BIOGRAPHY You might say Dave Nevling got an early start to his music career because, according to his sister, he learned to sing before he learned to talk. Many Nevling family members were musically inclined, so Dave was inspired by both exposure and natural talent. The Nevling family moved to White Plains, New York when Dave was 15, and his first experience as a lead singer came when he was asked by some classmates to join their band, 'The Boys.' Nevling commented, 'I was the only one with a basement to practice in. That may have been the deciding factor for my being hired at the time.' Dave Nevling was first introduced to the blues while attending a junior college in Connecticut, but it wasn't until a couple years later at Georgetown University, in D.C., that he started studying the harmonica. Besides a few book basics, he realized playing the harmonica is pretty much a self-taught experience and requires many hours of experimentation and practice. While living in south Florida with his sister, Dave found the ultimate makeshift sound studio-empty sewer pipes at a construction site near their apartment. Nevling added, 'Of course, it wasn't until evening, after the work crew left, that I headed out to the pipes, no mic or amp, with just a flashlight and my bag of harps. The acoustics were fantastic!' Nevling moved to Houston, Texas and played with various bands from the mid 70's through the 80's. In 1991 he got his first steady job as a musician with Gulf Coast guitar legend, Bert Wills, and played with Bert for almost two years. Soon after leaving Wills, Mark May, another Houston guitar legend, asked Dave to join his band 'Mark May and the Agitators.' Dave played harmonica and sang with May for three years, and during that period performed on Mark's first CD, 'Call on the Blues.' After getting some good local band experience under his belt, Dave decided to go out on his own and formed 'Dave Nevling and the Blues Kats' in 1997. This was his opportunity to concentrate on true blues music and satisfy his need for self-expression by writing his own songs. Nevling said, 'My early harmonica influences were Paul Butterfield and Charlie Musslewhite. Ray Charles was one of my favorite vocalists, as was Delbert McClinton.' Dave's musical subjects range from the spiritual enlightenment expressed in 'You The One' to the dark, moody minor key blues song, 'Nightshade,' about a man who poisons his wife. He says he draws his inspirations from current events, movies, billboards, and relationships. Scott Colvin, an English teacher who has a website devoted to literature teaching tools, has used Dave's song 'Haunting Me' as a musical theme example for Arthur Miller's play 'The Crucible.' Of course, Nevling's sense of humor can't be ignored either, as expressed in the fun songs, 'Short and Stout' and 'Dip My Wick.' Dave Nevling has arranged and produced (Katastic Records) three CDs. His first release, 'That Look' in the spring of 2000, followed by 'Nightshade' in 2002, and the latest, 'Heady Brew,' out in May 2004, were met with rave reviews (see quote sheet). All three albums showcase Nevling's command of vocals, mastery of harmonica, and versatility as a songwriter. DAVE NEVLING: HEADY BREW (Katastic Records) I'll be the first to admit I'm not as on-the-ball as I used to be and chances are I would've been ranting and raving about this Texas Blues Harmonica king a lot earlier, but we'll settle for getting hip in 2003/4. His last disc, 'Deadly Nightshade' was truly a mind blower. There are hordes of heavy-breathing harpmeisters out there, but having been raised on Slim Harpo, Alan Wilson, James Harman, and King Biscuit Boy (hey, what a 4-some!); I'm both spoiled and enlightened. Out of 426 harpists making a living in 2004 perhaps 19 turn my crank and Mr. Nevling is in the top 5. What was it about ''Nightshade' that had us so knocked out? Well, how about this for a combination; exceptionally melodic/creative blowing, nice tone, wonderful original material, an appealing voice/vocals, a typical superstar Texas backup crew in support (stunning guitar!), and really fine production and sound. Not bad, eh? How does 'Heady' compare? Let's just say it's an extension of 'Nightshade' in every way, so that means it's a killer-diller! (Perhaps progression is a more appropriate term), David told me, a couple of months back, 'Matt Johnson isn't playing on this new one, but I think you'll dig our new guy, Adam Burchfield.' Hey, he was right! Something in the water down there has 5 thousand pickers all playing perfect Blues guitar and Burchfield sounds like he was raised on a strict diet of nasty Texas boogie (his solo on 'Jonina' got 4 repeat listenings and a 'Wow!) All 12 tunes are Nevling originals and each and every one is a smoker. 'You the One' is a Chicago shuffle at a tempo perfect for all those Shaggers in North Carolina. Bob Armour lays down a tine shuffle beat on the drums. 'Dip My Wick' is a song of regret (of course) where Dave pays some painful consequences for sampling (musicians might not relate to this tune, being the chaste-type characters the are.....ha!) 'I Can't Pretend' is an atmospheric piece slowed down a trifle with beautiful picking from Adam. It's a tune about being played for a fool (knife-in-the-back stuff)that's simply stunning for the harp solo from Nevling. 'Jonina' rocks the boogie with an infectious beat, Chicago-style 1950's for 'It Ain't Love'(a sure hit in Myrtle Beach, N.C.) and 'Only You' is another knockout shuffle for Shaggers to relish. Nevling has the smoothest voice in Texas and the fattest harp tone anywhere (wonder what mike he uses?). Melodic, heavy harp a la Big Walter just flows from this guy and the instrumental 'In and Out' is a nice, simple but powerful piece that shows off Nevling's reed ability perfectly, and Adam smokes a wild guitar solo. 'Sweet-Thing' is a killer-diller, slow burner that shows Nevling's pipes off perfectly and 'Leon's BBQ' is a fun New Orleans style swinger that will have dance floors packed. Closing off is the killer-diller, 'Front Porch Boogie' that reminds us of 'Whammer Jammer' for it's harp shuffling-nice. So, here we have it, Dave Nevling has delivered another Killer Texas harp Blues Masterpiece and the level of music and talent requires us to lay out 5 Big Lone Star Bottles. Dave Nevling has little real competition when it comes to exciting, pure Blues harp blowing, singing and song writing. Check him out.-Andy Grigg.