Discovering the Magic of David Garza

Club Largo - Los Angeles - February 8, 2007

First Appeared in The Music Box, March 2007, Volume 14, #3

Written by Michael Cooney


Question: Who is David Garza?

Answer: His first name is pronounced (Dah-VEED). In a fashion that is both beautiful and bizarre, his music blends the styles of Jeff Buckley, Elvis Costello, and Ani DiFranco, and it is flavored with undertones drawn from his Mexican-American heritage. In short, Garza is arguably one of the most imaginative, creative, and superbly talented musicians to come along in decades. So, why is it that most people (including some within the recording industry) have never heard of this Austin, Texas-based singer/songwriter?

With the release of This Euphoria, his 1998 debut for Atlantic Records, Garza garnered critical praise while almost instantaneously developing a small but devoted following. Although he received a lot of attention from print media outlets and benefitted from his label’s mass distribution network — his album was carried by the likes of Wal-Mart — he largely was ignored by radio stations. Yet, Garza doesn’t seem to be the sort to care much about radio-friendly hooks or Top 40 singles. He is a true musician’s musician. After parting ways with Atlantic in favor of the independent label Wide Open and electing to sell his wares mostly online and at gigs, Garza has continued for nearly 10 years to consistently (and far too quietly) create and perform his own unique brand of soulful, funky rock ’n‘ roll.

Through it all, Garza’s fans have remained loyal, and on February 8, it appeared as if all of them had gathered at Club Largo in Los Angeles. They packed themselves into the tiny, almost pitch-black room, and they stared transfixed at the small stage where Garza stood, bathed in a single spotlight. Plucking and strumming his acoustic, 12-string guitar with a visceral, wild passion, Garza was flat out amazing. He purred and crooned out lyric after lyric of his, at times, incomprehensibly strange but always infectious songs, including a riotous rendition of Discoball World and a haunting journey through Float Away. Together with pianist Dave Palmer, Garza managed to transport the entire club into a nearly dreamlike state. There was a gleam in his eyes and a constant smile on his face as he cast a magical spell over the crowd that lasted for the duration of the evening.

The most moving moments of the show, however, came when Garza unexpectedly was joined on stage by his longtime pal, the often reclusive Fiona Apple — and she simply sparkled. With Palmer and Garza by her side, Apple treated the stunned crowd to a rare set of mostly Patsy Cline covers. She sang with pitch-perfect precision, and the tender power of Apple’s voice caused the walls of the tiny club to tremble repeatedly. The three musicians even coaxed the audience into singing along to Buddy Holly’s hit Everyday, which was dedicated to Anna Nicole Smith, who recently had died.

By night’s end, when the houselights came on and the magical spell had been broken, most in the crowd were busy buying Garza’s albums and making plans to see him again. In fact, anyone who truly cares about good music should make an effort to discover the magic of David Garza — and they should do it today.

This Euphoria is available from Barnes & Noble.
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Copyright © 2007 The Music Box