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Art & Life with Dave Tamkin

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dave Tamkin.

Dave, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
Avast was the name of our first band and we were a force that covered music from Rush, Primus, Nirvana & Skid Row. “Avast Rox!” Once at Rolling Meadows High School, our focus changed to writing songs and producing shows in the theater with the senior indie band. I was hooked! I fell in love with writing songs, grooves and finding new ways to organize performances with local bands. We had mullet’s and wanted to rock!

I let go of the distortion after high school once I was accepted into DePaul University’s Classical Guitar program. After changing majors from Music to Marketing my third year, I graduated in 2001 and began a full-time national touring career as a singer-songwriter. New Mexico, Alaska & Hawaii are the only three states I didn’t drive to for performances over the next seven years.

In 2008, I moved to Boulder, Colorado and started a website called Head Above Music. The focus of my story changed from highlighting my career to the careers of the musicians around me and that which inspired me. “Musicians Helping Musicians” is our motto as we give advice to the up and coming generation of musicians on various topics such as touring, performance, health, mental health and marketing.

In the last two years, I have rekindled that fire that took me around the United States for all those years. I’ve toured the UK and Ireland twice since last summer, released an EP of new songs with friends/producers Dick Prall and Tim King and released a live solo acoustic album “Live at eTown” on October 1st filled with songs written over the last decade.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
I used to define what I did by the accomplishments behind me. Art is not a resume. I’ve learned over the last 25 years that the most important part of creating anything is to simply do just that, create. Once that piece of art is made, make another one. Otherwise, we are all just standing around talking about what we did rather than what we are doing.

My art is connecting as a singer-songwriter. My art is the listener finding comfort within the songs and stories I share. I write songs because I need to, and my hope is that you might connect with one. I have no control over that. What I do have control over is that I keep showing up with an honest song. I share honest stories between songs. I play my acoustic percussively because it emulates my heart. I sing the way I do because I want to connect my voice to something larger than myself. I don’t know if you will love more, cry more, laugh more, mend more or find more peace. I do know that if you feel a connection with my lyrics, melody, instrumentation or performance, you will find that you are no longer the only person that feels the way you do. Hopefully, it inspires you to create more art of your own.

What would you recommend to an artist new to the city, or to art, in terms of meeting and connecting with other artists and creatives?
If you see another musician travelling with an instrument, say hello to them. Walk up and start a conversation if they are just standing there. If they are walking, give them a head nod and say, “Have a good show”. Regardless if they have a show or not, they are going to be glad you said something. You already have more in common with that person than you do in any other random opportunity to make a friend. Musicians are all over the place and we often need a hug.

I’ve been lucky to have found real connections through my art with other musicians, artists, and music fans. This can be an emotionally challenging industry so it’s comforting to connect with others on this journey. I try to attend writing workshops, open mics, get out and see shows and generally stay immersed in our community.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
You can find my music and videos at these links:


You can support my work by going out to see more shows around Chicago. The more you can support our music community, the more opportunities present themselves for musicians. Buy merch from bands. Buy their T-shirts, coffee cups, stickers and throw a few extra dollars in for a tip.

Please visit as well. Sign up for our email list as we are always introducing new bands, artists and their unique stories.

Contact Info:



Image Credit:
Jon Allegretto :

Getting in touch: VoyageChicago is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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