If you go
› What: David Gerald Band
› Where: The Arts Center, 320 N. White St., Athens, Tenn.
› When: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 26
› Admission: $15 or $10 for students
› For more information: 423-745-8781
The David Gerald Band will be featured in the fourth of the five-show Black Box Concert Series sponsored by the Athens Area Council for the Arts in Athens, Tenn., on Friday night, Jan. 26, at the Arts Center.
Back in Athens by popular demand, according to an Arts Center news release, Gerald grew up to the sounds of the blues and R&B music in Detroit. The son of rural Mississippi-born parents, he was the youngest of their 11 children, six of whom were born in Mississippi.
"Because segregation and racial discrimination were so bad in Mississippi at the time, my dad moved the family north to Detroit when he was 33 so we'd have a better chance at the American dream," Gerald has said in previous interviews.
Gerald started playing guitar at the age of 15, influenced by Prince and '80s rock guitarists. Then he discovered the blues and listened to the music of B.B. King and Stevie Ray Vaughan, to name a couple of his influences.
"I was lucky enough to have a neighbor who was a guitarist and gave me scrap guitars. I would piece them together and build 'Frankenstein' guitars," says the musician. "They were horrible to play and sounded bad, but I had to play music. It was and is my destiny. I finally scraped up enough money to buy an old amp and I was happy."
In his mid-20s, he began experimenting with computers to write and compose music, which he continues to this day. Now in his 40s, Gerald plays a national circuit with his own band.
Gerald was listed as No. 1 on ReverbNation blues charts for Michigan blues artists. His 2009 debut album, "Hell and Back," reached No. 1 on Roots Music Report's Blues Chart for Michigan-based artists and remained in the top 20 for multiple weeks.
His follow-up album, "N2U," is slated for release this spring. It will contain 10 tracks of blues-infused soul rock.
For more information about the Athens concert: 423-745-8781.