Popular blues, rock musicians return to native Iowa.
The Ducharme Jones band is making the rounds at various Des Moines music venues. As a duo or with a full band, Dave and Annie Ducharme Jones both play guitars and sing, rocking out to Tommy Petty, singing “Jolene” or belting out one of their original blues, rock or roots tunes. CITYVIEW talked to the duo between music gigs.
CITYVIEW: Why did you move from Austin, Texas, after a successful 30-year music career?
Dave: I went to high school in Des Moines, playing with a band. Annie is from Okoboji, and we moved to the Bay area in California and then Austin. My dad had a stroke, and we wanted to be closer to family. While visiting in 2016, we played at Lefty’s and realized there was a vibrant music scene building right here in Des Moines. We told ourselves, change is good.
CITYVIEW: It seems you’ve performed together forever, but it’s only been 10 years.
Annie: Dave has played since high school. I supported Dave, while we raised our son. I used to have stage fright and struggled with anxiety. But when I started writing music, that disappeared. Now I feel more comfortable — almost at home — on stage.
CITYVIEW: Tell me about your albums.
Dave: We just finished our second album, “Vagabonds and Poets.” Many of the songs are heart-felt recollections of times spent together, pursuing music and the search for satisfaction in the artistic process. I’ve had two solo albums and three albums with my prior band, Rainravens. I feel like we stay in a certain genre without being predicable. It all makes sense whether we play jazz, rock or blues. We play on our strengths.
CITYVIEW: What’s your favorite venue?
Dave: Venues have their own personality, but we love the Greenwood Lounge. I love it when we see new faces in the crowd and when our audiences turn their friends onto us. There’s a big music community in Des Moines.
CITYVIEW: The friendly banter onstage doesn’t seem like an act.
Annie: There’s something special about watching Dave play guitar. One time he had a fever and hit the stage. By the end of the performance, it was like magic pouring through his fingers.
CITYVIEW: How do you define musical success?
Dave: I like my journey. I’m able to play with a passion and inspiration. I like it when I come out of a gig and go “Woo, that felt good.”
Annie: We love what we’re doing. We’re not in competition with other musicians. It doesn’t matter how many people show up; we put on our best performance. ♦
You can catch the band on Aug. 16 at the Greenwood Lounge or Aug. 24 at Captain Roy’s.