Ball State alumnus and musician Governor Davis has been performing blues and light rock for decades. Now, he is working toward throwing an All-Star Jam 70th Birthday Celebration Thursday. 

Davis fell in love with music at a young age, and said he eventually gravitated toward blues because of its “strong” influence in Chicago, where he grew up. Then, at Ball State, Davis began practicing guitar and showcasing his talent around campus. 

Davis said he grew as a musician at Ball State, and once he graduated, he started a band, The Blues Ambassadors. 

What: Governor Davis' All Star Jam 70th Birthday Celebration

Where: Valhalla Venue, 219 S. Walnut St.

When: 7:30-11 p.m. Feb. 1

The band toured Scandinavian countries, met with members of The Blues Society of Sweden, played on Channels 8 and 59, made commercials, created a CD and was even on the cover of Jefferson, a blues magazine.

Unfortunately, health issues including diabetes and bipolar disorder forced Governor Davis to retire from The Blues Ambassadors. 

“A few years ago, his health was so bad, I thought we were going to lose him,” said Stan Stephens, owner of the Heorot Pub and Valhalla Hall, where the celebration will take place. 

After overcoming his illnesses, however, Davis started a new band in 2015, The Governor Davis Band, which will be performing at the jam.

While Davis is not sure what the band will be playing, he is not worried about making the decision yet.  

“Somebody will ask me, ‘What are you going to play?’ and I say, ‘As soon as I get on stage, I’ll let you know,” Davis said.

Davis also said the band is willing to accept song requests.

“If you have a song you want us to do, we’ll go ahead and do it. If you have a song, and we don’t know how to play it … we’ll still go ahead and do it,” Davis said. “Whatever [the audience] wants, we’ll give it to them.” 

The tradition of this event began when Davis decided to celebrate his 50th birthday in a similar fashion, and after the success, he decided to throw the bash again for his 60th birthday. 

This year, Davis also decided to incorporate a fundraiser to help Scott and Shirley Mann, who were in a motorcycle accident Oct. 21, 2017. 

“I said, ‘I’ll tell you what we’ll do: We’ll go ahead and do the fundraiser on my birthday. It’ll be a way for people who didn’t know about it to come out and donate,’” Davis said. 

Davis is also looking for other performers who do not normally come to the jams to take the stage during the event, but regardless of who he finds, Stephens said he is looking forward to celebrating Davis and his years of achievement. 

“Governor Davis is a really hard-working musician who has been around for a long time,” Stephens said. “He made it really big, had some health issues and now he’s coming back. He wanted to do something big for his birthday, and we’re just helping him run with it.”

Contact Melissa Kraman with comments at mmkraman@bsu.edu