“D” is for Davis, Gary (1896-1972)
“D” is for Davis, Gary (1896-1972). Musician. A native of Laurens, Davis was a highly accomplished and innovative guitarist who influenced numerous blues and folk musicians. Reverend “Blind” Gary Davis honed his style during the 1920s in the rich musical milieu of the Greenville-Spartanburg region. After losing his eyesight as a child, his grandmother encouraged him to take up the guitar. He crafted his own style and is considered to be a progenitor rather than a follower of the “Piedmont” blues sound that developed in the southeast. He moved to Durham in the 1930s and New York in 1940. Finding a new audience with young, predominantly white fans of folk and blues, Gary Davis became a major presence on the folk revival circuit in the late 1950s and early 1960s, performing at festivals, coffeehouses, and clubs.