Songs And Stories: Fayetteville-born David Starr turns granddad’s book into album

Songs And Stories: Fayetteville-born David Starr turns granddad’s book into album
BECCA MARTIN-BROWN
bmartin@nwadg.com

David Starr was born and raised in Fayetteville, and many of his childhood memories center on time shared with his grandparents on “South School Street near where the bypass is today.”

“I spent lots of time with my grandfather growing up,” says Starr, who now lives in Cedaredge, Colo. “He taught me to ride horses — feisty little Shetland ponies, actually — and we spent time walking in the low hills behind their property. I was aware of the fact that he was an author, among other things. But I didn’t really dig into his work until after his death. While I regret not reading his books earlier, I like to think he was showing the way for our creative side to blossom!”

The result of that investigation was released in February 2020, just before the pandemic shut down most musical performances. Titled “Beauty and Ruin,” it was produced and arranged by John Oates (of Hall & Oates fame) and is based on “Of What Was, Nothing Is Left,” a novel written by Starr”s grandfather Fred Starr in 1972.

“It is like watching a movie,” Oates has said of the album. “The cinematic aural landscape visually evokes a classic tale of tragedy, love gone wrong, and an exploration of human nature and all its flaws.”

“After finally reading the book, I was struck by the faces, places and humanity of the characters,” says Starr. “So much in the story spoke to the fact that our struggles are timeless, really. I sure wish I could ask my grandfather how much in the book was factual. Very powerful imagery!”

Starr, who also released an updated edition of “Of What Was, Nothing Is Left,” will perform at 2 p.m. Sunday as part of the Mountain Street Stage series at the Fayetteville Public Library. He’ll “share the stories behind the songs as well as the songs themselves,” he says. “Folks seem to enjoy that context!”

Starr says his interest in music was also born during those halcyon days in Fayetteville.

“My older brother Joe was taking guitar lessons when I was about 9,” he remembers. “I saw that and just wanted to do something along those lines. I took drum lessons and consider myself a drummer to this day, even though I don’t get to play them much anymore.

“I do remember The Beatles appearing on [the] Ed Sullivan [show] in 1964,” he adds when asked about his inspiration. “I wasn’t sure what that was all about, but I knew it was something I wanted to be a part of somehow. I think a straight line can be drawn to that TV appearance and a lot of people taking up the music mantle. It was powerful stuff!

“I played in bands for years,” he adds. “And that was valuable experience, for sure. I always had some kind of ‘day job’ to fall back on. But the muse is strong and never really left me. And I was always working at songwriting in the background.

“I decided to go it mostly solo a few years back to challenge myself creatively.”

Starr also launched Starr’s Guitars in Little Rock in 1998, relocating to Cedaredge in 2001. The store is such an institution that Cedaredge proclaimed the musician’s birthday as David Starr Day in 2016, and he was able to work with the community to open the Grand Mesa Arts Center to help attract musicians and visual artists to southwestern Colorado.

Of his Fayetteville performance, Starr says simply he hopes audiences “learn a little and laugh a little, too.”

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FAQ

Mountain Street Stage:

David Starr

WHEN — 2 p.m. Sept. 19

WHERE — Fayetteville Public Library Event Center

COST — Free

INFO — faylib.org

FYI — Also scheduled for the Mountain Street Stage are Dandelion Heart, Sept. 26; Holiday Jazz, Dec. 4; harpist Beth Stockdell, Dec. 8 & 17; and One Penny Shy, Jan. 16.

Categories: Family Friendly