GRAMMY-NOMINATED SINGER/SONGWRITER ANTHONY DAVID CELEBRATES ICONIC SINGER-SONGWRITER BILL WITHERS’ 80TH BIRTHDAY YEAR WITH HEARTFELT HELLO LIKE BEFORE TRIBUTE ALBUM
Hello Like Before Releases on Shanachie Entertainment on September 21, 2018
“In many ways, Bill Withers is the artist most influential to my music career,” confides singer, musician, and songwriter, Anthony David, who pays homage to the iconic Rock & Roll Hall of Famer with his latest project, Hello Like Before, to be released by Shanachie Entertainment on September 21, 2018. This is the album that so many have been urging Anthony David to make for years; a heartfelt tribute to Bill Withers, an entire album of interpretations of Withers’ compositions, both famous and obscure. “I’ve had a lot of conversations over the concept of giving people their flowers while they’re here and so as Mr. Withers celebrates his 80th birthday, I want him to personally know the impact his music has had on my life, how proud I am to honor his musical legacy.”
Anthony David’s connection to Withers is multi-faceted. From the onset of his career, David, a longtime collaborator with India.Arie, has often been compared to Bill Withers. Like Withers, David plays the acoustic guitar and has a warm, resonant voice that imparts an earthy sincerity to his music. It is no surprise that David has often been labeled as his generation’s Bill Withers. Like Withers, David is a military veteran; both began penning songs and singing while enlisted. They both launched their careers after their tour of duty was over, David relocating from Savannah to Atlanta and Withers relocating from Virginia to Los Angeles. “When I started, I considered myself more of a writer than a singer,” shares David. “Since my first project, people would always point out and mention Bill Withers’ name comparing my sound, instrumentation, and subject matter to his. I grew up with Withers’ music and consider the comparisons a compliment.”
On Hello Like Before, Anthony David tackles a set of Bill Withers compositions ranging from such well-known hits as “Use Me”, “Lovely Day”, “Grandma’s Hands”, and “Kissin’ My Love” to more obscure gems such as “Hope She’ll Be Happier”, “I Can’t Write Left-Handed”, “You Just Can’t Smile It Away”, and the title track which became known through Jon Lucien’s version.
A major highlight of Hello Like Before, is Anthony’s version of Withers’ insightful anti-war song “I Can’t Write Left-Handed” which Withers only recorded on his “Live At Carnegie Hall” album from 1973. David gives a personalized reading of “Left-Handed” complete with monologue and edgy blues-rock guitar fills. “When I first heard Bill Withers’ “I Can’t Write Left-Handed,” it stopped me in my tracks. I had gone to Desert Storm and the way he described the mentality of young men who go off, I don’t think anyone has ever really described in a song before,” shares David.
Anthony and his producer Eddie “Gypsy” Stokes took the approach of maintaining the earthy simplicity of Bill Withers’ original versions of the songs, but with subtle touches designed to give the tracks a contemporary flavor. A major aspect of updating is a heavier bottom end, as befits an artist like David, who came of age in the hip-hop era. “Grandma’s Hands” for instance opens with a stark, almost blues-y approach with just voice and acoustic guitar for the entire first verse; when the rhythm sections comes in, it comes in heavier than on Withers’ version; the kick drum on “Use Me” may just punch out your speakers! His cover of “Hope She’ll Be Happier” hews fairly closely to the stately soulfulness of Withers’ original, but with a churchy organ filling it out. Keeping things simple gives Anthony plenty of space to stretch vocally and he delivers some of the deepest, most powerful vocals of his career.
Anthony David was born Anthony David Harrington in Savannah, Georgia. A Gulf War vet, he began writing songs during a stint in the military in Iraq, where as a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne he took part in 28 combat missions. “Writing songs was a life-affirming act while facing the real possibility of dying,” recalls David. He got involved in the music scene in Atlanta in the late 1990s, meeting a then-unknown singer-songwriter India.Arie. They became friends and creative collaborators, with David co-writing songs on her first three albums. Their co-writing sessions spawned a number of Grammy nominations and David joined India.Arie singing back-up on tour and eventually opening for her. This visibility led to the release of Anthony’s debut album Three Chords & The Truth released in 2004 on the Atlanta independent Brash Records. David has always resisted categorization by creating music that diverse and unique carving out a unique lane with his personalized brand of acoustic soul.
Extensive touring revealed Anthony to be a free-wheeling, engaging performer, able to hold a crowd with just the sound of his voice and an acoustic guitar. A second independent album, The Red Clay Chronicles (2006), led to a deal with Universal Records, who released Acey Duecy (2008), a compilation of the best tracks from his first two albums, yielding a hit duet with India.Arie and a Grammy nomination. Thanks to the release of his albums by labels in the UK and Japan, Anthony toured extensively abroad, building an international audience. His star continued to rise as he signed a deal with Purpose Records/eOne Entertainment which led to the release of his fourth album As Above, So Below (2011), which featured guest appearances from Algebra, Phonte of Little Brother, and Shawn Stockman of Boyz II Men. His duet with Algebra, “4Evermore”, became a #1 hit at adult urban radio while the reggae/Latin-tinged “Body Language” tore up dance floors in the UK. A tour in Kenya inspired Anthony to become part of the Give Africa Hope campaign that brought awareness to famine in East Africa. He shot the video for the title track of the album in Kenya. He also became involved with AWOL (All Walks Of Life), an arts program for children in his hometown of Savannah, pushing to establish it in Atlanta in 2013. He quickly followed the release of As Above, So Below with Love Out Loud, another album on Purpose/eOne. Signing with Shanachie Entertainment in 2015, he released The PowerFUL Now.
His latest project, Hello Like Before, to be released by Shanachie Entertainment on September 21, 2018, is the album that so many have been urging Anthony David to make for years; a heartfelt tribute to Bill Withers, an entire album of interpretations of Withers’ compositions, both famous and obscure. “I’ve covered some of his songs in my sets and there are so many great ones I wanted to do, the big classics, plus some deeper in his catalog that I’ve always loved. I thank him for digging deep every time! I’m hoping that “Hello Like Before” represents in a way that makes him proud and hope I did him some justice. Thank you, Mr. Withers!”
ANTHONY DAVID’S HELLO LIKE BEFORE TOUR DATES:
- 9/15 – Houston, TX (Arena Theater)
- 9/22 – Mableton, GA (Mable House Amphitheater) w/Gregory Porter & Avery*Sunshine (SOLD OUT)
- 9/23 – NYC (LPR Room)
- *9/30 – Birmingham, AL (LUXE)
- 10/19- Buffalo, NY (WUFO Power 96.5FM/Mix 1080 AM Radio Event) w/Michael Baisden & Glenn Jones
- 11/17 – Seattle (Neumos) w/Sy Smith
- 11/20 – Annapolis, MD (Rams Head) w/Sy Smith
- 11/23 – Washington DC (City Winery)
- 11/24 – Washington DC (City Winery)
- 12/29 – Atlanta (City Winery) – Special NYE Weekend Show
- 12/30 – Atlanta (City Winery) – Special NYE Weekend Show