Longtime east Austin resident & musician David Ramirez goes on tour again.
Words by Mary Bryce Photos by Eric Morales
On a slow weekday afternoon, Ramirez casually enters the venue slightly late. Sweating a little, and very apologetic, he makes sure to get a drink before sitting down to talk about life as a musician. “I’ve been off the road for 3 months, and I’m going crazy,” he announces over a glass of whiskey.
In many ways, Ramirez is the quintessential boozy, road-dog musician, and though he has achieved a great deal of success, being on tour so much takes a toll on the soul.
Originally from Houston, he left home at age 19 and never looked back. After stints in Dallas and Nashville, he eventually ended up in Austin, “I just decided to hang around,” he says. Now days, Ramirez is attaining an ever-growing audience performing his heart-wrenching songs that, in his own words, are “hard on the nose… talking about the pain and the hard times, for me, is necessary, and people like it.”
In the past few years, Ramirez has begun to play and collaborate with a band—a new process for him. He had been solo on the road for so long that his “ability to be in a healthy relationship, romantic or otherwise,” was difficult. He admits, “the world just revolved around me.” Having a band around him has also shifted the shape of his forthcoming record. “My musicianship has gotten a lot better… as I was writing the songs, I was very conscious of space. When you’re playing alone and writing alone I think the tendency can be very easy to fill the space with words. Now that the fellas are around, maybe I don’t have to go with a verse right here and can explore more music [first],” he happily admits.
Ramirez is proud of the forthcoming record. “It’s beautiful and sexy and dark and old in some ways.” He worked with Sam Kassirer, who produced and engineered the record at his studio in Maine. They recorded the album in two weeks and spent another month perfecting the mixes. It’s titled We’re Not Going Anywhere, and comes out on September 8. He’s striving for new heights—not only musically, but also in terms of his own life. “I’ve said all I need to say in terms of my personal life,” he remarks. “I’m kind of done looking in the mirror.” Additionally, there is an exhaustion that comes with sharing such intimate details of life. “Being known on that level is harder than it used to be,” he says. “It used to just be a handful of people.” Now there’s no longer an intimate crowd.
Though he hopes to continue playing to even larger crowds, Ramirez has his own philosophy about making art. “You can’t have an end goal,” he says thoughtfully. “It all has to be means…After I finish this record, I want to get back in the studio and make a better one. I want to try to make the perfect album. I’m not going to do it, but by golly I’m gonna try.”
David hits the road with Shakey Graves this summer, but you can catch him locally on June 11th at The River House in New Braunfels, or June 25th at Hogg Auditorium for Summerfest, presented by Cactus Cafe & KUTX.
Pre-Order: We’re Not Going Anywhere
Tour Dates: davidramirez.com/tour