Deep-thinking David Wilcox underlines life's issues with his folksie acoustic-guitar sound.
David Wilcox writes songs that make people take notice -- songs with distinct musicality and emotion-stirring lyrics.
Friday night at Liberty Hall, this deep-thinking artist will perform songs that encompass the way Americans live.
Wilcox comes to Lawrence after the release of "Underneath," his eighth CD.
"I would like 'Underneath' to be the soundtrack of people's lives -- a turning point of issues," he said. "It has to be something that when you put it in somebody's life, it makes their life better. It gives them a source of hope."
The folk-pop artist says the term "folk" doesn't adequately describe his music.
"The songs are honest, intense and personal," he said.
Wilcox has devoted his career to writing songs that encompass introspection, reflection and hope. However, from time to time, he enjoys pondering subjects as diverse as "boob jobs" and washing blue jeans.
"Music, like everything you do, must have meaning. Sometimes it's fun, but there must always be meaning," he said.
Wilcox is not formally training in music. Instead, by following the pole of his heart, he found motivation.
"My real inspiration for getting into this business was when I was boy," he explained. "I heard a pop song playing from a small radio one day on the street. It stopped me in my tracks. The song flowed through me. My mom and I searched for that recording; unfortunately we never found it."
Since then, Wilcox has stopped searching for that obscure pop song and instead is searching for that special emotion that came to him. Although much of the work Wilcox does is in the studio, touring and live performance represent the greatest thrills of his work.
"I have a veracious appetite for music. It changes from day to day, but live music stirs me more than anything I do," he said. "It can be difficult to balance music and a family. If I could, I would spend all my time with both."
Wilcox considers himself a family man and now lives in Columbia, Md., which he calls the "cul-de-sac capital of the world." It is a brief stay while his wife finishes acupuncture school. Then, it will be back to his native roots of North Carolina.
Wilcox has been on his U.S. tour for the past month, which stops in primarily large-scale venues of cities like San Francisco, Minneapolis and St. Louis.
So why play in Lawrence and not Kansas City?
"I have very fond memories of Lawrence," he said. "I performed there several years ago, and I am looking forward to returning to a small setting."
Accompanying Wilcox on his tour are some stellar musicians. Alison Krauss provides backup vocals and viola harmonies. Jennifer Kimbal provides back-up vocals on several songs. Victor Wooten (bassist for Bela Fleck) and Steuart Smith are accompanying musicians.
"The real instrument I use isn't the guitar or the voice, it is the emotions of the music," Wilcox said. "I pick up on what the audience is ready for emotionally, and I stretch them.
"My music stirs things up. It wakes up the heart of the audience, and they come away with their shoulders raised."
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MUSIC FOR THE WAY WE LIVE
What: David Wilcox, acoustic pop-folk artist.
When: 8 p.m. Friday.
Where: Liberty Hall, 644 Mass.
Tickets: Call 749-1972.