Out now: Wistfully Yours: Deluxe Edition!
On March 5, I released a 37-track deluxe edition of Wistfully Yours! Of course, you'll be able to stream it everywhere online and also purchase it in physical form. Once again, proceeds from the album are going to the Humboldt Park Chapter of Food Not Bombs. https://smarturl.it/rcut0x
"So, the spirit of John Prine and Bob Dylan are whisked away to another dimension, and it returns as the songs of Bob Davoli. Over the last decade, I've listened to Mr. Davoli's music mature into a fine edged knife of clear, soul touching expression. His commitment to becoming a current musical force has been a delight to watch. Bob is, by any standard, the real thing. Showcased by exceptional recording and production, his first collection soars. Nice to know that someone is committed to getting it right. "
“Songs like the deeply personal ‘Transistor Radio and Me,’ which was selected as a finalist in the 21st Annual Great American Song Contest, showcases Davoli’s talent as a writer… Davoli’s descriptive lyrics and vulnerable storytelling leave an impression with listeners.”
January 15, 2021
"['Don't You Let the Darkness Drag You Down'] flows with the gentle breeze of wisdom. It’s all grace, with no snarls."
November 30, 2020
“There is no doubt that a lot of thought went into each word of this song [‘Transistor Radio and Me’], and all the others on Wistfully Yours.”
January 19, 2021
“Davoli has spent the last seven decades preparing for this album debut…an empathic and fully evolved artist…songs like ‘Transistor Radio and Me’ and ‘What I Remember Most’ run the emotional spectrum, from personal trauma to enduring love. Prepare to open your heart and feel. (8 out of 10)”
February 24, 2021
All proceeds from the sales of Wistfully Yours will be donated to the Chicago Food Not Bombs, Humboldt Park Chapter. The mission of Food Not Bombs is to recover and share free vegan or vegetarian food with the public, without restriction to protest war, poverty, and the destruction of the environment. There are approximately 1,000 Food Not Bombs chapters worldwide. You can find more information on their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/fnbhumboldtpark/, or make a direct donation via Venmo @foodnotbombshumboldtpark.
With the deft touch of a finger-style guitarist and the heart of a ballad folk singer, Bob Davoli has taken and distilled seven decades of experiences to make this beautiful, remarkable, and very personal debut album, Wistfully Yours.
At 72, Davoli acknowledges that mortality is a theme that runs through Wistfully Yours, yet there’s far more range to this collection of songs. One hears longing, sadness, and regret, but also devotion, love, and perhaps most importantly, hope. His voice is weathered, it’s genuine, and the soul of his songwriting clearly comes across, backed up with supportive musicians who value a thoughtful, collaborative approach.
Remembering the first time he listened to Wistfully Yours in its entirety at his home in Truro, Massachusetts, Davoli recalls, “When I sat down and put the headphones on, these weren’t just songs to me, they were a lifetime – they were the story of my life.”
Davoli grew up inspired by Bob Dylan and considers himself a child of the ‘60s – one who went to Woodstock and later marched on Washington. He harbored ambitions of becoming a folk singer himself and picked up an acoustic guitar at 22, because his college roommate had one. By 29, however, he’d put it away as family and career became a priority.
It would be nearly three decades before he wrote his first song, just a few months before his 59th birthday. His wife, political scientist and author Eileen McDonagh, was traveling for a conference, and Davoli was home alone, listening to a Peggy Lee album. Inspired, he composed “Miss Peggy Lee Sings the Blues,” which appears on Wistfully Yours.
From that moment in 2007 until now, Davoli has written more than 50 songs, with plans already in place to keep recording. Prior to embarking on songwriting, he’d also taken guitar lessons from country blues icon Paul Rishell, and those musical influences shape Wistfully Yours just as much as pop, jazz and folk.
“I was a little bit nervous and scared about making a record, and had a little bit of insecurity, but anyway, I did it and I’m really glad I did. I really wanted to get my voice, my songs, out there,” Davoli says. “I had to do it for my sanity, in some ways, for my soul. There was something like a hole in my heart.”
To listen to Wistfully Yours is to discover an unexpected side of Davoli’s life. Professionally he’s had an astoundingly successful career in venture capital, and even appeared on the cover of Business Week in 2000. He’s been a founder and CEO of a software company, CEO of another software company, and landed on Forbes' The Midas List five times in past years. Plus he sits on 14 boards, manages 30 investments, and oversees with his wife, Eileen, the Red Elm Tree Foundation, a charitable organization that grants funds for land conservation, social justice, women’s rights, health care, and the arts. He’s donating all proceeds of this album to the organization Food Not Bombs.
These two passions – venture capital and songwriting – are more similar than one might think. Consider a financial portfolio: Each company represents an individual story, with its own idiosyncrasies and personalities, and its own creative goal. What’s more, all individuals in the company work together as a group. The same can be said for Wistfully Yours. Its songs serve as glimpses of Davoli’s life, and as a unit, they provide a portrait of him as an artist and as a person confronting the human condition as we all must do.
“I hope that some people can heal when they hear this album,” he says. “If they’ve had lost love or bad childhoods, I hope that they can find solace in my music.”
Davoli wrote one of the album’s most eloquent tracks, “Don’t You Let the Darkness Drag You Down” after hearing the phrase in the 2010 film, Beginners. He says, “It’s about longing -- even though you’ve been beaten down, there’s still that hope. It’s one of my best lyrics when I say, ‘I would be so happy just to be so sad with you.’ And the very idea is, ‘No, I don’t want to be free, I still want you to love me.’ It says it all.”
Meanwhile, “Even Though Autumn’s in Your Eyes” came to fruition after he was gazing at wind chimes on a still summer night at home and thinking, “Silent wind chimes always make me cry.” Davoli notes, “It’s one of those songs about getting old, but still not letting it get you down. I write a lot of songs about that.”
Perhaps the most intense song on Wistfully Yours is “Transistor Radio and Me,” which recounts his abusive childhood in precise detail. “My father was battered as a child, so he did that to his kids,” Davoli says. “I used to escape, so I had a treehouse and a snow fort. It is purely autobiographical, and there’s hope in the chorus. In some ways, if I hadn’t had a bad childhood – if you want to look at the positive side – I wouldn’t have been able to write these songs. It’s cathartic, it’s sad, but I got through it, and I hope so can others.”
In addition, the stream-of-consciousness writing that intrigued him as a young Dylan fan finds its way into his own songs, such as “Midnight Sun Tattoo.” He cites a classic Alfred Hitchcock film as the inspiration for “Rear Window Waltz,” where two strangers engage in a virtual love affair, as they’ve been too hurt in life to establish a physical relationship. In contrast, “What I Remember Most” is a tender ode to his wife, whom he’s been with for 44 years. Finally, his fondness for the blues informs “Huge Swig of the Now” as well as a cover of Charley Patton’s “Some These Days I’ll Be Gone” that closes the album.
Throughout Wistfully Yours, Davoli writes and sings from the philosophical perspective of a man who lives very much in the moment, but at the same time often reflects on his past, and the lifetime of decisions that ultimately led him to this place.
“I think it’s interesting that you can have the present feelings, but then you can harken back to another time, and connect the two,” he concludes. “That connection is the important part.”