What can I say about Gov that hasn't already been said?
He was my bandmate, a mentor, a Bluesicologist from the Southside of Chicago, a guitarist, a vocalist, and the consumate frontman. But most of all he was my friend that I loved like the older brother he was.
No matter the mood or how he physically felt coming to the show, when that downbeat hit Gov was ON.
There was never a doubt in anyones mind that he was there to bring you the Blues and "Dont Forget to Boogie"
And, oh yeah, his somewhat tongue in cheek demand of " Where's My Ribs?!?"
He was EVERYBODY'S biggest cheerleader. He loved everyone and in return everyone loved him. Ive seen him in action cheering someone up that was feeling down. I often thought I'd like a pat on the back or some cheerleading myself but I honestly would just feel better in his presence.
At some point we both knew that our job for each other was the same as the definition I like to use for the music of "The Blues": Its music to make you feel good about feeling bad. And that's what Gov would do to all around him. Before he even hit that first guitar chord, he was making you feel good about feeling bad. He made you feel like Governor Davis and The Blues Ambassadors were here to play a show PERSONALLY for you. How you can do that to each person in the audience is beyond me or my capabilities but Gov could do it. If he didn't make you feel welcome and at home before the show he did it DURING the show with one of his many trips OFF the stage playing his guitar wirelessly and strolling thru the crowd.
I wasn't always a Blues Ambassador. I was, once upon a time, one of those in the audience that would watch in amazement on how and why everybody loved this band. You weren't necessarily going to learn any cool new guitar chord or lick.
Although I did learn plenty watching my big bro Jose Hoven and Ron Coffman hold the groove and keep the ship on course while Gov would dance thru the crowds and Steve Robbins displayed his Blues licks.
Gov was magnetic. You never took your eyes off of him.(Even though I did my best to get noticed) He might start playing his guitar with his teeth at any moment!
Governor was one giant personality. And it wasnt some persona he made up for the stage. If you saw him off the stage he was the same. We taught at the same music store and people he would meet there would be greeted and let known that they were in the right place at the right time. It felt like SOMETHING was about to happen. It might have been "just" a lesson but I took from Gov something I tried to teach in mine: I may not be able to teach you EVERYTHING about music but I can show how I do it.
When you witnessed Gov playing guitar you didn't think Stevie Ray Vaughan or Steve Vai. What you experienced was a man in love with bringing you his music and his guitar was an extension of his expression. Some people need entire books or sonnets or poems to let you know how they feel. Governor, like the Blues, is going to let you know with a sparse amount of notes.
When you compare The Blues to Jazz or anything else, its all about conveying thoughts and emotion with the least amount of words. The least amount of notes. Gov knew that. Capitalized on it. if his words were "Im feeling down" he would say it with his guitar with his "signature lick" and be able to say it in any and every song. I can't convey how the notes sound here but just imagine saying "Im feeling down" in a sad voice, an angry voice, and happy voice. Actors need that ability. Singers need that ability. Musicians need that ability. Governor had that ability.
It was always our goal to make people feel good about The Blues by the end of our shows.
Mission accomplished Governor Davis. You have made me and countless others feel good about the Blues.
We will always want our ribs with sauce on the side and we will not forget to Boogie. But sadly, we have ALL been shorted by this last deal.
I am proud to be and have been a Blues Ambassador and will honorably hold up to my duties by your example.
It has been my honor and a privilege to have you as my brother and my friend.
Many thanks to my brothers Steve Robbins, Ron Coffman, and Jose Hoven. And also Madam Speaker of The House, Jan Kline-Robbins for electing me to Ambassadorship.