New London show

Tuning in with guitarist David Wilcox

Special to the Union Leader
November 02. 2017 7:21AM
With a unique open-tuning style of guitar work, singer and songwriter David Wilcox has released 18 albums over the past 20 years. 

Veteran folk singer/songwriter David Wilcox has a stranger to thank for getting him interested in learning how to play guitar.

It was 1976, and Wilcox, then 18, was at his first semester at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio.

“There was a woman playing Joni Mitchell songs in the stairwell at the end of the dorm,” Wilcox recalled. “She was playing the guitar in open tunings, and it captured my heart.”

Tonight, Wilcox will bring his compelling lyrics and engaging folk-rock style to the Flying Goose Tavern, 40 Andover Road, New London.

Wilcox released his debut album, “The Nightshift Watchman,” in 1986, and has gone on to record and release 18 albums, including a unique collection of sacred poetry from ranging religious traditions set to music on 2005’s “Out Beyond Ideas,” (a joint project he recorded with his wife, Nance Pettit) as well as 2014’s “Blaze.”

With a sound that’s somewhat reminiscent of James Taylor and a finger-playing style similar to Nick Drake’s and Mitchell’s, Wilcox extensively uses open tuning in combination with customized capos (clamps that are clamped across the strings) with notches cut out to allow lower strings to ring open. In effect, he’s using capos to create special tunings without actually having to retune the guitar.

His unique musical style coupled with his thought provoking lyrics have earned him critical acclaim — Rolling Stone magazine who called him “unjustly neglected” and “richly deserving of a listen.” In addition to being featured five times in Performing Songwriter magazine, in 2008 Wilcox was honored with a silver award along with Bob Dylan in Acoustic Guitar’s singer/songwriter category.

For the Asheville, N.C.-based artist, music serves as a gateway to the bigger picture that is life. He shares his vision and inspiration with others, penning uplifting songs for fans on demand and doing speaking engagements as a motivational songwriter.

“It used to be that nothing felt as good as music, but my goal is to live a life that feels as good as a good song does,” Wilcox said. “The lessons that I learned in the microcosm of music help me put my life in tune.”

He’s involved in a number of endeavors when he’s not writing music and conjuring creativity on one of his dozen guitars — an Olson acoustic being his favorite.

For example, he’s been hosting the Wilcox Weekend for seven years.

“The Wilcox Weekend is a gathering of the tribe of people that have my music in common. I put together a weekend of inspiring workshops and activities that are about how to sustain a creative life,” he said. “We’re working on setting up the next one ... for the first week of May (2018).”

With only a couple of months remaining in 2017, Wilcox plans to stay on the road touring; he often logs miles by travelling in his Airstream.

And, he’s got a new CD in the works.

“I love that my music is still surprising and inspiring to me. These new songs make me a better person the more I sing them,” he said.

David Wilcox is playing The Flying Goose Brew Pub and Grille, 40 Andover Road, New London, at 8 p.m. today (526-6899 or

MusicNew LondonPhoto Feature

Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Facebook Follow our RSS feed
Union Leader app for Apple iPad or Android *
Click to download from Apple Apps StoreClick to download from Android Marketplace
* e-Edition subscription required