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Bullish on Durham : Country singer Dave Durham and his band are getting lots of air play--and hoping for an award

Dave Durham, singer/songwriter for a San Fernando Valley-based country band, doesn’t do much touring--maybe a few gigs every six weeks.

That may win him an award.

The Academy of Country Music has listed his group, Dave Durham and the Bull Durham Band, as one of three finalists in the category of Best Non-Touring Band. The awards show will air April 10 on NBC.

“I am very surprised by this,” Durham said. “This came totally out of the blue.”

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Durham, of Van Nuys, is still beaming over the frequent air play of his recent single, “In My Car,” the tale of a freeway driver singing during the daily commute:

In my car

I’m the best I’ve heard

I do two shows a day, to and from work

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I’m a star in my car.

Durham said the song is being played at about 115 radio stations nationwide and was recently listed 19th on the chart of popular songs recorded by independent record labels. “In My Car” is distributed by Pearl Records.

“I think it’s just a matter of time before Billboard notices us,” Durham said. “The song has a life of its own.”

It’s a life that almost never happened. Durham said he wrote the melody a couple of years ago and then forgot about it. One day last year, he was going through some tapes when

he rediscovered it. He immediately penned the lyrics.

“I had sung some nonsensical words the first time, and when I went over it, something popped out,” Durham said. “I don’t even know how I got started in this direction.”

His venture into country music can be more easily traced. In high school, Durham played in rock ‘n’ roll bands and began an extensive record collection that includes Led Zeppelin. But when he heard Roger Miller’s “King of the Road,” he realized which musical path to take.

“There’s just something about country music that hits me,” Durham said. “It’s story-oriented, which I love, and the delivery shows so much conviction. I grew up in Indiana, and my mom and dad used to play hillbilly music all the time. I guess it just always stuck with me.”

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His group, which has been together for five years, used to be called the Bull Durham Band. (Durham earned the nickname “Bull” when he played football in high school.) Last year’s popular baseball movie of the same name forced the band to alter its name.

Last year, Durham was selected male entertainer of the year by the Los Angeles chapter of California Country Music Assn. He will attend next month’s Academy of Country Music presentation.

“Should I wear what I wear on stage or should I get a tuxedo?” Durham asked.

Durham will be on stage Tuesday night at KCSN’s Barn Dance at the Palomino in North Hollywood.


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