I met Dave Stamey in Colorado in the early 90s, when I was performing with my band, New West, at one of the big Cowboy Poetry and Music Festivals. Since then I’ve had many opportunities to play with him, and to watch him onstage.
For a solo performer to keep an audience engaged and entertained is a difficult task, and Dave Stamey is a true master. His guitar playing is always precise and understated, serving the song beautifully.
New West and Dave shared the stage at a Cowboy festival dance a number of years ago, at first trading songs, then playing together. We were doing original songs and Western Swing standards to a full dance floor, and having a great time. You learn a lot about a performer while onstage together. Dave jumped in on the songs he knew, always looking for just the right part to play or sing, and was very easy to work with.
During one of our breaks, he asked to try out my Gypsy guitar. He then proceeded to play a note-for-note version of Django Reinhardt’s solo on “I’ll See You In My Dreams” — that is some serious guitar playing! If Dave had wanted to trade in his hat and boots for a pencil thin mustache and two-tone shoes, he would have fared just fine.
But his heart is in Western music. Dave Stamey’s songwriting and performing have made him a first call artist in the Western Music world, a standing he richly deserves.
At a recent Cowboy Festival appearance in Utah with New West, I was hanging out in the dressing room with some of the other performers, including Dave Stamey, and we got around to talking capos. Dave had been using Shubb Capos ever since I’d known him, and I noted that he sometimes used a partial capo along with his regular capo. He mentioned that he wished one of these capos would remain on the guitar when not in use, so that he would only have to take one from his pocket. I knew he had not yet seen our new FineTune capos, since they had only been out a very short time.
I took my own F1 from my guitar and handed it to him, saying “Dave, here you go, just go off and try this. Let me know what you think.” He moved away to a quiet corner, and I could see him putting the capo through its paces.
After a few minutes, he walked back to me with a big smile on his face and said, “I love it!” That capo is still on his guitar.