Dave Calandra is a 28-year-old singer/songwriter, formerly of Sydney and currently based in New York. He has been playing live in solo acoustic mode since 1993; he performs mostly in open tunings and his sound drifts between Nick Drake style acoustic finger-picking to Led Zeppelin style acoustic rock.
Dave started performing in Sydney venues during his last year of high school and continued to play around Sydney throughout the ’90s, headlining shows, maintaining various residencies, and opening up for larger Australian acts like The Whitlams, Ed Kuepper and The Dirty Three.
He released three independent EPs in Sydney, ‘Fringe Dwelling’ (1995), ‘The Intrepid Traveler’ (1996) and ‘Ocean of Emotion’ (1996), and released two more EPs after relocating to New York in 2000, ‘Moving Tunes’ (2000) and ‘Alchemy Bones’ (2003).
His songs are inspired by life experiences, in particular the musings of a perpetual wanderer. His first EP was written in 1994 during a three-month stay in Central Australia with people from the Lurtja tribe. His next set of music was written during a year on the road. In 1998 he travelled to India and spent three months in Northern India studying the local music and travelling. He returned to Australia in May and spent eight months circumnavigating the country on a motorcycle, sleeping under the stars and living as a modern day gypsy.
Riding into Sydney in February 1999 with an album’s worth of new music he formed two backing bands to compliment his new style. His first set of music was accompanied by upright bass and drums (Jason Smith and Joel Sutton), then his second set was accompanied by didgeridoo and percussion (Scott Wilson and Ben Owen).
In June 2000 he relocated to the US and played in New York and New Jersey for the next three years, building a strong following in that area. He recorded demos in Nashville and New Orleans, and spent most of 2003 working on his debut album ‘Alchemy’, which features some great session musicians including Matt Johnson of Jeff Buckley fame.
Dave will be returning to Australia in December 2003 to promote the new album.