Thursday, November 24, 2005

In Memory of Dax Johnson...

On the morning of November 23rd - just three days ago now - I found out that a very dear friend of mine, pianist Dax Johnson, had died. I have been grieving him ever since. You see, Dax was a very important person in my life. He influenced my music and career in so many ways. I loved him like a brother, and the two of us shared a special connection, something musical as well as emotional and even to a degree, spiritual.

Chances are, you, my reader, have no idea who Dax Johnson was. Well, I want to tell you about him. It's the least I can do, and probably the best thing I can do to honor him. So please, read on. If not for Dax, for me. Let me share a bit of him with you.

I first saw Dax around nine or ten years ago. He was playing an old out-of-tune upright piano at a street market in Portland, Oregon. I remember thinking to myself, "Who is this guy? He's amazing..."

And he truly was. He had an irresistible charisma. If you just stood there watching him play, you were drawn into him. His music was hypnotic, as was the way he moved at the piano. His body was constantly fluid, always moving, weaving, never stopping - riding the emotional wave of his very unique compositions. He was ONE with the instrument, like no one else I had seen before. And his "look" was also unusual for a piano player - he had long, straight black hair, an unshaven face, black street clothes and tattoos. You'd never guess he was a composer for solo piano. He looked far more "heavy metal" than "classical."

On that particular day in Portland, I watched him for awhile and then moved on. I didn't meet Dax that day. I never spoke to him. I was just one of the many people in the crowd, admiring him from a distance. As far as I knew, I'd never see him again.

Well, life is a funny thing...

About two years later, I received an email from Dax. At this point, I had no recollection of who he was and nothing in his email clued me in. He told me he was a fellow pianist based out of Spokane, WA, and that he was a HUGE fan of my music. He thought my CD, The Vigil (which was my newest at the time) was incredible. I thanked him, and told him I really appreciated receiving such a compliment from another piano player. Then he asked if he could send me his own CD to listen to. I said "Sure, go ahead," and a week or so later I received Merciful Dwelling in the mail.

Dax's CD grabbed me immediately. The things Dax did on that album were brave, bold and interesting. He took musical risks I never would never dream of taking on a solo piano album. One of the things that really struck me was that the album was imperfect. It wasn't studio polished - and it didn't matter. The music was RAW energy, pure EMOTION, VIBRANT and alive. Dax's piano music just wrenched at my heart. It was so sad - such painful music - and yet so extraordinarily beautiful. I was completely in love with the album.

I emailed Dax to tell him how much I enjoyed his music, and then he sent me back a link to an article the local paper did on him. The article included a picture of him playing on an old upright in the street (see the clipping at right). That was the moment I realized who I had been chatting with over email - it was that "heavy metal" piano player I saw in Portland a couple years before! I was completely startled by this. THIS guy loves MY piano music? I was taken aback because, by this time, I had an immense respect for him, not just as a pianist, but as an artist.

Dax's album, Merciful Dwelling, went on to become one of the single most important influences on my own piano music. No other pianist, aside from George Winston (who I credit with turning me on to the idea of composing for piano in the first place), has had more influence on my musical direction.

After that initial email exchange, Dax and I kept in touch somewhat irregularly by telephone. One day, Dax called me out of the blue to tell me he was coming through my home town and wanted to meet. And so, I invited him into my home. Dax and I hit it off immediately. It was like we had known each other for years, when in fact we had never actually met face to face. I played a new song for him on my piano (I remember playing Ludwig's Dream for him while he laid on the floor with his eyes closed just taking it in) and he played a song for me, one he said was influenced by my music. What an honor that was.

Dax then told me he wanted to introduce me to his brother, Maka, who was also his booking agent and manager at that time. Dax wanted to hook me up with him so we could perform together at some point. I thought it was a great idea, and I was quite taken with the idea of playing a concert with Dax. After more conversation, we said our good-byes, and Dax hit the road, heading for Hercules, California to play a house concert.

It was a couple of years after that before I saw Dax again, though we did speak on the phone several times. Eventually, our schedules worked out in such a way that we were able to perform together. All told, Dax and I played three concerts together, two in Portland and one in Vancouver, Washington. The Vancouver show, at "The Slocum House Theatre," was one of the most delightful times I ever had with Dax. The venue was quite small - about 60 seats or so - which is the style of venue I prefer. I remember the piano being really low to the ground - I had a hard time getting my knees under the keyboard! But what a night that was sharing the stage with Dax. And afterward, he and I had a very nice discussion about life, the universe, and everything.

