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April 22nd, 2021 - BLUERIDGE NOW TIMES

Live Music This Weekend: David Payne plays from the heart, inspired by the love of his life.

Considering that I am just now discovering WNC musician David Payne, the people who say I am a slow learner might be right.

But David is not the sort of guy to seek attention. If anything, he is a man at peace with his life and his music, happy to be with the love of his life, at work on the farm and making music for others.

This Sunday, David will perform at Appalachian Ridge Artisan Hard Cider, and if you are the kind of person who gets a little thrill hearing an old favorite song, you might want to check him out.

When I began researching him on the Internet, I soon found not a whole lot. He has a website — — that gives the basics, but I wanted to know more.

After a few phone calls, I got David at work on the farm. On the farm? I know a lot of musicians have day jobs. I wonder what he grows?

I listened to a few tracks on his website and decided we all need to know David a little better. I asked him 10 questions, and here what he said. 

I know you’re a musician, but are you also a farmer? How does farming fit into your life as a musician?

I am fortunate to live in the Tuxedo area of Henderson County. Several years ago, we set out on a venture to grow organic hemp with one purpose in mind - make the best products for the public in hopes to help them along life’s journey.

The farm is a constant source of inspiration. It is here that I find solace and refuge. Music seems to seep through this place: birds and a myriad of animals constantly keep a song going.

There’s something about plowing a field that makes you feel one with this great place, and that inspires me. Often, I will set up on my deck and play for hours and just look at the green fields.

I listened to several of the music clips on your website. Love your voice and that seriously sincere vibe. How would you describe your music?

When people ask me, I tell them that I want my music to mimic the times when you were driving down the road, turning the channel when suddenly you had to stop and listen to that “favorite song.”

I want my music to give you that feeling, a memory, a smile, perhaps for a moment… you step back in time and feel that feeling you used to feel when you heard a song.

You started music as a child, and went on to play as a young man. But at some point you quit. Why did you quit and what did you do?

I’ll put it delicately… in Leonard Cohen’s famous song “Hallelujah” there is a line “you don’t really care for music, do you.” That’s where I was, in a place in life where I felt as if those surrounding me did not “really care for music.”

Sadly, during those “down years” I replaced music with work, a poor substitute for expression. I remember seeing my guitar in the corner, gathering dust, but I was reluctant to pick it up. I just wanted encouragement, from anywhere… it never came. So I plowed into the “American dream” and worked.

When and why did you start back — something to do with the love of your life?

Candidly, my inspiration came from Shelle, the love of my life. We have been together now for many years. One day I was visiting her at her home and saw an old guitar. I picked it up and played and sang for her.

She never let me put it down, and, in fact, pushed me to go further than I dreamed possible. She “really cares for music.” I have never known a person who knows so many songs, every word. She’s like an encyclopedia of songs, and to her songs have meaning and purpose.

I was fortunate to get to know her father, Jack Scott, a man who had a voice that was perfect in so many ways. He, too, encouraged me, and when I began playing gigs, he would often be in the very front singing along with every song.

They brought joy back into my music and taught me that oftentimes a song can change a person’s mood immediately, lift them up when times are tough.

I like that single “Cold Dead Hands.” It is new? What inspired it?

“Cold Dead Hands” is a new single. Actually, it’s the first song I ever tried writing. Not long after my mother died, I was sitting at the farm and jotted down “In the center of our home for everyone to see, a blueprint for our lives and our family tree…” I shared it with Shelle. Again, encouragement, and from there, the song was born.

My inspiration comes from the fact that I am broken-hearted with the fate of our nation. “Brother against brother is the battle cry.” That’s just not who we are as a people. I wanted folks to know that I want to hold onto our freedoms, “until the very end.” Everyone sacrificed, “every race” gave the ultimate sacrifice so that we can live freely. To me, that means everything.

In the great scheme of life, where are you now musically? 

I’m on a journey, I am constantly challenging myself to learn new material; not just old songs but new songs, too, that have a message. I can’t read a lick of music, too mathematical for me. But I can feel it, and I know I have a long way to go, as a guitarist and a singer. But I feel confident and excited every time I sit down for a gig. It’s a great feeling.

What can a person expect to see and hear when they come to your show?

My gigs are typically three hours. I play the entire time. People can expect to hear anything from Tom Petty to Willie Nelson, Imagine Dragons and ColdPlay to Johnny Cash and America. It’s an eclectic gig.

My hope is that they will hear something they loved years ago. I try to stay true to the music. It’s just me, my guitar, and their songs. My goal is to take them back or give them a brief reprieve from everyday worries. 

Give me a brief rundown on your family. 

I’m 55 years old and my two children are grown, as are my two stepchildren. Shelle and I are not only in love but best friends. I’m fortunate in that my father is still alive. It was his father, my grandfather, who was blessed with a true ear for music. It’s not a large family, but it’s a very good one.

You are an Asheville native and you live there now? Geographically, where do you perform, and what do you think of Hendo’s music scene?

I am an Asheville native, fourth generation; now I reside in Tuxedo. I primarily perform in Hendersonville and Saluda, which is by choice. I love this place. Hendersonville’s music scene is awesome. From the vineyards to the local breweries, it seems as if they get it. People want a place to go, relax, and listen to live music. The artists that I have seen have been top notch.

For example, I went to Nashville not too long ago; I expected to hear the best. Turns out, Hendersonville has wonderful talent available. You don’t have to go to Nashville, just pick a local brewery, vineyard or cider barn and go enjoy quality entertainment.

What do you want people to know about you?

I feel every song I sing. Call me sentimental… because I like that. I have over 250 songs that I play; each one reminds me of a time or a place. I want them to know that it’s more than just entertainment, it’s a journey in music.

To see them smile or sing along is priceless to me, and it makes me feel that in some way, I may have made their day just a bit brighter. 

April 25th, 2021 - GO HENDO
David Payne LIVE at Appalachian Ridge!

It sure seems like David Payne is playing everywhere these days, and Appalachian Ridge Artisan Hard Cider is no exception! An Asheville native, David picked up a guitar at the age of 12, put it down for a while, then picked it back up at the behest of the love of his life and never put it down again. Come hear David play some songs you know and love that will inspire and lift you up, something desperately needed in the world today. Show starts at 2:30 and runs for three hours!

Event dates, times, scheduled appearances, itineraries, planned items, amenities and offerings are subject to change or cancellation without notice. Please verify the event with the venue before planning your trip.

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