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Listen to a clip of "Talkin Holy War Blues"

Davidson seriously funny

Folk singer's lastest CD tackles social issues with a humorous, creative flair

A modern love tale about a drag queen, a social protest on racism and bigotry and the rights today's police officers invade are some of the musical stories told on a new album by contemporary American folk singer Ethan Daniel Davidson.

Davidson, a traveler whose permanent residence is in the remote Alaskan town of Wiseman, with a population of 18, is crisscrossing the country to promote his two albums, Alaska 11 North and his 2001 release Ring Them Bells.

Davidson plays guitar, bass guitar, upright bass and harmonica on the albums, but he also includes the sounds of cardboard boxes, empty bottles of Alaskan Amber and Oatmeal Stout and "some kind of small broom" to add to the album's eclectic sound.

Davidson's debut album, Alaska 11 North, embodies the harmonica and vocal stylings of his primary influence Bob Dylan, and Woody Guthrie and Billy Joel. Without the recognizable nasal Dylan sound, Davidson's voice sounds more monotone when conveying his creative prose.

On his second album Ring Them Bells, Davidson taps into a more interesting lyrical mood by synthesizing contemporary humor with a social consciousness that parallels the political overtones of music from the 1960s. The different tracks bring out Davidson's deep husky voice and more clever melodies. The vocals become almost spoken at times, while he tells stories of life, love and freedom.

The standout humorous song on the second album, "Gus T. M. D. Q. (Modern Love)," uses the melody of "Puff the Magic Dragon" to tell a satire of Gus, a drag queen looking for love in the changing dynamics of society. The song addresses a real topic with a humorous twist: "Gus the magic drag queen/Lived in 5C/ He frolicked in the local bars/ In a dress by Versace."

"Talkin Holy War Blues," a song about a Muslim woman and a Jewish man who are in love despite the disputes between their respective religions uses the same comedic edge. The light humor balances out the more serious songs about political and social concerns in America.

Davidson, "a do-it-yourself singer-songwriter," works to promote himself and play shows in a number of cities around the country. He can be seen in Albuquerque at R.B. Winning Coffee Co. on March 18 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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