Marty Davis talks wineries, influence and the meaning of “low dogâ€

By Chase Myers

Rustle Hill Winery in Cobden welcomes classic blues group Low Dog Band this Friday for Librafest, a celebration of October birthdays.

The band consists of Marty “Low Dog” Davis on vocals and guitar, Douglas Flummer on bass and DeLance Montgomery on drums. The group Low Dog and Stringz also play around the southern Illinois area, which consists of Davis and Shawn Harmon on acoustic guitar.

The Rustle Hill show marks the band’s second performance as a collective, in which they play authentic blues style music with hints of southern soul.

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The DAILY EGYPTIAN spoke with Davis about his experience playing at southern Illinois wineries.

How did the band get started? 

Low Dog and Stringz is a two-piece. We’re like refugees from the band scene. We were bandleaders for years so it’s kind of like two up-front, show off guys that formed a two-piece. My band is new and this Friday at Rustle hill is the second time we’ve played in public. I attempted retirement at the beginning of the year from the band thing, but it’s hard to give up. In the acoustic thing, you don’t get to play as many bogus solos, and it’s all about the bogus solos, so I’m being drawn back. I’m joking when I say this is my last band. I’m going to try it one more time.

How would you describe the music scene in southern Illinois? 

I can tell you how it has changed here. Basically from the mid ‘90s to now, it went from blues, which was the hottest thing and what I played at the time, to hillbilly or what people call Americana. I didn’t hop on the bandwagon. I was always drawn to blues I’ve actually been living in Carbondale within the city limits the whole time. This is the only scene I know.

Who are your musical influences? 

Muddy Waters is who really drew me to blues music and captured my attention. My two big guys were Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf. Johnny Winters was also one of my influences. He just recently passed away, but he was really the first white cat playing the blues. He was like the first Stevie Ray. As far as other music went, I listened and was drawn to rhythm and blues music as a kid, you know? I was into Al Green, Temptations and that kind of stuff. I really like rhythmic type of music, and I like nice melodies. I was heavily into reggae once I found out about it. I also like my hard rock—AC/DC, Aerosmith, Ted Nugent. I’m a child of the ‘70s, so really my influences are across the board and it shows in my playing.

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How do you like playing the wineries? 

It’s good, because there are usually people there. You don’t end up playing for empty rooms. I also start to ask people where they are from, because they’re from all over the place. They travel pretty far to come here. You don’t have the same kind of people watching you so it’s much more diverse and slightly more mature.

What does it mean to be a “low dog?” 

The name kind of implies it. I am the low dog of the Carbondale scene. No one has been doing it as long as I have at my level, and I’ve been treated bad at every turn. But hey, I’ve decided to embrace it. It’s not just the name—it’s the position.

Chase Myers can be reached at [email protected]on Twitter @chasemyers_DE or 536-3311 ext. 273

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