By Ed Karvoski Jr., Culture Editor
Dudley – Mychael David, a Northborough native now residing in Dudley, scheduled concerts throughout 2020 to promote his album “Heroes & Honky-tonks.” Pandemic restrictions forced cancelations of his shows.
The country singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist longs to once again share his ever-growing passion with live audiences.
“I was raised on country music,” he noted. “I listened to my father’s Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash records and fell in love with songs about everyday life.”
Passions with hometown roots
Growing up in Northborough, David developed dual passions: music and hockey.
He sang for nursing home patients and in choruses from elementary to middle schools. Concurrently, he played hockey in the town’s youth program with his sights set on going professional.
David attended Marlborough’s Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School, which didn’t have a hockey team at the time. He was allowed to play hockey for Northborough’s Algonquin Regional High School.
An injury altered his extracurricular activities.
“I blocked a slap shot and shattered my knee,” he explained. “That’s when I turned to my other passion: music.”
Rocking the club circuit
A year before his 1987 high school graduation, David joined a Hudson-based rock band called The Suspicions. They played that era’s popular club circuit, spanning from Boston’s now-closed The Channel to Worcester’s still thriving Ralph’s Chadwick Square Diner.
David’s roles were songwriter, lead singer, guitarist and keyboardist.
Between rehearsals, he frequently jammed with the band’s drummer.
“We’d play ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ for hours and hours,” David recalled. “Southern rock is like country with an edge. I’ve always liked rock, but country music has always been my passion.”
From New England to Nashville
Following his five-year rock stint, David joined a country group called Sugarcreek with New England and on-the-road gigs. They worked alongside acclaimed artists such as Charlie Daniels, Big Al Downing, George Jones, Colin Raye, Pam Tillis and Mark Wills.
With Sugarcreek, David performed his first of many shows at Indian Ranch in Webster. Working at this venue sparks childhood memories for him.
“As a kid, I’d sit up in the stands, watching all the big country people,” he recounted. “Now, I’m up on the stage. It’s pretty cool.”
Concerts and traveling increased for David in 2001 when he began co-fronting the band Susan Jayne and Help Wanted.
David’s travels ultimately brought him to Nashville. There, he recorded his 2011 album “Long Hard Road” including its single titled “Nothin’.”
“’Nothin’ spent 34 weeks on the independent world charts and went to #1,” he noted.
Also in 2011, David and Jayne got married. Help Wanted disbanded in 2015.
Honoring military heroes
In 2018, David released his second album, “Heroes & Honky-tonks,” consisting of originals and covers.
He included Billy Ray Cyrus’ song “Some Gave All” in honor of Army Spc. Brian Arsenault, who was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2014. David grew up as friends with Brian’s parents Leslie and Dan.
“Their son went to Afghanistan and never came home,” David relayed. “I wanted to do this as a tribute to him, and all the other men and women who put their lives on the line.”
David accepted the Arsenaults’ invitation to sing “Some Gave All” at Northborough’s 2019 Memorial Day ceremony. He planned to sing at the 2020 ceremony, but it got canceled.
Power of music on the horizon
His other 2020 return engagements that got canceled range from a pre-game concert outside of Fenway Park to Hampton Beach’s Seashell Stage.
“With everything that’s going on nowadays,” David said, “people need something positive like music to look forward to.”