Just prior to that concert, Dax and I shared time playing a "mall gig" to promote the show. Dax was simply amazing in a mall gig situation. You should have seen it. He would sit down at the piano (or two - sometimes he'd play TWO pianos at the same time - one with each hand), and start playing and within five minutes he'd have a huge crowd buying his CDs. He'd play for ten minutes, sell 20 or 30 CDs, and then take a 30 minute break. It was quite the spectacle, and I was constantly amazed at the natural CHARISMA he had. Something about him appealed to almost everyone. When you combined that with his look, the music, his emotive performance and the unusual things he would do at the piano (playing two of them at a time, muting the piano strings with mallets, and even playing the strings with guitar picks), he just seemed unstoppable. He definitely had the "it" factor. I have never met another pianist who could, simply by sitting down and playing, sell as many CDs as Dax did in such a short period of time.

Over the years, Dax and I became very good friends. I would encourage him, pray for him and with him, and just listen to whatever was going in his head. Dax shared with me many of his thoughts and inner struggles. He seemed to dwell very much on his imperfections, which he was all too painfully aware of. As much as those shortcomings bothered him, he also felt, very strongly, that they were what made him who he was as an artist. We talked about that once, in great detail - how the pain in his life shaped his music and how that pain led him to the piano in the first place. He commented to me that his music was a reflection of his state of mind, that his music was, essentially, "The Mind of Dax." Dax was always at battle with himself, and while those battles kept him on the edge of an emotional precipice, they also inspired great art.

The last time I saw Dax was the fall of 2004. We played a concert together in Portland and he was stunning, as usual. After that, he disappeared - his phone number disconnected. I received an email from him a few months later letting me know that he was in LA recording a new album. That was back in in April of 2005. I responded to him, but never heard back. That was, sadly, the last time I ever heard from him.

Two weeks ago I met up with his brother, Maka, and found out that Dax wasn't doing well at all. He had been living in the streets of LA. I felt an urgency to pray for him, and did so. But less than two weeks later - just three days ago now - Dax had died. He was only thirty years old.

It is such a tragedy. Dax was unique. Truly, one of a kind. He was a man with a big heart, deep thoughts and amazing music. He was always in turmoil, emotionally and spiritually, but those things never really fazed me. I cared for Dax deeply. I felt more connected to Dax than I do most people. I can't explain why, only that I loved him like a brother. Our souls understood each other, somehow. I think that is part of the reason that time and again he kept coming back to our friendship. It was something solid and sure in his drifting, uncertain world.

Dax had such a monumental impact on my music and career. He introduced Kathy Parsons (who writes for Wind and Wire magazine as well as Solo Piano Publications) to my music, who has since become one of the central figures in my career as a pianist. His album, Merciful Dwelling, got me excited about being a pianist and composer again, and inspired new music in me - much of my latest CD Overcome has traces of his influence. The song When the Hard Rains Come on that album is very specifically dedicated to him. Dax, through his example, taught me how play for an audience and entertain them. Dax introduced me to his brother, who got me many of the gigs I still play today. In fact, I'm playing one of those this weekend. Dax's influence can be seen all over my life as a pianist.

Dax, I will miss you. On this "Happy Thanksgiving" weekend, I am so, incredibly grateful for having known you. I only wish, oh HOW I WISH, that I would have been able to somehow speak to you during these last couple of weeks. I cannot help but to feel that I could have made a difference. That today would just be another day and you'd still be playing your incredible music and amazing audiences.

Oh, Dax, my dear friend. My brother. Rest in Peace. You left us all much too soon.

Dax Johnson, March 29th, 1975 - November 23rd, 2005.

For more information on Dax Johnson, visit his web site, . You can hear his music there, as well.


David Nevue

The follow up to this post, "In Memory of Dax Johnson, Part 2" is now available.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

The Portland "Winter" Concert...

I just got back from a really nice concert in Portland, Oregon over the weekend. The show went very well and we had a bigger crowd than I anticipated, which is always a pleasant surprise.

The concert was at Sherman Clay Piano's, which is one of my favorite venues to play at. I love the concert room they have there. It's just such a relaxing, warm space, and the concert lighting is always perfect to set the mood. Plus, the pianos they provide for me are always top notch. This time was no exception, as they provided a beautiful, brand new, Steinway.

Here are a couple photos from the show...

The set list went as planned, for the most part. Here is what I played

The Vigil
A Midnight Rain
While the Trees Sleep
Racing the Northern Lights
Big Snow in Salzburg
One Night at Mozart's


Winter Walk (first ever concert performance of this song)
A Delicate Joy (first concert performance of an unreleased song)
How Great Thou Art (first concert performance of an unreleased song)
Sweet Dreams and Starlight
O Come Emmanuel
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

All told, the show went about an hour and 45 minutes.

