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Songwriter lands Swampbird bill

By JACK W. HILL SPECIAL TO THE DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE

This article was published January 30, 2014 at 2:41 a.m.

wb-givens

W.B. Givens

W.B. Givens explains his role in the triple-bill tonight at the White Water Tavern.

“This will be a Swampbird show, as Little Rock is their turf,” Givens says. “And The Kit Carsons are from New Orleans. This will be my first time to play with [Swampbird], and my first time to play Little Rock, but I’ve done a lot of stuff with The Kit Carsons.”

Givens, who hails from Senatobia, in the hill country in the north part of Mississippi, has lived for five years in east Nashville, commonly considered the part of Tennessee where the “alternative country” musicians gravitate to, the ones who prefer not to be linked to “mainstream country.” In between those locations, Givens spent time in Asheville, N.C.

“My sister and Chad Carson, of The Kit Carsons band, and I started a bluegrass band before I decided to move to Nashville, where I went to go to Belmont University, and graduated from there in 2012,” Givens says. “I wanted to just move to Nashville, but my dad insisted on me going to college, and Belmont has a good music business program, so I came out with a lot of knowledge that has been proving useful, for sure.

“And I gotta add that Carson is like my primary songwriting partner. He brings out the best in me.”

Givens plays acoustic and electric guitar and will bring a band with members who play pedal steel/electric guitar, plus an upright bassist.

As for his sound, he says it “has morphed quite a bit since I got started with a bluegrass lineup.”

“I’ve always loved rock ’n’ roll and wanted to be a little bit louder. Usually I like to get loud, but sometimes I go acoustic.”

As influences, Givens cites Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, John Prine and Townes Van Zandt. His live shows, he says, are primarily his original songs, but may include random covers, especially by Prine or The Band.

“I began with a love of bluegrass, where all harmonies and instrumentation are so sweet, as well as with traditional country,” he recalls. “I melt when I hear a pedal steel.”

He launched his recording career with a self-titled EP in 2011 and then followed that with a full album, Locomotion, in October 2013.

Swampbird

Openers: W.B. Givens, The Kit Carsons 10 p.m. today, White Water Tavern, West Seventh and Thayer streets, Little Rock Admission: $5 (501) 375-8400 whitewatertavern.com

Weekend, Pages 35 on 01/30/2014

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