David Eugene Edwards of Wovenhand on the influence of Middle Eastern music
Mark Holthusen David Eugene Edwards
Wovenhand (due at The Marquis Theater tomorrow night with Git Some) is the current musical project of David Eugene Edwards. In his early bands, Bloodflower and The Denver Gentlemen, Edwards was developing an aesthetic that some consider synonymous with all the significant music to have come out of Denver.
But really, Edwards' ideas about music just gelled into a sound that embraced traditional American music while infusing it with an air of hazy mystery and raw emotional intensity when he formed 16 Horsepower in the early 1990s. That band helped to put Denver underground music on the map as the act quickly signed to A&M records, which released its debut EP and two subsequent albums.
Horsepower's immediacy and musical intimacy struck an immediate chord with audiences in Denver and further afield, to the point where the band enjoyed great popularity in parts of Europe. Equal parts folk and country but informed by the darkness of post-punk and the more haunting end of the blues, 16 Horsepower was an arresting live band. In the early part of the past decade, the band split, and Edwards formed Wovenhand, sometimes performing without accompaniment but often with side players to help flesh out the next phase of his songwriting.
The band's latest album, Threshingfloor, reflects Edwards' long-standing interest in the folk music of people across the world. But in a way that shows a genuine respect for those sounds rather than a clumsy attempt to hash together popular music with the types of songs that have endured hundreds of years.
We had the rare fortune to speak with Edwards at length about his musical interests, his history, his perspective on cultural tourism, some of his influences, the Wovenhand tour with Tool and what motivates him to take the approach to songwriting that he does.
Westword: Last year you attended the Huun Huur Tu show at Swallow Hill. How did you become familiar with their work, and what first got you interested in traditional non-western music? Or folk music outside of America in general?
David Eugene Edwards: I can't remember, to be honest with you, where I first heard them. More than likely, I heard them on some sort of radio show or something. I don't know where I would have been. It could have been online or...I don't know. I've always listened to traditional music ever since I was a young teenager.
At first I was mainly interested in American music -- bluegrass or mountain music and Native American music. You start listening to that, and it takes you in a lot of different directions. It takes you to Scandinavia, Germany, you know wherever the people are and the influence that they bring to American culture. That's how I discovered it all.
So you traced the lineage of the American traditional music you first got into?