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Dave Alvin finds a way to write on the road

for Journal Register Newspapers

Posted: Thursday, June 30, 2011

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Dave Alvin is a road dog — he was with the band the Blasters and has been since going on his own in 1986. Problem is, he doesn’t usually write songs on the road. Until now.

The guitarist, singer and songwriter says he was able to stockpile material for his new album, “Eleven Eleven,” while on tour with his group, the Guilty Women, thanks to simple logistics. “I don’t travel in the lap of luxury,” says Alvin, 55. “I don’t have a private jet or a private bus where I can lay in the back and have people waiting on me hand and foot and ‘Can I get you a pen?’ Usually we’ve got two vehicles and a van or something, and I love to drive — which gives me time for thought but doesn’t give you time to sit down and construct a song.”

With the Guilty Women, however, Alvin, who’s touring this summer with another band he's dubbed the Guilty Ones, and company “had seven people in the group, a lot of driving options. So I’d sit shotgun, look out the window and work on songs. It was much different.”

One of those songs on “Eleven Eleven” is “What’s Up With Your Brother?” a duet with Alvin’s brother and former Blasters partner Phil Alvin, which was inspired during a walk through the High Noon club in Madison, Wis.

“I went to the bathroom, and this guy comes out and says, ‘Hey, what’s up with your brother?’” recalls Alvin, who also used Blasters keyboardist Gene Taylor on the album. “And later a different guy comes up to me and says the same thing. So I was like, ‘Thank you. I have a song now.’

“And then I just called Phil and said, ‘You want to sing a song together?’ We never had really done it; we didn’t grow up singing together like the Everly Brothers or anything. But this time it felt right.”

Dave Alvin & the Guilty Ones perform at 8 p.m. Saturday, July 2, at the Ark, 316 S. Main St., Ann Arbor. Tickets are $22. Call 734-761-1451 or visit www.theark.org.

Web Site: www.theark.org

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