The scent of cedar, maple, and popple smoke hangs on Dave Boutette’s clothes through summer and into fall. So much so, he’s often teased by friends calling him “The Campfire Kid” while they try to make it to dawn around a circle of crackling log wood.
The special intimacy that only comes from sharing firelight is where Dave Boutette finds his home. Songs of highway hijinks and wildcat oil drillers in the Michigan woods are as likely to be heard as old favorites that have been in your head and heart for years. For Boutette, it’s the sharing of songs that holds all the magic. Come on over, join the circle, sing a tune, or stir the coals. You’re welcome to hang until first light. Just be careful not to wake the folks in the tents.
Whether banging out a set of saloon songs at a Michigan watering hole, or settling back for an evening of singing at a fire ring afterward, Dave Boutette will hold listeners as long as they keep the lights on or until the rain starts. Stories, advice, observations, or raffles are as apt to appear during a performance as are his songs. Blending many schools of American roots and popular music including folk, blues, swing, and old time country, his songs testify to the power of true love, rebirth, snow plows, and migrating fish. If you get the chance, stand next to Dave. Besides feeling taller than you actually are, you may start to see some things in an entirely new light.
A Little History
Before stepping out on his own, Boutette spent ten years with the Detroit-based alterna-rock bar kings The Junk Monkeys. The band toured the nation relentlessly supporting such acts as The Goo Goo Dolls and Hootie and the Blowfish, while recording under the Warner Bros./Metal Blade label from 1990-93.
In 1994 Dave came to Ann Arbor and soon found himself playing open mics and farm markets for tips. The rich and gifted Ann Arbor acoustic music scene provided an ideal environment for Dave to test his songwriting skills.
Influenced by songwriters that span from Chuck Berry to Chuck Brodsky, Dave documents the trips and triumphs of life between the coasts. With a full band or solo acoustic, Boutette easily reveals a Midwest experience worthy of a second look with performances that are engaging, exhilarating, and often peppered with stories culled from his times on the road and his years growing up in the shadow of Detroit.
In recent years Dave has performed a wide variety of concerts in Michigan, Illinois, and Ohio. In addition to a number of house concerts, the venue list includes the Ark, the Barking Spider, the Blind Pig, the BOB-Grand Rapids, the Cadieux Cafe, the Chelsea Ale House, the Crazy Wisdom Tea Room, the Crooked Tree Arts Center, the Green Wood Coffee House, the Flying Otter Winery, the Inside Out Gallery, LIVE, MAMA’s Coffeehouse, Midland Brewing, the Michigan Theatre of Jackson, New Holland Brewing, the Northern Natural Cider House, the Old Town Tavern, the Pump House, the Riverdog Retreat, River’s Edge Brewing, Salt of the Earth, the Scarab Club, Short’s Brewing, Stage 1210, the Ten Pound Fiddle, the Trinity House Theatre, the Wealthy Theatre, Witch’s Hat Brewing, the White Crow Conservatory, The Workshop Brewing Company, Uncommon Ground, and Zingerman’s Roadhouse.
Dave has also been honored to be a featured act at a variety of music and community festivals. Really, check it out:
- Ann Arbor Art Fair
- The Ann Arbor Summer Festival
- The Beaver Island Music Festival
- Chelsea Sounds & Sights
- Ypsilanti’s Crossroads Concert Series
- The Dearborn Homecoming Festival
- Harvest Gathering
- Milford Memories
- The Muskegon Summer Celebration
- The Nor-east’r Music Festival
- The Porcupine Mountains Music Festival
- The Wheatland Music Festival
- A thing called Porkapalooza
- The Annual Un-Valentine Songwriter’s Tour
In addition to live radio performances on WQKL, WDET, WHFR, WCBN, WNMC, WYCE, and WCSX, Dave has also been a featured artist on the Detroit Underground television series.
In recognition of his enthusiasm for songwriting and his passion for sharing in the joy of song, Boutette has been a staff member at Lamb’s Retreat for Songwriters and the Above the Bridge Songwriter’s Weekend, as well as the Ten Pound Fiddle’s Fiddle Scouts program for children. Most recently Dave has helped launch a monthly Community Sing Evening in cooperation with the Ann Arbor Parks & Recreation Department.
“There’s an honesty in his voice that’s genuinely comforting.” All Music Guide
“Boutette’s genial temperament and taste make each song durable, and he baits his hooks like a Zen trout fishing master.” Ann Arbor News