Dave Cloud was a singer, songwriter, instrumentalist, actor, poet, and storyteller who earned a cult following for his over-the-top performances that suggested a fever-dream fusion of Captain Beefheart and Tom Waits, filtered through the body and voice of a seedy yet confident lounge singer
Historian of religions Mircea Eliade described shamans as specialists in ecstasy, able to ‘penetrate the underworld and rise to the sky’ in a transcendent state.
It is not surprising, then, that the word ‘shamanistic’ has been used repeatedly over the past 25 years to describe the incendiary performances of Nashville’s Dave Cloud and his band The Gospel of Power. Weekly late-night shows for the unenlightened Nashville masses quickly established Cloud as Music City’s enfant terrible while garnering diehard converts along the way. Holding a dusty mirror to pop music’s tawdry conventions, Cloud and his colleagues deftly dismember the Frankenstein monster of modern musical excess.
Cloud’s seminal 1999 release ‘Songs I Will Always Sing’ received critical accolades, with reviews from as far away as Paris and Auckland. As Edwin Pouncey of The Wire magazine noted, “he sounds more like a cross between acid-addled Roky Erickson and boozed Beat writer, the late Charles Bukowski, than Steve Earle or Willie Nelson.”
The prolific Cloud didn’t stop there. ‘All My Best’, released in 2004, was met with equal critical acclaim, and transfixed the listener with its dark exploration of carnal hedonism and ‘musical psychiatry’. Like a lo-fi tantric yogi, Cloud invokes the great trilogy of girls, motorcycles, and money.
‘Napoleon of Temperance’ revisited selections from both albums with the addition of a few brand new originals. In the spring of 2004 Dave Cloud and The Gospel of Power, completed their first European tour in support of this release. Cloud’s handpicked contingent of caballeros will include members of Lambchop and Clem Snide and will conjure the distinctive sonic magic Nashville has enjoyed for over two decades.
Between 2008 and 2012, Cloud and his compatriots released three more albums — ‘Pleasure Before Business’, ‘Practice in the Milky Way’, and ‘Live at Gonerfest ‘–. While Cloud maintained a busy performing schedule in the 2010s, his health began to fail him, and on February 18, 2015, he died in a Nashville hospital due to complications related to melanoma. Five months after his passing, Fire released Cloud’s final album, ‘Today Is The Day That They Take Me Away’.
“Beafheartian lyricism with sinister charm over grinding riffs” The Independent