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Dave Ralston “Nail’s It Down”

By: Elena Sinnemaki

Date Posted: 2000-10-06

He walked into the dark haze of Gate 2 street’s Al’s Place with an ear-to-ear grin. As people passed, they would smile, shake his hand and ask how success was treating him. You could tell just from the look in his eyes that it hadn’t been easy, but that he was basking in the satisfaction of what hard work reaps. He had his coke, a big smile and was ready to tell the story he’d been waiting to tell Okinawa for a long time.

With his CD release posters hanging behind the bar and on the walls, and familiar faces stopping by for a quick hello, you could tell Dave was right at home. Originally from Indiana, he’s spent the last 8 years perfecting his sound on Okinawa. He sat down and immediately began chatting with excitement about the national release of his CD “Nail It Down”, which is set to release in Tokyo on November 3rd. “This is what I’ve been waiting for and working so hard for.” The Japan release party will be held at the Tower Records LiveHouse on November 13th. The Okinawa release party will be held at D-Set in Naha Wednesday, November 1st at 9pm.

Whether on the shadowy stage at Al’s Place or in a full house at Fujiyama’s or on the vast stage of a local festival, David Ralston and his elite team of musical geniuses smile for the fans and literally rock the house with an incredible blues style that has become well-known to Okinawa, and soon to all of Japan. However, humble as he is, Dave is very grateful for all of the support he has here on island. “AFN is fantastic. They let me come down and hang out and have been so supportive of everything I’ve done.” He will also be the first to tell you, “I have the best musicians on this island. I know I am the luckiest man in the world.” His brilliant band includes drummer Tsuguatsu, bass player Gachapine, percussionist Mari, Shinu on harmonica and Rachel Lauderdale, his incredibly talented background vocalist. One can very quickly tell that the David Ralston Band is extremely diverse just by seeing the names of its members. Dave and Rachel are both American while the rest of the members are from right here on Okinawa. “There is no language barrier when music is involved. We use a lot of sign language, foot tapping and facial expressions to get our points across and in the end, we are all on the same page.”

There is no question about the great fortune Dave has run into after beginning his career. Being fortunate enough to catch the attention of Delaney Bramlett – renowned for producing such talents as Eric Clapton, George Harrison and Duane Allman, to name a few – Dave’s career has really taken off. Delaney knew Dave had something special, a raw talent, so even after 30 years of turning down musician after musician, he took his chance on the kid with a remarkable gift. Dave listened and learned as Delaney coached him on different vocal techniques and on how to rip into his guitar, just the way Delaney had shown Clapton and Allman.

There is so much respect for Delaney Bramlett’s eye (and ear) for talent that the pioneers of rock and blues literally came out of the woodwork when the word got out that he had found an amazing talent and, after 30 years of passing others by, was going to produce him. “Nail It Down” not only features Bramlett and his wife Kim, it showcases the many talents of Grateful Dead guitarist Mark Karan, Dave Mason, Sophie B. Hawkins, Jewel, Amy Grant, Charlie Rich, Ronnie Milsap, members of Bon Jovi on background vocals of the song “Rock and Roll Lane” and many others. Dave was in awe and a little scared at first, but settled in and did what he does so well.

His eyes danced as he recalled his jam session with Delaney Bramlett at Delaney’s kitchen table in Sunland, California. “One of the best things about the international release of ‘Nail It Down’ is the bonus track we recorded at Delaney’s house. It was so amazing. I sat there at the same table where all the greats – Eric Clapton, Duane Allman, Janis Joplin, George Harrison – they all sat there with Delaney while his mother was busy in the kitchen and they would just play. And there I am at the same table just playing. It’s a great recording, very real. You can even hear his mother and wife cooking in the background!” Anyone can tell how grateful Dave is to Delaney and everyone who has helped him bring this CD together just by listening to and watching him talk about them. “You know, it’s just been great. And Delaney is just a really special guy.”

With all of the work that will go into promoting the national release of “Nail It Down”, the Dave Ralston Band will be taking a break from performing on the local circuit. They will be performing at Al’s Place this Friday night starting at 9pm. “I know this will be the last show here for a while, at least until after the Tokyo and Okinawa releases.”

The re-release of “Nail It Down” will be available in local music stores on Okinawa on November 3rd. The cost is 2,310yen (including tax). For more information on release parties and dates, or information on where you can catch the David Ralston Band, contact 861-8110.

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