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David lean



Singer-songwriter David Ramirez needs only an acoustic guitar to perform his heartrending tunes. Since he can fit all his gear in the front seat of a sedan, his tour expenses are low, meaning he can tour often. But living on the road ensures some gigs will be out of the ordinary.

“I was at this joint in Chicago, and it was a Tuesday night,” said the Austin, Texas-based Ramirez. “I’m thanking everyone for coming out on a weeknight, and someone from the back yells out, ‘We would have been here regardless!’ Then a woman started playing fetch with her dog, so the dog was running up on the stage.”

Metro music fans can expect fewer mutts milling about next Wednesday, when Ramirez takes the stage at VZD’s, with Matthew Mayfield in tow.

Although VZD’s is a restaurant and venue, its setup guarantees that the concert will be nothing like an unforgettable one he played at this spring’s South by Southwest. His schedule read, “Hilton Lobby,” but fans who showed up found Ramirez stuck playing in a corner of the hotel’s restaurant, right next to the door from the kitchen.

“I don’t necessarily mind people that talk, but dishes clanking and food orders being brought out in front of the stage is not an ideal situation,” he said.

For an artist whose songs often are sparse and intimate, having a carefully constructed mood punctured by zooming waiters bearing plates of piping-hot food was uncomfortable at best. But Ramirez, with all those shows behind him and many more in front of him, took it in stride and put on a great show for his audience.

“You make do. Especially at [South by Southwest], you get put in the most random places,” he said.

Still, at that same festival, he played his first official SXSW set.

It’s a sign of moving up in the music world, and it couldn’t come at a better time. Ramirez, who is fond of releasing live albums and EPs, will offer Apologies, a full-length studio effort, in August. He’ll undertake another big tour to support the album, with plans to incorporate a live band into some of those trips.

Until the album drops, he’ll keep touring on just a guitar and a voice, bringing his heartfelt tunes to listeners both human and canine.

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