Davis John Patton

Certain memories stick around forever.

Late-night road trip conversations, college graduations, and marriage proposals impart eternal impressions. Such instances live on within the songs of Davis John Patton. The Iowa-born singer and songwriter conveys the wonder of these moments over a soundtrack of lithe acoustic instruments and atmospheric production. As life cycles through its seasons, so does his music.

On the 2019 From The Garden EP [Nettwerk], the troubadour threads together tangible moments into an artful pastiche of entrancing and engaging folk.

“I write based on the season of life I’m in,” he says. “It’s very natural. I like making music with real instruments and leading with acoustic guitar or piano. I try to create an atmosphere of authenticity. It just sets a mood.”

Born and raised in the Midwest, Davis found himself drawn to music at a young age. Mom enrolled him in piano lessons during first grade. Three years later, he picked up guitar. In between choir at church and school, he discovered Bon Iver’s For Emma, Forever Ago and embraced acoustic folk. While in college, he independently wrote and recorded the 2018 Forest Park EP. “Motives” found its way to Spotify’s Lush + Atmospheric Playlist, generating over 533K streams in less than a year and attracting the attention of producer Tyler Johnson. He sent Davis a message on Soundcloud and invited him to Vancouver to record. Over the course of seven days in December 2018, they tracked the five tunes comprising From The Garden.

The changes in his life defined the process.

“I had just graduated college and had started working at the time,” he recalls. “When we were recording, I decided to buy my girlfriend a ring. In March, I proposed. The writing happened at the beginning of this. A lot of the songs deal with questions and confusion. I was trying to stay balanced in an unlevel orbit. There are different aspects of the story in the music.”

Faint guitar trickles into the beginning of the first single “We Can Find A Place.” His voice builds from vibrant verses into a soulful hook highlighted by resonant piano. It culminates on the reminder, “If you’re ever lost, you’ll always know we have a place that we call home.”

“It’s the last one I wrote before I went up to Vancouver,” he says. “I challenged myself to write a song with an upbeat energy to it. It partially came from the place of wanting to propose. I was reflecting on some of the best times I’ve had with my girlfriend. A lot of those happened on road trips, so I’m using that imagery. Marriage redefines your understanding of home and the rest of your life. ‘We Can Find A Place’ is somewhat of a resolution to the questions posed on the EP.”

On “Stay,” nimble string plucking reverberates in tandem with his delicate delivery. Omnichord and xylophone peek through the stark sonic simplicity as it lyrically nods to a different inspiration altogether.

“I find a lot of emotion in movies,” he continues. “This one came from watching Interstellar. The protagonist is on a space mission longer than anticipated and it costs him a lot of time with his family. I tried to write a song he would sing if he had a song. A year later, it feels like something I’d want to send to my friends in college. You have a joy of community at school you don’t have elsewhere in life.”

The EP closes on the ebb and flow of “Stillwater.” The soft instrumentation and vocals elevate towards “a place of peace and rest.”

“The title From The Garden was important,” he elaborates. “In one respect, it’s literal as the studio was surrounded by plants. So, it was literally recorded from the garden. There’s the idea of being in a place of unbalance like in John Steinbeck’s East of Eden. How do we walk through and how do we land?”

In the end, Davis does so by commemorating life’s most important moments in song.

“When you listen to my music, I hope you feel known, like someone is going through the same thing,” he leaves off. “I just want to relate to normal people and their journeys.”