Bridging the gap between traditional and contemporary country music: that’s what DISTILLERY DAVE is all about!
Distillery Dave was born in Greenville, South Carolina on September 18, 1946 to Wilton and Edna Leapard. His father was a grocer and his mother the operator of a Woolworth lunch counter for many years.
Dave’s first public performance was in 1951 when, at the age of 5, he appeared on the Bob Poole Show on WESC in Greenville and sung “It’s Sweet to be Remembered” and “Hey Good Lookin'” According to Dave’s wife, Barbara, “He’s been performing pretty much ever since.”
A few years ago, when the karaoke craze began to catch on, Dave started singing in the karaoke bars of Toledo, in particular, at the Distillery. As he made the rounds of the local karaoke circuit he often encountered more than one singer named Dave so, to set himself apart from the rest, he started using the name “Distillery Dave.” A frequent contestant in Toledo karaoke contests, Dave won a recording session at Big Mama’s Recording Studio. With that prize he recorded his first album, Contemporary Country Classics, Volume 1. It included songs of George Strait, Trace Adkins, Gary Allen, Aaron Tippin, and others. He has recorded several albums since.
In compiling his albums Dave attempts to bridge the gap between Traditional and Contemporary Country Music. According to Dave, “You don’t have to hate Blake Shelton to love Conway Twitty.” The song selection on his albums is a direct reflection of that philosophy.
In his day job, Dave is a Professor of Business & Marketing Education at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, Michigan. He and his wife Barbara live in the Michigan/Ohio border town of Sylvania, in Ohio. They have two daughters; Sara Saunders of Hamilton, Ohio and Emily, a recent graduate of the University of Toledo who lives with them in Sylvania. In recent years he has performed at the Renfo Valley Entertainment Center in Mount Vernon in Kentucky, and more recently at Jammin’ in the Valley in Clearfield, Philadelphia. He maintains an active web presence.