“I can still hear your voice echo beneath the Alabama night, like a firecracker whistle on the Fourth of July / You said, ‘Don’t fear the distance dear, don’t fear the dark, you don’t need to set the world on fire, you just need to catch a spark.'”
– David McMillin, “Looking for the Light”
A long time ago, I went to see a show of a local musician I tried to support. It was at The Evening Muse, my absolute favorite place to see music in Charlotte, a tiny, intimate venue that might hold 125 people when it’s busting at the seams. The opener clambered onto the stage, a kid of maybe 21 or 22 that might have weighed 100 pounds soaking wet. He had just an acoustic guitar and he looked so small, even on the miniscule Muse stage. Then he opened his mouth and started singing. Huge voice came out of that little body. He was probably about a song in when I turned to look at Annie and we both had the same expression on our face… WOW. And that is how my friendship with David McMillin began.
If I could say one thing about David, just one, it would be that among the musicians I know, he is the one who loves songwriting the most. I mean he absolutely LOVES it. And he excels at it. He’s prolific, but I’ve never heard him put out a mediocre song. He and his band, Fort Frances, make amazing music together, and in the down times in between, when his band mates are tending to their personal lives, David writes more and pursues his solo work. It’s pretty inspiring to watch as a fan.
In the eight or nine years since that first show at The Muse, I’ve gotten to know David well…and he remains the only rock star ever to hail me a cab. I’ve watched him grow tremendously as a songwriter (and grow a tremendous beard) and been heartened by the fact that no matter what successes come his way, he remains humble and genuine. And so today, when Daytrotter released a solo David McMillin session, my heart skipped a beat. Even better? NEW SONGS. Gorgeous, lovely new songs like “Looking for the Light.”
I’d recommend going to take a listen (if you are a Daytrotter member, you can download it…and if you aren’t a Daytrotter member, you should be). Let yourself be won over. Because if you love music, you can’t help but appreciate an artist who loves it even more than you do.