Born and raised in Atlanta, GA, David Charles Shuford is the body behind Speer. After moving to New York City in the early 90s, Shuford forged a path as a musician adept in multiple sounds and styles. A member of the No Neck Blues Band for 15 years and running, he has also engaged his mind and fingers in other groups such as Enos Slaughter, The Suntanama, Egypt Is The Magick #, and Coach Fingers. Through a steady series of home recordings, the Speer trajectory began to take shape in the early 2000's. Assembling of masses of vibration bearing wood was needed to fulfill one man’s band obligations. The full instrumental ensemble of a Middle Eastern belly dance troupe and a selection of voices from a Cajun band were thereby smashed together to engender a sound wildly alive. After a self released debut solo LP Some Forgotten Country in 2007, Speer then sought out a public performance outlet with the killing-est band in the land, the Helix. His second solo LP Arghiledes brings a return focus upon acoustic instrumentation, with a still healthy dose of electric effects and speaker fry.
Arghiledes is a trip to the underworld. One Greek in Hades vying to enchant the shades. Steeped in the sounds of the 1930s Piraeus Quartet, this selection of recordings is the outgrowth of a decade long engagement with the rich heritage of early 20th century Greek music. Utilizing an array of traditional instrumentation (including trichordo bouzouki, baglamas, worry bead percussion on whiskey glass, zills and many more), Arghiledes is a work infused with improvisational fire and constructed on the emotionally cutting modes of Anatolia. Heavy influence is drawn from the music of Markos Vamvakaris, the renown patriarch of the bouzouki; his composition "The Sniffer", a musical portrait of a malevolent drug addict, is given a faithful rendition. Another of his songs "At Phaliro Where You Swim" is interpolated into the lead off track, which takes a more experimental sound-based approach. This LP is an attempt at working within the tradition of hasiklidika, hashish songs which spilled from late night dens of iniquity known as tekedes. Though inspired by music of greater vintage, these pieces also sup at the altar of 60s and 70s psychedelia and dub as evidenced by the head turning grind and swirl of tracks like "Tsamiko Hijaz" and "Harmanis". A true solo record in the overdub manner of Todd Rundgren and Tony McPhee, all sounds were performed, treated and mixed by D. Charles Speer. This limited edition LP will be followed quickly by an electric album with the Helix, Leaving the Commonwealth in April 2011. The combination will serve to further cement D. Charles Speer’s reputation as one of the most innovative players out there.
See also D. Charles Speer & The Helix