Telluride Jazz: Davina & The Vagabonds – Divine

At the Telluride Jazz Festival, Davina & The Vagabonds are appearing Saturday, August 5, 10 p.m. at The Liberty Bar & Lounge; Sunday, August 6, 12:30 p.m. on the Society Stage in Elks Park; Sunday, August 6, 4 p.m., Main Stage, Telluride Town Park.

Tickets/passes to Telluride Jazz here.

Go here for the full Telluride Jazz line-up.

Scroll down to listen to a podcast featuring Davina. (Note: Oops. Davina’s name is Sowers, not Showers. My bad. And the club, Nicollet and Tenth, has been home to the Vagabonds for 10 years.)

Davina is divine

“Baby let’s rock this house tonight.”

That’s the promise from Davina Sowers Lozier singing “Red Shoes,” from her 2914 CD Sunshine in her sugar and grit voice.

“…The tunes are a fresh mix of Tin Pan Alley pop, Vaudeville jazz, and back porch blues, which showcase the delightful vocal stylings and compositional fortitude of Sowers…” No Depression.

Just spent a morning streaming Davina, whose distinctive, totally irresistible swaggering sound – “…essentially anything south of the Mason-Dixon line, rendered with spirit, spontaneity and ferocious joie de vivre…,” wrote The Herald –  could have easily escaped from an old Victrola.

The lady purrs, then growls; whispers then wails. Plus she is a hoot.

Comparisons as diverse and disparate as Adele, Etta James, Amy Winehouse, Billie Holiday, Bonnie Raitt, Nina Simone, Bessie Smith and, err, Bettie Boop, abound when describing this sexy, saucy front woman, a “honky-tonker on a mission…” (Telluride Jazz).

When Davina and her blues-roots-jazz outfit, The Vagabonds – Davina Sowers Lozier with Zack Lozier, Steve Rogness, George Marich, Charlie Bruber – perform at the upcoming Telluride Jazz Festival, trust me, this blast from the past will rock your world today.

Image, Garrett Born photography.

Davina & The Vagabonds perform Saturday, August 5, 10 p.m. at The Liberty Bar & Lounge; on Sunday twice, noon on “Society Stage” in Elks Park and at 4 p.m. on the Main Stage in Town Park.

“…Davina and The Vagabonds have defrag’d my hard drive, and written a new sector. They are just stupendously, bloody good. Its cream cake day, time to open that 50 year malt, words may fail me.

“Davina sparkles with mischief on the piano, everything from beautifully soulful blues to full on barrel house, is at her fingertips. In her voice I hear elements of Eartha Kitt, Nina Simone, Amy Winehouse and Paloma Faith, in a fusion of Jazz and Blues.

The Vagabonds dovetail with Davina perfectly, superlative trumpet and trombone, from Dan and Ben, who both add to the vocals. Underpinned with double bass and drums from Andy and Alec.

“The play is a mixture of New Orleans blues, Dixie, a bit of Rock & Roll, and large doses of jazz and blues. BUT, everything is delivered in their own style,…” Live Shots, UK review.

Davina has been described as “the hardest-working blueswoman in frigid Minnesota.”

Born in Altoona, Pennsylvannia, to a folk-singing mother and a music-loving father with stacks of old blues and jazz recordings he played on his Victrola, Davina Sowers (now Lozier) studied classical piano and started singing as a child (age five) in Grange Halls and at 4-H events. Once she hit the Midwest scene in 2005, she never looked back.

She and her band made a big splash at Duluth’s Bayfront Blues Festival in 2006 through 2008, having enjoyed great CD sales over the same three years.

“Two things remain consistent in all her shows: her throaty, but cushiony voice, which has a sort of hard-mattress comfort to it that’s part Bonnie Raitt, part Etta James and a little Amy Winehouse; and her band’s rollicking New Orleans flavor, driven home by dueling horn players and a bayouthick standup bass.,” raved The Star Tribune.

Davina has shared the stage with Little Feat, Buddy Guy, Elvin Bishop, The Lamont Cranston Band, The Blues Brothers, Joe Bonamassa, Irma Thomas, and James Hunter, among others, at venues ranging from the House of Blues in Atlantic City, New Jersey and the Bayfront Blues Festival in Duluth, Minnesota.

Now she heads to Telluride on a full tour scheduled for her latest release (March), Nicollet and Tenth.

Nicollet And Tenth gives the listener a front-row seat to what has made the band popular in the first place, the group’s live show.

“On the corner of Nicollet and Tenth, in downtown MPLS, lies a moody jazz club called the Dakota,” Davina remarked. “The Vagabonds and I have been playing there for over 10 years. It is our second home and we are welcoming you to come in, grab a drink, and listen to us play our hearts out to you!” 

“I wish I could give this album 100 stars! I can’t believe that this band is not more well known. I have seen many live performances in my 49 years, and Davina and the Vagabonds blows them all out of the water. If you are a fan of New Orleans style jazz, and classic blues, I would highly suggest this album. They cover the classics with beautiful style and their original songs all tell a story. I bought this album for myself and gifted it to several friends and family members. I am keeping a close eye on their tour schedule because I can’t wait to see them again.They are so good, I’d even travel to hear them again,” wrote one enthusiastic fan on Amazon.

In 2011, Davina And The Vagabonds released her first full-length, all-original album Black Cloud. It was named one of the 10 best releases of the year by their hometown daily the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and awarded 4 ½ stars from Downbeat Magazine. The Vagabond’s next release in 2014, Sunshine, hit number 13 in the Billboard Blues Chart, which led to an performance on the famed hit BBC show, Later with Jools Holland. 

To learn more, listen to a podcast featuring Davina Sowers.

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Susan Viebrock

Susan Viebrock

Susan is Telluride Inside… and Out’s founder and editor-in-chief, the visionary on the team, in charge of content, concept and development. For 19+ years, Susan has covered Telluride’s cultural economy, which includes non-profits and special events. Much of her writing features high-profile individuals in the arts, entertainment, business, and politics. She is a former Citibank executive specializing in strategic planning and new business development, and a certified Viniyoga instructor.

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