David Mead (musician)
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David Worth Mead (born 1973) is a Nashville-based pop singer-songwriter. Over the years he has toured extensively, headlining as well as opening shows for John Mayer, Fountains of Wayne, Ron Sexsmith, Liz Phair, Joe Jackson, and Shelby Lynne.
Biography & Album Releases
Born to a traveling salesman father and school teacher mother, David Mead moved often during childhood, mostly around the southern US. As a kid, he sang in the church choir and school stage productions like The Sound Of Music. When he was thirteen, he got his first guitar and was soon writing his own songs. Three years later, he was gigging out professionally. His travels eventually took him to Nashville, where he played in bands such as Blue Million and Joe, Marc's Brother. Drawing on a wide range of influences – from The Beatles to Broadway to The Police to Rufus Wainwright - Mead has honed a highly melodic and emotionally direct style of pop.
The Luxury Of Time
In 1998, Mead signed a major label deal with RCA Records and moved to New York City soon after. The initial sessions for his debut – three songs recorded with Gus Dudgeon (Elton John, XTC) - proved unsuccessful and were scrapped. Mead then regrouped with producers Peter Collins (Cardigans, Rush) and Jason Lehning (Emerson Hart, Alison Krauss), and between October 1998-February 1999, cut The Luxury of Time. "The title came from the fact that I had all of my life up to that point to write the songs," Mead said. Indeed, the album's fifteen songs were culled from thirty-two demos. Released September 28, 1999 on RCA, the album garnered strong critical response and featured performances from Rusty Anderson (Paul McCartney), Kenny Aronoff (John Mellencamp, Smashing Pumpkins) and Paul Deakin (The Mavericks).
Mine And Yours
Mead's second album, produced by Adam Schlesinger (Fountains Of Wayne), was recorded at New York City's legendary Sear Sound Studio (John Lennon, Steely Dan) and released May 15, 2001 on RCA. Featuring guest performances from Dominique Durand (Ivy), Sean Pelton (SNL Band), Danny Weinkaupf (They Might Be Giants) and Jody Porter (Fountains Of Wayne), its fourteen songs were recorded from thirty-four demos. Two of the album's most notable tracks, "Standing Here In Front Of Me" and "Girl On A Roof," were written one week before recording commenced, when RCA asked for more "single material." "Standing Here In Front Of Me" was later featured in CBS's The Bold and the Beautiful, and "Girl On The Roof" appeared in the motion picture The Sweetest Thing.
After Mine And Yours, Mead delivered a follow-up for RCA, titled Wherever You Are. But it was made under a proverbial dark cloud, after an A & R person for the label proclaimed at the recording's commencement dinner that, given sales of his first two albums, it was a "miracle" that a third was being recorded at all. Mead soon departed from the label, and in between road gigs, started an EP with Nashville producer David Henry (Matthew Ryan, Guster). It soon blossomed into the full-length Indiana. Featuring some of Mead's best-loved songs, such as the title track, "Nashville" and "Beauty," it remains his most-recognized and critically acclaimed album ("A knack for telling stories via catchy, concise pop ditties" said No Depression) to date. It was released June 7, 2004 on Nettwerk Records.
Wherever You Are
The third album, recorded August 2002 at Bearsville Studios in Woodstock, NY and Real World Studios in Bath, England, and mixed by Tchad Blake, finally emerged as a 6-song EP on June 28, 2005 (11:30 Records). "I got the album back when I left the label but felt, after releasing Indiana that the full package was confusing and not indicative of where I was going musically anymore so I tried to frame the songs as more a lost piece of time," Mead says. PopMatters raved, "Mature songs that express genuine warmth and emotional intelligence."
