Fort Lauderdale guitarist Joel DaSilva is a blues musician. But what does that mean?
The blues has always been a big basket of influences, developing over centuries to synthesize sounds of Africa, European folk ballads, Southern field chants, spirituals and work songs, all coalescing in the great American soundtrack of Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker and B.B. King. But the music’s evolution continues.
With roots beginning in one of America’s blues capitals, Chicago, DaSilva actually fell under the spell of the blues after moving to West Palm Beach at age 13. The music did not take a direct route to his heart.
“In my early teens, I was an awkward kid. I liked music, and I was into bands like Suicidal Tendencies, Metallica and [Pantera’s] Dimebag Darrell. I was a little punk. I still listen to that music, and I still love it,” DaSilva says.
It was his older brother’s thrift-store copy of Led Zeppelin’s eponymous debut album, with the Willie Dixon-penned “I Can’t Quit You, Babe” and “You Shook Me,” that pushed DaSilva to study the blues legends. After his brother got a job at the Backroom Blues Bar in Delray Beach, DaSilva would hang around and further his scholarship with touring musicians: He’d pick them up at the airport or fetch barbecue, and they’d teach him new guitar licks.
On the cover of his new album, “Everywhere From Here,” the ruggedly handsome DaSilva strikes a modern rock-star pose, in onyx Ray-Bans and a long sweep of jet-black hair set off by shaved sides. Recorded at TruNoyz Studios in Fort Lauderdale with ace producer Eddie Perez, it is an eclectic collection, from the bluesy danger of “Shake” and the almost indie-rock balladry of “Everyday Man” to the twangy “Chasin’ the Sun,” which ought to find a home on Kenny Chesney’s No Shoes Radio.
DaSilva will finally celebrate “Everywhere From Here” at the Funky Buddha Brewery on Sunday, Oct. 15, a release party delayed by Hurricane Irma.
Like all DaSilva’s albums, “Everywhere From Here” has something else going for it, influences distilled from memories and music of long ago and far away. This is heard most obviously in the closing track, a swinging instrumental showcase for DaSilva’s deft and disciplined guitar playing titled “My Brazilian Soul.”
DaSilva’s father, Alcebiades DaSilva, was a touring singer and guitarist in Brazil when he met DaSilva’s mother, a singer from Ukraine. They settled in the United States and started a family, but Alcebiades DaSilva died three years after Joel was born, from the rare Chagas disease.
Recordings of his father’s music remain a touchstone when DaSilva is seeking inspiration.
“I never got to know him. I have a cassette tape of his voice. He’s talking to me in Portuguese,” DaSilva says. “I try to take different influences from him and from my family … do some research, see what I can gather up with different rhythms. I try to incorporate a little bit of my heritage into each album.”
DaSilva says it took him awhile to come up with the right salsa groove for “My Brazilian Soul.” He’s now looking for the time and opportunity to recover what may be the holy grail of inspiration. It will require DaSilva making his first trip to Brazil and a visit to Sao Paulo.
“Apparently, my dad’s guitar is still over there. I’ve got to go get it,” he says, laughing.
Joel DaSilva and band will perform 5-8 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 15, at Funky Buddha Brewery, 1201 NE 38th St., in Oakland Park. Tickets cost $18 and include two free drinks, hors d'oeuvres, sliders and an autographed copy of the single “Shake.” Go to JoelDaSilvaMusic.com.