In one of his newest songs, "All My Friends," Mark Davis weighs what he's missing so far in the way of commercial success but clings hard to artistry over security: "Only my imagination do I trust."
With his 1995 CD "You Came Screaming," Davis tasted what it is to have his imagination made real, and it's an experience he is not ready to let go. He recalled the moments in the studio after he had finished recording his intense ballad "Hollow" (a fierce affirmation of embattled ideals), inspired by a passage from C.S. Lewis, the Christian science-fiction and fantasy novelist.
"When I heard that played back to me, I said to somebody, 'I can die now.' I felt, 'If I do nothing else, there it is, there's my contribution to the world.' "
Back in that real world, where he must repay the debts he incurred to make the album, and where not all contributions are acknowledged, Davis admits his mood nowadays is not quite so exalted.
"[I feel] overwhelmed. It's kind of tough right now. I have to think of the next step. There's some interest [from the record industry], possibilities of real good things happening, but I have no idea."
On the other hand, he said, "I really made the record for me, and I love it. I go through periods when I listen to it a lot just because it makes me feel good about things. It takes me away from this idea that I have to make things happen."