Now I start into the thick of my holiday schedule. This Friday, Saturday and Sunday I'm playing fifteen hours at Valley River Center, the local mall here in Eugene.

And then starts the December mall shows. I'm looking forward to them.


David Nevue


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Saturday, November 19, 2005

The NEW Last Waking Moment CD Cover...

Happy Saturday!

One of the tasks I've taken on over the last year is to begin reworking some of my older CD covers. With the first three albums, especially, I was never totally happy with the art design. These days, however, I have a terrific art designer who makes my albums look amazing.

Anyway, we redid the art design for "While the Trees Sleep" last summer, and we are finishing up the redesign for my third album, "The Last Waking Moment" right now.

If you go to the link above for The Last Waking Moment, you'll see the old cover. It's not too bad, but it's really dated. The computer rendered imagery looks, well, pretty yucky by today's standards.

I wanted a new cover that had the same "look" in terms of the colors, but that meets with the design standards that I've grown used to from my current designer.

Without further adieu...

Here's the new cover:

I absolutely love it. I think it coveys so much better the album concept as well. The music, you see, tells the story of a lucid dream that my wife had. It took place in a beautiful emerald valley, which will be featured on inside panels.

Like the new design? Post a reply and let me know.

It will be so nice to get this album looking up to snuff. Finally, I can show it off and be proud of it.

After this one is done, we start work on redesigning the cover work for FIRST CD, The Tower. The current artwork is just TERRIBLE. It's an embarrassment. So much so that I don't even bring it to gigs with me to sell. I was totally unhappy with that design and I paid way too much for it. UGH.

David Nevue

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

I Turned 40 Today...

... or as I keep telling my son, Nathan, I'm not 40, I'm $39.95. :)

It's so hard to believe I've hit the big 4 - 0H. Twenty seems like just yesterday. Every year passes faster and faster and faster and faster.

What really makes me so aware of this is just watching my kids grow up. As a parent, you have to really MAKE THE EFFORT to spend quality time with your kids, because if you just let life happen and let the busy-ness overtake you, it would be so easy to just turn around and they're all grown up.

Every day with my kids is so precious. I am so thankful now that I'm doing music full-time and not working a second job on top of that like it used to be. What a blessing to be home and around my kids all day. At least while I work, I can see them smile and hear them laugh.

David Nevue

Coming Soon to iTunes: Overcome & Sweet Dreams

Great News!

After what seems like months of waiting, the Harry Fox Agency has finally created a way for independent artists like myself to license cover tunes online for use on iTunes, Rhapsody, Napster and and all the other digital music stores.

What this means is that I can now, finally, release my most recent CDs, Overcome and Sweet Dreams & Starlight, to the digital music stores. Cover tunes on both albums had been holding that process up.

I have been just chomping at the bit for months to get these two albums out there into the digital world so people can start buying and downloading the music. I believe these two albums, in particular, will do very well for me.

The release digital process, once instigated, takes anywhere from a couple weeks to a several months (iTunes takes a loooong time!). Keep an eye on my web site at for updates as to when and where downloads will be available for sale.

So here's to the HFA! Cheers!

David Nevue

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

The Nov. 19th "Winter" Concert

On November 19th, I'll be playing my "winter" concert at Sherman Clay piano up in Portland, Oregon. I'm really excited about this show - more than usual - for this time I'll be playing a number of songs I don't usually play in a concert setting. So this set list feels "new and refreshing" for me.

Here's my planned set list...

The Vigil
A Midnight Rain*
While the Trees Sleep
Racing the Northern Lights*
Big Snow in Salzburg

Winter Walk*
When the Hard Rains Come* (tentative)
A Delicate Joy* (first concert performance of unreleased song)
Sweet Dreams and Starlight
O Come Emmanuel*
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen*

In Hope of Spring* (Encore)

All the songs with asterisks are deviation from my normal "concert" routine. More than half the set are songs I don't usually perform in a concert setting.

So why am I doing it different than usual? Well, in part it's because it is the "Winter" show and so that's the theme I'm going for. So I'm pulling out some older tunes and some that aren't quite as popular to fit the bill accordingly.

And then of course, there are the Christmas-y tunes, which I don't normally perform unless it's the holidays. Anyway, this is going to be a great show. I think the fact that I'm playing material that's not in my normal routine will really get me jazzed up for it.

If you're in the Portland area, I invite you to come down for the show. You won't regret it.


David Nevue

Monday, November 07, 2005

An Unexpected Treat...

I had a really unexpected treat this weekend....

I got a call on Saturday afternoon from one of my old booking agents - his name is Maka. He's no longer my booking agent as he left the music business for awhile for personal reasons.

