Between the meaningful lyrics, the heartfelt storytelling and the familiar twang we all love Illinois native David Quinn is country music. Quinn calls his corner of the genre "Black Dirt Country” to distinguish himself from part of the Midwest north of the land of Red Dirt scene. His vocals, which are somehow both smooth and gritty, remind you of the common blue collar midwestern and sound like they belong to a man who's no stranger to moving on. One listen to David's new album "Country Fresh" and you can see what I am talking about. The effortless ease that graces your ear makes you feel that you are in fact in the middle of nowhere Midwest USA. Not afraid to blaze his own trail, David Quinn is making a name for himself in country music and not looking back.
What country music have you been loving these days?
I listen to a lot of seventies country stuff. John Anderson, Willie Nelson, Waylon, Merle all that kind of stuff. John Prine is a huge influence for me, his music and the fact that he is from Illinois like me! I tend to lean more old school when it comes to country.
Did you find country music, or did country music find you?
I grew up playing drums. I played drums most of my life. I remember I first heard John Prine at a super young age. My dad used to play a lot of music around the house like Willie Nelson and other music like that. But once I heard John Prine, it all kind of changed for me. I found somebody that had music with a little bit of a twang in it. Plus, knowing that he was from kind of where I was from, really changed things for me. I started writing songs super early. However, I didn't sing any of my songs for a long time. I identified with country music with music right away, it was the first thing I ever really loved. I was really young, maybe first or second grade when I really fell in love. So I guess you can say it found me!
If you had to describe your style of country music to a new listener, how would you describe it?
I've been saying the, the phrase “Black Dirt Country” for my music. Oklahoma has the “Red Dirt Country” and a lot of other regions have their thing. For me, I’m influenced by so many different things. I love Southern rock. I love bluegrass. I love all the different types of country music, from country western, to more of a Texas country. I think it's a good representative of Midwest country music. Thats how I would describe my sound.
What has been your favorite part about being a part of the country music community here in Chicago?
I think the best part is meeting really good people and like minded people. The guys in South City Revival have become good friends of mine, they always help me out. I help them out whenever I can too. I've played with many different kinds of people in Chicago. I've played with some of the rocker roll people and I've played with the country bands. I've played with a little bit everybody. There is such a strong sense of community here in the music community in Chicago!
During the pandemic, you moved from Chicago to Indiana. How do you feel like moving from a very urban area to a very rural area has influenced your music?
The move influenced my music so much. Honestly, it is exactly where the new record Country Fresh came from. I was in the city for a couple years, but I've never really been a big city person. I grew up about 50 miles west of Chicago. I was really in the city because my band was there, and I had so many gigs in town.
During the pandemic, finally being able to step away, it was such a release. I was kind of able to like let go a little bit kind of remind a of me of how much I love the Midwest. That's really where Country Fresh was kind of born, just being out here in the middle of nowhere. I was helping out on a farm, riding horses and doing all the stuff I love to do. It was so re-energizing and it really reminded me of how proud I am to be from Midwest and why I wanted to needed to make this record. Because of that, the new record came together so quickly!
What does Country Fresh represent?
Country Fresh to me is Midwest country. It's like all this stuff. It is all the things I like about country music, all mixed up. From bluegrass, southern rock, western country, its a little piece of all of it.
I was recording my last record down in Nashville. I found a this really old ashtray in like the corner of the studio. It was yellow and it said “Country Fresh: on it. My jaw dropped, I couldn't believe it. It truly was the coolest thing ever. I started using that a phrase for anything I liked. Whether it’s good food, good music or just a good summer night. That’s “country fresh.”
I started adding in my vocabulary and then it really stuck with me! I had it written down on my notebook that I write songs in. The phrase was the perfect thing to encapsulate moving out to Indiana, getting back to Midwestern roots.
How do you feel like Country Fresh represents your growth as a songwriter?
I think it's a step forward for sure. What's funny is these songs are a lot about all the things that I love as opposed to the last couple records, there are a lot of songs about leaving. I've written so many songs like that because I’m never in the same place for too long. It's kind of a weird position where I'm somewhere that I love and I don't wanna move now. I don't want to go anywhere. I love it here.
I was able to kind of shift and write about the things that I like in life. I love like the everyday kind of things which really was such a different perspective for me and something I was really happy to do.
How do you define country music?
I think it's like simple songs for simple people. Songs about everyday life and what comes with that. That's what country music's always been about for me. It’s the heartache, hopelessness, hope, hopefulness and joy we find in the simplest ways.