Blues music will fill Heritage Park Friday as musician David Gerald will take the Levitt Amp Music on Main stage at 7 p.m. Gerald was born in Detroit and is the youngest of 11 children. He began playing the guitar when he was 15, and also plays the bass, keys and drums. Gerald was recently listed as No. 1 on ReverbNation’s blues chart for Michigan blues artists. His debut album, “Hell and Back” reached No. 1 on the Roots Music Report’s Blues Chart for Michigan-based artists and his second album, “Blues Soul Rocker,” was released in late 2016. Gerald recently answered some questions about his upcoming Music on Main performance.
Q: What kind of show can fans expect at the concert in Denison?
A: Expect a blues, rock show with a whole lot of soul. It will be blues, classic rock and some good singing.
Q: Do you have a favorite song to play?
A: My favorite song of mine to play is “Postman.” That one may also be my most popular song. I also like to play, “I Will Play the Blues for You.” I like it because it epitomizes everything I am about. It’s about connecting with people no matter what walk of life they are in or are coming from. It is about the connection an artist has with his or her audience.
Q: You play several instruments, guitar, bass, keyboard and drums. In your spare time, what instrument do you gravitate towards to de-stress?
A: The guitar is my No. 1. When I want to clear my thoughts, I go to that.
Q: Music on Main is a free concert series hosted by downtown Denison. What do you like about playing small venues?
A: I love the intimacy of smaller venues. At festivals, you are on a stage that puts you several feet from the first person in the audience. You do not get to really connect with them. At smaller venues, I can get close to the audience and I can really connect with the people. I appreciate smaller venues more than the larger festivals because of that.
Q: You used to build Frankenstein guitars, taking parts or scraps from different guitars and building your own. How does understanding how to build a guitar help make you a better guitar player?
A: It helped me learn to decipher between a really good guitar from a bad one. A lot of guitar necks that I used had missing pieces. So there are four screws at the top of the neck that are used to tighten the strings. If one of those screws was broken or missing, then the strings would not get as tight as I needed them to be. I had to work really hard to play well. I was fortunate to get pieces from a neighbor to make my own guitars, but when I was able to buy my own, playing was like butter. Now I play on a Fender Stratocaster American.
Q: What other artists would you be happy or excited to have your name mentioned alongside?
A: As a songwriter, I would like for my name to be mentioned along with Prince. But, as a guitarist, I would like to be mentioned along with Jimi Hendrix and Steve Ray Vaughan. When I heard Prince, I learned his music as best I could. Then, I looked into who influenced him. The blues was the base of his stuff. He mixed the blues and funk, then added pop. Every great American artist started with the blues, in my opinion. My road is similar to Prince in that way. He was influenced by Muddy Waters and others like that. The road to our goals are very similar.
Q: When people leave the concert, what would you like them to be saying about David Gerald?
A: In one sentence, I would want them to be saying, “I felt something.”