Monty Davenport owns the songwriting voter's bloc | Rock Candy

Monty Davenport owns the songwriting voter's bloc

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With Robert Earl Keen.

Monty Davenport isn't likely to become the Gov. Jimmie Davis of elected officials in Arkansas if he wins the state land commissioner race, but he's our best shot at injecting music into state government since Jim Guy Tucker's daughter was throwing punk concerts on the Governor's Mansion lawn.

Last month, Robert Earl Keen hosted a fundraiser for Davenport at Juanita's. And tonight, Jesse Winchester, the Louisiana-born, Memphis-raised folk singer famous for songs like "Yankee Lady" and "Mississippi, You're on My Mind," plays another one for him at Juanita's, 8 p.m., $30 donations.

I called the former state legislator from Yellville last Friday to find out how he'd managed to book country-folk heavyweights like Keen and Winchester. It turns out he's buddies with Keen. The two met when Davenport worked a land deal for the country star in Marion County. The Jesse Winchester fundraiser is the doing of a friend of Davenport's.

Back in his "younger, wilder days," Davenport said he used to run with the Ozark Mountain Daredevils. The band bought nearly 500 acres in Marion County after "Jackie Blue" hit, he said. Davenport even managed a songwriting credit on a Daredevils album.

When I followed up, Davenport groaned.

"Oh man, I wished I wouldn’t have brought this up and you wouldn’t have asked.

"It’s the 13th song on their 13th album and the name of the song is 'Bar Hoppin'" and it’s a genuine little redneck ditty, an ode to halter tops and poptops and miniskirts and wet t-shirts — we  used all those things. It’s pretty tacky."

As for pickin' the guitar, Davenport said, "I can make C, G and D if I can see my fingers and don’t have to move real fast."

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