Stephane Grappelli introduced the violin to swing jazz. Jean Luc Ponty added the electric violin and a fifth string to hold it’s own in rock and fusion groups. Songwriters like Andrew Belle utilize effect pedals and the art of ‘looping’ with the instrument, recording it live to create multi-layered sounds with just one musician.These artists and innovators are what led David Gerald Sutton to pursue the life of a musician and continue asking the question, “What else is the violin capable of?”
For 15 years, David has studied the instrument in both classical and jazz contexts. He moved from Illinois to Minnesota in 2010 to study at McNally Smith College of Music, where looping and experimentation with effect pedals became a vital part of his playing. David took his inspirations from pop music and film scores to combine, twist, and refine them with his studies and influences. It became a beautiful symphony of sound and emotion, becoming a style of music that people from all generations and places can feel connected to in a meaningful way.
Finding this sound gave David the inspiration to create his latest album, ‘Here I Remain’. The album leads in with soft string layers, slowly building into the driving pulse of the first song, ‘Coming Home’. Inspired by the music of MuteMath and Tycho, songs like ‘Coming Home’ and ‘Organized Chaos’ pay homage to David’s inspirations while others, like ‘Surrender’, feel like they were written for the big screen or an independent film. Whatever the direction, the emotions David’s writing creates still translate clearly to the listener. “The album isn’t just about having a collection of songs to release and have people listen and dance to it,” says David, “but to create a musical experience that can reflect your life and remind you of your story and what you’ve been through. If my writing connects with people and brings to mind memories passed, both joyful and sad, or gives them hope for the future ahead, then I’ve done my job right and so far, it seems to be doing just that. That leaves me humbled and thankful, ready to write even more music.”
So, what else is the violin capable of? Well, besides being a violin, it can sound like synthesizers or an electric guitar; it can sound like a beautiful classical symphony or like you are front row at a pop concert; it can evoke thoughtful emotions and nostalgic memories, but most of all, it can bring people of all walks of life together,through the medium of music, to watch David Gerald Sutton perform as a one-man orchestra.