Dave and Phil: Blue Blvd and beyond

I am very excited to congratulate Dave and Phil on their Grammy nomination for their album Common Ground (Yep Roc) in the Best Blues Album category. I’m so happy to have photographed them for this project! Read on for more of my experiences working with them, and about my getting to know and photograph Dave over the years.

When I first saw guitarist / singer / songwriter / poet Dave Alvin at the (cramped / hot) King King Club on La Brea Avenue in Hollywood, I was (of course) totally bowled over and I resolved to work with him.

Somehow, incredibly, my naiveté paid off!

I’d photograph his shows, go home, develop the film (yes, film) and then print my favorite images in the darkroom (yes, darkroom). Then I’d bring the images to the next show hoping to show the prints to him.

Not so easy! The third time was the charm though, and in the dark, cramped club Dave took a look at my images and… LOVED them – One of the photographs became the cover of his second solo release “Blue Blvd”.

Various sessions for publicity (and just for fun) followed. Above left is a proof sheet from a truck stop shoot in Wilmington, CA (gotta love the Hasselbad!) and above right is an image from one of our early sessions shot in the LA River in Downey.

Did someone say LA River? Yes kids, the river existed as a gorgeous (and photogenic) existential wasteland decades before it was crowned a place to be for hipsters and luxury condo developers. Link above or here to see some of my images of the LA river at that time.

After “Blue Blvd” came shooting the cover art for “Museum of Heart” (below), which was a proper photo session that we set up at the Alligator Lounge, home to all forms of experimental music from Nels Cline to Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon.