Stephen Rey and Erika Davies will be playing on Saturday night in The Turquoise Room. Some of you may remember Stephen Rey from his time behind the bar at Riviera, others may know him from a show you saw! Erika Davies has played at Riviera and we are excited to have her back!
Peter Holslin did this article on Stephen Rey and it was featured in San Diego CityBeat:
– Photo by Peter Holslin
Stephen Rey’s house looks like something out of a Wild West movie. Fronted by a bulky wooden gate, it’s 102 years old and designed like an old saloon, with sun-bleached blue paint on the exterior and hand-crafted woodwork inside. On the roof at the front is a steer’s skull, whose empty eye sockets gaze out onto 30th Street in South Park.
Only a man like Rey could live in a house like this. The very definition of a badass, he makes ladies swoon and men want to, well, be him. With a lean build, ’50s movie-star looks and lots of gnarly tattoos, he radiates working-class cool as he bangs out old-fashioned rock ‘n’ roll.
Though he’s a skilled carpenter, Rey’s been plying the local bar and club circuit pretty much full-time lately. He fronts a trio called Stephen Rey and The Sextrash, who sound as grimy as the name suggests. Several nights a week, he plays bass for local R&B icons Lady Dottie and the Diamonds. Recently, he started Two Wolves, a bare-knuckles honky-tonk duo featuring drummer Anders Larsson. And he’s been working on duets with his girlfriend, jazz singer Erika Davies.
When I met Rey at his house on a recent Wednesday, he emerged at the door in cowboy boots, blue jeans and a wife-beater. As tough as he looked, his soft side came out when he put on a rough mix of a song he recorded with Davies and Larsson, “Why Donít You Lie?,” a ’50s-style pop tune by The King Khan & BBQ Show. Over some swooning guitar and a simple beat, Rey’s deep, sensitive croon offered a lovely complement to Davies’ birdlike call.
Asked how the collaboration came about, he sounded like a man smitten.
“It just kind of happened. We tried it and it just clickedómelted,” he said. “It’s just another extension of our lives. You know, like everything we are here and now, right now.”
Some of San Diego’s rootsy bands give me a certain fatigue. I groan at the sound of a mediocre blues-rock riff or country-folk cliché. But as I talked with Rey in his backyard, I was rapt. He’s a manly man, with strong values and years of experience working on cars, motorcycles and his own house. He’s also sensitive, thoughtful and committed to his daughter.
“He’s always been a real genuine, down-to-earth kind of guy,” says Tim Mays, owner of The Casbah and a good friend of Rey’s. “And he’s also very charming with the ladies.”
Though he isn’t opposed to fun, somewhat campy music, Rey’s also plumbed some intense emotions with his songs. “Mississippi All Day Long”—a cut from Old Fashioned Future, a 2011 album he recorded with a band he’d been fronting, Stephen Rey & The Slicks—was written as a gift to a friend who lost his Mississippi home during Hurricane Katrina. Over twanging guitar and weighty horns, Rey lays out a stark scene in a tired, throaty voice: rabid dogs, flattened houses, vast piles of destroyed belongings. “I lost everything,” he sings. “All I want is my cat.”
Rey refuses to say how old he is, insisting (like his roommate, Tim Lowman of Low Volts) that he’s “ageless.” But some facts are clear: He was born in Victorville, Calif., and grew up in City Heights and Lakeside. His dad was a technician in the Air Force, and Rey grew up working on motorcycles and listening to Motown, Bo Diddley and Johnny Cash. He first got into construction as a high-schooler, landing a job while driving a dump truck for the city of La Mesa.
“I have this propensity for old cars, motorcycles, old movies, old records, vinyl, the drive-in show,” he said. “There was always that vibe in the house. I think I was just born into it. It was a feeling I had ever since I was a little kid.”
In 1995, Rey signed a publishing deal with Warner Bros. and went on to play in the bands Red Truck and Deere Johns. His recording career didn’t get off the ground, but he’s kept up a longstanding love affair with roots music. He’s played with Lady Dottie for years, and he ís upped the ante in recent months with The Sextrash and, now, Davies and Two Wolves.
Indeed, it’s only a matter of time before more listeners catch wind of Rey. What’s the allure? Lady Dottie probably says it best.
“You can’t do nothing but love him,” she says. “You just can’t get enough of him.”
More on Erika Davies from her website (www.misserikadavies.com)
Erika Davies is a throwback jazz/country/folk songbird who is making waves in the San Diego music scene. Think Patsy Cline meets Bjork.
Miss Davies took home the award for Best Jazz at the 2012 San Diego Music Awards & Her latest album. “Part The Sea” has been nominated Best Jazz Album At the 2013 San Diego Music Awards.
If you haven’t been lucky enough to catch her performing around San Diego, you’ve probably still heard her sing and not even know it! A popular national 2011 television commercial, “Where did we Park?” for the auto maker Subaru featured her singing her song, “I Love you, I Do”.
Re-creating the magic of timeless cinematic moments is the forté of Erika Davies.
Imagine the dim lighting of a charming nightclub where the beautiful female singer steps into the spotlight and a hush falls over the audience, entranced by her dramatic, glamorous style and evocative, sensual voice.
Her ballad expresses the pain of love lost; her upbeat songs, the joy of love obtained or unrequited.
A former staple at live shows by Gregory Page, San Diego’s premier Tin Pan Alley-influenced troubadour, Davies has been performing locally as a solo artist under the honorific, Miss Erika Davies, for more than 8 years.
She performs her original compositions and covers of early-20th-century classics while accompanied by guitarist Aaron Mahn and, Upright bassist, Jeremy Eikam & on some songs, herself on ukulele.
Her choice of instrument is just one of the many ways Miss Davies wears her old-timey influences on her sleeve.
She doesn’t mind being perceived as an artist who revives older styles. She is deeply fond of evoking nostalgia and she does so while keeping the old, refreshingly new.