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iTunes Review

The title song of Dave Alvin’s 2004 album Ashgrove describes his formative experiences at the legendary Los Angeles folk club of the same name: “There was Big Joe and Lightnin’ / And Reverend Gary too / Well I’d sit and stare and dream / Of doin’ what they could do / I wanna go back to the Ashgrove / That’s where I belong.” The long-shuttered venue becomes a symbol for the honesty Alvin reaches for in his songwriting. It's also symbolic of a life in music that's reaching its latter stages. “Everett Ruess” and “The Man in the Bed” are gentle songs about the frustrations men feel as they age and become alienated from the present and trapped in bodies to which they can no longer relate. While it'd be easy for Alvin to turn grumpy when addressing these themes, he always invests the songs with dignity and affection. Alvin himself is getting older and doesn’t push his voice and guitar like he used to in The Blasters, but the lusty blues songs “Black Sky,” “Sinful Daughter," and "Black Haired Girl” show a virility that's stealthier than his early work but just as potent.

Customer Reviews

Country Music With Brains

I came to Dave Alvin's music by way of the Knitters--a rollicking-fun band if ever there was one. Alvin's music is pensive, intelligent, one-of-a-kind. He writes smart, poignant songs and sings them with a soft-gravel voice that goes down easy yet commands one's interest. "The Man in the Bed" is a heart-rending tale of aging and disability. "Black Haired Girl" tells of time's passage with wit and pathos. One of my all-time favorite songs is "Everett Ruess," which tracks the story of the outcast, the loner, the visionary. Alvin's music rocks when the occasion calls for it, and there is nothing "soft" or "sentimental" in even his most emotionally potent lyrics. I strongly recommend exploring his work.

one of the best

One of the best albums ever by one of the greats.


I first heard Dave Alvins voice when he performed a few of his own tunes on stage with the Knitters in the 90s and was melted by this mans amazing depth. Romantic but very manly, Hear him live you will want to hear him again and again so buy this one Blue Blvd and King of California


Born: 1955 in Downey, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Dave Alvin helped to kick-start the American roots rock scene in the early '80s with the band the Blasters, and has since gone on to a career as a solo performer, songwriter, producer, and sideman that's been as well respected as it is eclectic. Born in Downey, California in 1955, Alvin was raised by a family of music fans, and as teenagers Dave and his older brother Phil immersed themselves in blues, rockabilly, and vintage country sounds, collecting rare records and attending nightclub performances...
Full Bio