Anyway, he also used to work with another pianist named William Joseph. Well, as it turns out, William is now on tour with Clay Aiken as the opening act, and he asked Maka to return to work for him to help with security, selling CDs and crowd management. So, my old friend Maka is currently assisting on Clay's 40 city Christmas tour, "A Joyful Noise."

I didn't know all this until Saturday afternoon, when Maka gave me a call out of the blue. You see, Clay Aiken played here in my home town Saturday night - and Maka had some free tickets for me if I wanted them. Well, of course I wanted them!

My wife and I managed to get some quick child care (thanks to "grandma" and we headed to the concert just four hours later. We got their, picked up our tickets at will call, and found out they were front row seats!

So we had a very pleasant "holiday" evening at Clay's concert. And William Joseph was fantastic as well.


David Nevue

Notes from the Piano - Nov. 2005

Hi Everyone,

Here's my latest newsletter, edited somewhat for content. It just
went out yesterday. If you'd like to subscribe, go to

Notes from the Piano of David Nevue
November 2005


E-News for friends and fans of pianist David Nevue


- MORE SHEET MUSIC in November
- WHISPERINGS: Solo Piano Radio


Hi Everyone!

I hope you are all doing well. I have much to cover in this
newsletter, including concert appearances for the holidays. I'm
now booking concerts for 2006 and would like your help setting up
a concert schedule in about a dozen states across the U.S. for
next year. More on that in a moment.

First and foremost, I want to thank a few people who made my last
few concert stops in the midwest such a big success. Pulling
together a concert, whether it be a house concert or a formal
event, is a TON of work. So my heartfelt thanks goes out to...

Philip and Elizabeth Wesley of St. Louis, MO
Jerry and Dawn Higgs of East Moline, IL
Jackie Van Ahn and Kathy Bilbrey of Des Moines, IA
and John and Catherine Mockler and family of Dubuque, IA

My last tour of the midwest was wonderful, thanks in part to each
and every one of you. I thank you all for your kindness and
support for my music.

ALSO, I need to call special attention to someone else - Pam
Asberry of Dacula, GA. Pam is a piano teacher who put together a
concert and workshop for me in the Atlanta, GA area last
September. She spent MONTHS helping her students learn my music
in preparation for the workshop, and then on top of that, she
brought nearly 100 people to the concert! It was an extraordinary
effort and she went to an awful lot of work. So Pam, thank you
very much. If any of you out there in the Atlanta, area need a
piano teacher, well I can certainly recommend one!



On November 19th, at 7:00 pm I'm playing a FREE CONCERT at
Sherman Clay Piano in PORTLAND, OR. It's open to anyone and
everyone, and if you're in the area, I'd really love to see you
there. The address is 131 NW 13th Ave., Portland, OR 97209.
You'll find directions and a map at . Please e-mail
me at and let me know if you plan on
attending so I can get a head count. Thanks!

Also in November....

EUGENE, OR, November 11th, 5:30-7:00pm
I will be playing a silent-auction fundraiser for Willamette
Christian School in Eugene. The address is 2500 W. 18th Ave.,
Eugene, OR 97402. Call Diana at the school at 686-8655 for
information on that.

EUGENE, OR, November 20th
I'll be playing from 6-9pm at the "Festival of Giving" at Valley
River Center in Eugene.

I'll be playing at Valley River Center from...
11am-4pm on Friday, the 25th
11am-4pm on Saturday, the 26th
1pm-5pm on Sunday, the 27th.

In December I have a bunch of dates set for Valley River Center
as well. See for a
complete list.



My friend and fellow pianist David Lanz has asked me to help him
let folks in the Seattle area know about his upcoming
concert/workshop this Saturday, November 5th at 7:00 at Washburn
Piano. If you haven't seen David play, it's a real treat,
especially in such an intimate environment! Don't miss this show.
Tickets are $13 for Adults, $8 for piano students if you register
online (a couple bucks more at the door). More details


BOOKING NOW for 2006....

I'm ACTIVELY BOOKING piano concerts for northern California,
Texas, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Georgia, Missouri, Alabama,
Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin in 2006. I MIGHT be booking
concerts for Michigan, Indiana and Ohio as well.

If you live in any of these states (or nearby), and would like to
help put together a concert, please get in touch with me. I would
LOVE the chance to come and play a concert for your
church, event, benefit, or even a HOUSE CONCERT if you have a
decent piano. Imagine how great it would be to invite all your
family and friends for an intimate piano concert at your home!

For details on what's involved, email me at

Here's where I plan to be (as of now) and when...

