Jeff Givens: Crazy Heart Comes to Falmouth
By: Jason Savio, May 25, 2012
JEFF GIVENS - This rock-country musician has been touring since the 70s, but is hanging up his hat in Falmouth while he awaits the release of his first solo album, "Bourbon Cowboy."
Boy, does Jeff Givens have some stories. Whether it’s his story of “the note” with Urge Overkill’s Nash Kato, his “Torches and Pitchforks Tour” through the Midwest, or his casual account of jamming with Buddy Guy, this drummer-turned-country-rock singer/songwriter has seemingly done it all.
But above all else, one thing is clear when listening to his adventures: Givens loves music.
Givens—also known as "The Bourbon Cowboy"—currently has his horse tied up in Falmouth while he eagerly awaits the release of his debut solo album, Bourbon Cowboy.
Born in Tennessee, Givens was not a typical Southern kid.
“I hated it,” Givens answered when asked about his affinity for country music. “I totally rebelled against the heritage, so I didn’t dig it at all.”
That rebellion led him straight out of Nashville in 1979 to play drums in numerous bands across the country. As times began to change, however, so did Givens’s outlook on his roots. He started including the guitar in his repertoire—and one fateful night he ultimately made the decision to fully embrace his country background.
“I’m in Chicago, watching my little TV,” he explained. “The country music awards were on. So, I started looking at the bands, not the singers, and when you’re looking at the bands [you notice] they’re all old rockers like me. And I’m like, ‘Old rockers don’t die, they just go to Nashville!’ ”
Bourbon Cowboy recorded at Skye Bleu Studios in Chicago, is a culmination of many things for Givens, who plays both guitar and drums on the album. But having been on the music circuit for so long, he knows better than to let success measure his value.
“I hope it’s successful, but if it’s not I don’t need that validation,” he said. “I already like what I do. I’ve known so many great players that will never get noticed and no one will ever hear from them, but they were terrific—brilliant—so you can’t get hung up on that validation.”
While the self-described “gypsy” is only on the Cape temporarily, Givens hinted that he is willing and able to jump up onstage for open mics; so keep a look out for him before he rides off into the sunset with one more story to tell.