CAB brings singer and guitarist David Ramirez to the Mill

BY AUDREY DWYER | MARCH 07, 2013 5:00 AM

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In the dimly lit, intimate ambiance of one particular restaurant, a light will shine upon one man and his guitar as he searches to find truth in his past.

By breaking through trying times of heartache and sadness, singer and guitarist David Ramirez has unlocked a part of himself to cross the line from musician to honest songwriter.

His quest for truth has led him to travel all over the nation. Today, Ramirez will connect with an audience at the Mill, 120 E. Burlington St. His performance will begin at 10 p.m.

"Life is bigger than just the relationships we have and don't have," he said. "All I used to write about were girls and heartache. Writing about other things was difficult, but I made it happen. I just had to open up my mind to think about other topics."

The indie-rock singer's new album, Apologies, exemplifies his attempt to provide a light that shines through life's hardest points.

"The title of this album carries a lot of weight with it," he said. "I experienced some dark times for four years leading up to the album. I went through a lot of regrets and remorse. In order for me to figure out why I went down some of those roads, I needed to understand where I came from and why I went down some of those roads."

The Texas native stopped playing baseball in high school to join the fine arts, and since then, his love for the stage has never faltered.

"After I graduated, I went to college because it's what people do," he said. "After a couple years of doing it, I was unhappy and didn't want to waste more time doing something I wasn't passionate about."

His passion for music has taken him to venues ranging from bar scenes, restaurants, church scenes, and various coffee shops. Ramirez has a peculiar take on connecting with the audience throughout each performance. He remembered his very first performance with sweaty palms but a hopeful heart. 

"Once I was finished, there was an indescribable feeling," he said. "It was exciting to be part of something that created a strong emotional reaction from the audience. To share something that was mine made from start to finish was nerve racking. But for the audience to experience a part of myself through music was an awesome feeling."

Ramirez used the analogy of going on a road trip to describe each of his performances.

"When the audience members walk in that door, they essentially step in the car with me," he said. "They trust me. They communicate to me that wherever you want to take us we are on board. I'm taken aback and touched by it all. It pushes me to be better."

Ramirez was discovered and asked to come to perform in Iowa City when he was at the National Association for Campus Activities, a regional conference in St. Paul, Minn., offering student organizations and student planning committees to get a taste of artists and talent full of potential.

Campus Activities Board Executive Director Katie Brown, along with the 13 other board executive members, attended the conference and witnessed Ramirez's touching performance.

"Just seeing him in his performance and how he throws himself into the music is really inspiring. He really has his heart in the music," Brown said.

Singer and guitarist Jack Baker will open for Ramirez. Baker won the Campus Activities Board open-mike night during the fall semester.

Logan Hood, the activities-board executive director of comedy, said the Mill's quaint qualities allow audiences to have an intimate experience with performers.

"The Mill is an Iowa City entertainment staple; it has been around for 50 years and has encompassed a vast array of artists," he said. "The laid-back vibe and chill atmosphere is what draws in all types of crowds and makes them excited to come and watch a national headliner or the open mike on Monday nights." 

What: Campus Activities Board Music, David Ramirez (Jack Baker opening act)
When: Doors open at 9 p.m. today
Where: Mill, 120 E Burlington
Admission: Free

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