In 2005, Mead got married to artist Natalie Cox, and this album found him coming to terms with both domesticity and the quirks and eccentricities of being in your thirties. "I wanted to make a super expansive pop album in the tradition of XTC's Skylarking and Elvis Costello's Spike", Mead said. Produced by Brad Jones (Jill Sobule, Butterfly Boucher), its lush textures and elaborate arrangements add sparkle to standout songs such as "Chatterbox" and "Hunting Season." It was released May 16, 2006 on Tallulah! Media. Paste called it "dazzling" and it was voted best Pop/Rock album in the 2006 Independent Music Awards.
Almost And Always
In 2008, after a divorce, Mead moved from Brooklyn back to Nashville. Reteaming with Brad Jones at Alex The Great studio he recorded this intimate collection in seven days, most of it live. The majority of the album was co-written with Bill DeMain of Swan Dive. Originally, Mead and DeMain had conceived the project for an imaginary chanteuse. Lead track "Last Train Home" was an NPR Song Of The Day, and featured on episodes of TV's Private Practice. Mead and DeMain also co-wrote a second, as-yet-unreleased album, 1908 Division, a conceptual suite about the denizens of an apartment building where Mead once resided.
In late 2010, Mead enlisted the financial support of his fans via Kickstarter to raise funds ($20,925) for a new album, Dudes. As the title implies, the songs are all written from the perspective of men. Recorded in nine days in NYC and produced by Ethan Eubanks and Mead (executive produced by Adam Schlesinger), it deepens Mead's songwriting with strains of Randy Newman-esque wry humor ("Bocce Ball") and sharp storytelling ("The Smile Of Rachael Ray"). The release date was November 15, 2011.
In recent years, Mead has been involved in two high- profile side projects. In 2009, he founded Elle Macho, a power trio with Aussie singer-songwriter Butterfly Boucher and drummer Lindsay Jamieson (Ben Folds, Brendan Benson). Their zany videos and high-energy live shows have made them a Nashville favorite, and a full-length debut album is expected in late 2011.
Mead also formed Davey Ukulele & The Gag Time Gang. Nashville Scene said: "Sounding like a cross between "Whip It"-era Devo and the pop pastiches on Phineas & Ferb, this merry kids' band actually camouflages a genuine supergroup: the tag team of David Mead, Swan Dive's Bill DeMain, Brother Henry's David Henry and The Mavericks' Paul Deakin." Their debut, The Adventures Of Davey Ukulele & The Gag Time Gang, was released in 2010. A follow-up is expected in 2012.
Several times a year, Mead travels to Key West, Florida to perform in a cover band called Phanni Pac (with Jason White, Scotty Huff and Paul Deakin) at the Hog's Breath Saloon.
He has also been a regular guest singer with Nashville's popular 1980s-era cover band Guilty Pleasures.
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"David Mead is one of my favorite singer-songwriters." – John Mayer
"I have 'Nashville' by David Mead stuck in my head." – A Tweet by Taylor Swift
"A major tunesmith." – Mojo
"A clear-voiced tunesmith... he scores with sweet melodies..." – Entertainment Weekly
"Mead makes blue-collar rock of the most delicate kind, his soaring but unshowy falsetto and luscious harmonies far above the ordinary." – Uncut
- The Luxury of Time (RCA, 1999)
- Mine and Yours (RCA, 2001)
- Indiana (Nettwerk, 2004)
- Wherever You Are EP (Eleven Thirty, 2005)
- Tangerine (Tallulah, 2006)
- Almost and Always (Cheap Lullaby, 2009; originally released in Japan in 2008)
- Dudes (self-released, 2011)
Songs Used in Films and on Television
"World of a King," in Boys and Girls (Miramax)
"Everyone Knows It But You," in Restaurant (York Entertainment)
"Only in the Movies," in Ed (NBC)
"Standing Here in Front of Me," in The Bold and the Beautiful (CBS)
"Beauty," in The Days (ABC)
"Only Living Boy in New York," in Everwood (WB)
"Hallelujah, I Was Wrong," in Men in Trees (ABC)
- Official Website
- David Mead collection at the Internet Archive's live-music archive
- older UK fan site