirituality. Davis practices meditation in a Buddhist tradition (and he has recently taken Genpo Roshi as his teacher), but he believes that religious traditions ultimately fail to transmit the transcendent events from which they spring. He has identified Ken Wilber, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Ramana Maharshi and Aurobindo as influences, and his work displays a deep understanding of Zen and Sufism.

Silver Stuart

Davis' songs are populated by alcoholics, atheists, bulimics, drug addicts, egoists, false prophets, fetishists, sadists, masochists, narcoleptics, pedophiles, pornographers, prostitutes, rapists, sexual predators, suicides, swingers, and terrorists. (Stuart's lyrics are considered explicit and/or obscene by some libraries and retailers.) But his lyrics also describe angels, artists, gods, gurus, messiahs, mystics, prophets, psychics, and saints. There is a clear and constant religious component to Davis' work. In fact, the mystical and transcendent themes render some of his songs able to be construed as Christian. This tension points to the profoundly integrative aspect of Davis' thought—on his view, the theme of sexual deviance does not contradict the spiritual themes. His perspective is wide enough to coherently include much more of the human experience than most. Thus it is possible to see Davis as a mystical poet like Rumi, Kabir, Basho, Ikkyu, Rilke, or Emily Dickinson.

Davis' performances include light improvisational comedy which, like his music, often mixes spiritual with sexual themes. This repartee is evident on the live albums he has released. Davis is a prolific performer, giving about 100 performances per year. Since getting married (to Ken Wilber's ex-wife, Marcia) and having children (two girls, Ara Belle and Aja Pink), however, his performance tours have been less numerous, while his multimedia work has expanded.

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