Arts and Entertainment

Davina and the Vagabonds bring a bold blues sound to Anchorage

  • Author: Zakiya McCummings
  • Updated: February 1
  • Published February 1

Davina and the Vagabonds will perform Friday in Anchorage. (Photo by Garrett Born)

Davina and the Vagabonds is a band that shouldn't exist. In 2005, Davina Lozier had just moved to Minnesota and her performances were limited to guest blues vocals for local bands. But one evening, after stepping off stage, Lozier was approached by the venue manager and offered a regular slot.

"He was like 'Oh, that's a great song you did with them. Do you have a band?'" she explained. "I lied and said yes."

Just like that, Lozier said, she threw herself to the wolves and pulled a band together.

Since then, Lozier and the Vagabonds has become a renowned blues band, playing an eclectic mix of originals and covers (their most popular being Etta James' "I'd Rather Go Blind"). In the early days, the group's performances were mostly local to the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, but the quintet has since expanded to an international audience.

The lineup currently consists of: Davina Lozier on piano and vocals; Zack Lozier on trumpet and vocals; Steve Rogness on trombone and vocals; and George Marich on drums, as well as a rotating list of touring upright bass players.

Davina and the Vagabonds are known for their vibrant live performances, as well as lead vocalist Lozier's distinctive, soulful voice. Though the foundation of their sound is blues, jazz and Americana, the band regularly pulls from outside genres. "It's hard for me to look at 'genre' because I'm just trying to convey a personal story," Lozier said.

"That's why I sing (the blues), because I can express myself with loneliness and happiness and love. I think (the genres) end up blending together because of the honesty. It's a really humanistic level of relatability."

Lozier's songwriting process is "little old me, crying at the piano." Most songs, she said, begin with her sitting down and writing down anything and everything that spills out. "The melody, the lyrics, the bridge, the hook — that I'll write myself," she said. From there, Lozier sorts through her notes and arranges the song before taking it to the rest of the band. It's an emotional process, Lozier said.

"All in all it's entirely up to me, and sometimes that blows because there's stress, and you really want it to sound good."

Davina and the Vagabonds' show Friday marks the group's first time performing in Alaska. Anchorage can expect a high-energy show, Lozier said. "It isn't just about me: The guys are wonderful, passionate musicians. There's something really, really magical about our live show and seeing a bunch of passionate people put their hearts out there.

"I want people's faces to hurt from smiling, and that's kind of my goal, to make people happy."

Davina and the Vagabonds

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Where: Discovery Theatre

Tickets: Start at $40.25 at centertix.net.