Raymond ‘Chip’ Davis, is a West Virginia native who grew up in Baltimore, Maryland as a preacher’s kid. Davis made the move down to Music City U.S.A. in the late ’80’s, after playing the clubs and bars in and around Baltimore for years.
‘Chip’ – as everybody knows him around Nashville nowadaysÂ -Â is a singer/songwriter and producer. He hasÂ worked with some of the biggest names in Gospel and Country music. Chris Cagle recorded Chip’s song “What Kind of Gone;” it was the only song in 2009 to get a secondÂ Airplay Award for staying in the top 50 for two years!
AÂ few other artists thatÂ Chip worked withÂ includeÂ Dolly Parton, Randy Travis, Don Felder, Mickey Gilley, Michael English, Russ Taff, Kenny Hinson, Gaither Vocal Band, Carman, and the list goes on and on. Chip sang in the behind-the-scenes-choir on a bunch of Homecoming videos. The Martins performed Chip’s composition “Grace” on the Hawaiian Homecoming video. He currently tours with Country music legends Alabama. In fact, he wrote the title song of Alabama’s latest project, Southern Drawl.
Chip is a singing machine; a one man choir. Check your music collection and you’d be surprised on how many other people’s projects he has worked on. He’s either credited as Ray(mond) Davis or Chip Davis. As we speak he’s probably cramped in a vocal booth somewhere round Nashville, laying down track by track, delivering only the best to the ones who hired himÂ and making everyone around him sound better!
Sounds a little dramatic perhaps, but this guy has a signature sound in background vocal land. When you listen to various projects in the Country/Gospel field from the ’90’s till the present day, you understand why he’s the guy who got the call. Like George Younce once said to Chip when he ran into him at the National Quartet Convention: ‘Raymond you singin’ rascal, you!’ Chip sang on two of George’s solo projects, and George loved to hear him sing!
Davis a singer’s singer, respected for his ‘ear’ for harmony and his remarkable, pleasant voice. He embodies easy on the ears, heavy on the heart, like no one else. Chip recorded a solo album a couple of years back and it is truly one of the best albums out there! It is entitled:Â Standing In My Own Way. Vocally, lyrically and musically, it is a top notch project! Yet very few know it’s out there and that’s a shame. He also recorded a stellar Bluegrass album entitled Lifetime, with his family. Go seek that one out too, it’s one of the most moving and honest albums you’ll ever hear.
So what is Chip up to these days? Well he’s still doing session work either as producer or background vocalist. He’s traveling with Alabama as mentioned before, where he’s singing and playing keys. And he is still writing wonderful tunes, tunes that have a common thread of truth. Love and truth; that’s Chip all right!
Tori Taff tells us, “Chip Davis is ridiculously talented.
“He is a wonderfully creative songwriter with the soul of a true poet, but he can also sing the most difficult, complicated harmony parts with mathematical pitch and precision, which is one of the reasons he is such a sought-after session singer. He is a survivor– his life has not always been easy, and you can hear the pain of the past in his voice. His heart brims over with love for his friends and family, and you can hear that, too.
“Chip deserves to be one of the brightest stars in Nashville, and there really is no good reason that he isn’t, except for the fact that the music business, like life, isn’t based on fairness. The best and the brightest are not necessarily the richest and most famous. Chip is an artist– he would sing and write and create even if he never made a dime from it, because that’s who he is. But his kind of talent is rare enough to be recognized even in a jaded town like Nashville, and that’s why the real movers and shakers in the music business have such an affection and respect for Chip Davis. He’s quite simply, the real deal.”
I had the pleasure of hearing some amazing tunes while visiting with Chip just recently. As soon as I heard some of these demos, I texted every Southern Gospel MusicÂ artist I knew, saying that I just heard a song that would be perfect for them. At the moment he’s collaborating with Dony McGuire and Reba Rambo McGuire and it’s amazing what these three have crafted. Wonderful songs with poetry and content. Potent stuff! Every group today that is looking for some new material should stop what they are doing and get a hold of one of these three, because these are real message songs, songs of hope and love!
Mark Lowry recently recorded one of those songs entitled, “Come As You Are.” Lowry also posted a video recently that he’d shot at Chip’s home. In the video, that has had 1.9 million views on Facebook, Chip, his talented brother Billy, and sister Amelia sing a song that he and Billy wrote over 25 years ago entitled, “Lord Remember Me.” It’s a song that is an instant classic from the first time you hear it! People love that songÂ andÂ all the comments you read on Facebook and Youtube are nothing but raving! Here’s a link to the studio cut of this song: https://youtu.be/FrvIZRWoC18
Although it’s available on iTunes, and it has had that many views on social media, you would think that song would do well for Chip and Billy. I’m sad to report that sales are not worth mentioning. I hear people say all the time that nobody makes real music any more, or Â there aren’t any good songs any more. Well, I tell you there are! But if these artists don’t get what they deserve, you’ll probably never get to hear them!
Making records doesn’t come free. Rare songbirds like Chip Davis need to be heard, and his wonderful poetry has to be shared with the masses as there’s a lot to be learned from his songs. So spent $0.99 on that tune. Feed the birdsÂ andÂ ultimately feed your soul!
Besides being an artist, Chip DavisÂ isÂ also a loving family man with a big big heart. He’s a loyal and hard working individual, with a genuine love for all of God’s creatures, great or small. A guy who not only quotes the verse, “the greatest of these is love,” but lives it in a humble and real way! Like George said, this guy is a “singing rascal.” Well, indeed he is, but he’s more than just that!
Go to www.chipdavisworld.com and get to know this incredible brother!
By Auke Bijlsma
For more commentary on Christian music, visit Auke’s blogÂ here.
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