CALIFORNIA in March, 2006: I'm doing a concert in Vacaville, CA
on March 18th and would like to book others shows around that
weekend. If you live in the northern half of California and are
interested in the possibility of having me come to play your
church, event, benefit, or even a concert at your house, let me

TEXAS in May, 2006: I would like to put together a tour of the
great state of TEXAS for May. I need YOUR HELP to make this
happen. If you'd like to arrange to have me come play for your
church, event, or even a house concert anywhere in TEXAS, contact
me right away. I'm hoping to book four or five concerts across
the state.

OREGON, WASHINGTON and IDAHO, June-August 2006: I'd like to book
three mini-tours throughout Oregon, Washington and Idaho for the
summer. Interested? Contact me at

MISSISSIPPI, GEORGIA and ALABAMA, September 2006: I have concerts
scheduled in MISSISSIPPI and GEORGIA centering around September
7th-10th. I would like to book other shows around these dates in
these states and possibly ALABAMA. If you would like to book a
concert in one of these states, let me know ASAP.

MICHIGAN, INDIANA and OHIO, Late September 2006: This is still
very tentative, but if you'd like to start working on some
concert possibilities, let me know. At the very least, I'll know
you're out there and interested.

IOWA, WISCONSIN and MINNESOTA, October 2006: I am looking at a
possible return concert in Dubuque, IOWA in early October. Along
with that, I would like to book concerts in WISCONSIN as well as
MINNESOTA while I'm nearby.

Again, let me know if you're in these areas and interested in
setting up a concert. Just email me at

If you live ELSEWHERE, but you'd really like to have me put on a
concert for you, please still feel free to contact me. We'll see
what we can possibly fit into the calendar.


A lot of folks have been contacting me wondering when more sheet
music will be available. Soon, I hope! I am very sorry for the
delay in getting more out. With all the traveling I've been
doing, it's been difficult to get more done. The process of
getting a new song out there as sheet music is much more involved
that you might think it would be.

Anyway, I'm hoping to have at least three Christmas tunes from my
CD "O Come Emmanuel" out by the end of this month. We'll see if I
make it! After that, I hope to put out about dozen more songs in
2006. I'm going to make every effort to do that.

Are there any particular songs you'd like to vote for? Let me
know. Cast your vote be sending an email with your sheet music
request to me at



With the holidays coming up, please consider purchasing some of
my CDs for friends and family as gifts. I would very much
appreciate your support.

Also, right now, I'm offering an....


I just manufactured another 1000 copies of my second album,
"While the Trees Sleep". The trouble is, I need to quickly sell a
few hundred to make room for other stock coming in (most notably,
more Christmas CDs!).

So I'm selling "While the Trees Sleep" for $5 for a limited time.
Buy as many as you want - give them out as gifts for co-workers,
friends, family, even your friendly neighborhood postal worker!
This offer is ONLY available from my web site. You can make this
very special purchase from



My CD "Overcome" hit ..2 on the New Age Reporter charts last
month. New Age Reporter is the "Billboard"-style magazine that
covers and charts radio play for acoustic, world, folk, ambient
and "new age" style music. This simply means that among radio
stations that play these styles of music, "Overcome" hit the ..2
most played spot. Cool, huh?

I'm still busy at work on my TENTH album, tentatively called
"Hymns." I hope to release that by the end of summer. The
ELEVENTH album, containing mostly original music, will be
released less than a year after that.

Professional photographers have been taking a great interest in
my music of late. Several are using it on their web sites. One of
the most recent is Tobi Bos Photography. See the web site, and
hear the music, at . I'm going
to be catering my music more to this market over the next few


As you spend your eight to ten hours at "work" during the day,
tune into Whisperings: Solo Piano Radio. The broadcast is a huge
hit! We have over 120,000 people a month tuning in now, making it
one of the most popular broadcasts on the Internet. At Live365,
which is the Internet's largest hosted radio network, we are in
the top ten most popular stations for ALL music genre's!

If you have a fast Internet connection, you can tune in anytime.
The broadcast is commercial and ad-free! Just point your browser
to and click on "Listen Now."


That's it for this time. If you have any questions about
anything, just email me at

David Nevue

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

A New Blogging Place...

For those of you on, or who would like to "subscribe" to my Blog, I'm going to be duplicating this at .



Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Wow, It's Been a While!

I've been bad, bad, bad about updating my blog of late. It's been since late July! Argh! Time moves by so quickly.

Anyway, I got so busy with performances and traveling for a couple months there that I simply couldn't justify the time to update this. But I'm back, and hope to be updating this regularly once again.

For my regular readers, if you're still out there and haven't given up on me, I apologize.

I'm back!