Thank you for visiting my website. I hope life is going well for you, wherever you’re reading this in our big old world. It must be said though, that one thing our world doesn’t need is yet another website! However, for visitors stopping by and wanting more information, the American writer and journalist Charles Strohmer interviewed me and compiled a biography for your interest. Never a dull moment, as always!
After a childhood filled with sacred classical music whilst a choral scholar at Peterborough Cathedral, David taught himself to play guitar and then played for local bands while still at The Kings School, Peterborough. Following college and university studies in ceramics, music and education, he signed his first record deal with the Red Bus/EMI music label in a folk duo. His second record deal was with PVK records, where at the signing ceremony he was introduced to legendary blues guitarist Peter Green (from Fleetwood Mac), who was by then pursuing a solo career, and also signed with PVK. A lunch to remember!
After busy and productive periods with Red Bus/EMI and PVK, playing guitar, piano, and touring and recording, David joined Indie rock band Sensible Jerseys and moved to London. Early in the band’s career they were discovered and championed by BBC broadcasting legend John Peel, eventually signing with Virgin records. When the band members went their separate ways, David was invited to play guitar for WEA/East West Records singer-songwriter Tanita Tikaram, recording and touring with her across Europe, Scandinavia and the USA. Following this, he toured Europe playing with the Irish jazz/blues artist Mary Coughlan.
In the early 1990s, David played for EMI artist Steve Booker, recording a BASF award-winning album, and touring Europe, opening for acts including Bob Geldof, Suzanne Vega, Clannad, and Steve Earle & the Dukes. During this period, David met Steve Booker’s co-producer, Andy Piercy, former lead singer of British rock band After The Fire. Andy and David discovered a shared a vision and passion for new directions in liturgical and sacred music. They soon began writing contemporary sacred music together, also playing for the music team at their local church, Holy Trinity Brompton. When not busy with sessions and production projects, the two met at Andy’s flat in Notting Hill Gate to write, new songs. This creative period resulted in the recording of two ground-breaking albums of their time: ‘Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow’ and ‘Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs.’
During the ’90s and early 2000s, David recorded and toured with Virgin Records artist Julia Fordham, playing Japan, the Far East, Europe and the USA. Of this period, David has said that recording Julia’s “East West” album, produced by Michael Brook and recorded in Hollywood’s legendary Ocean Way studios, was a particular highlight of those years. Another high point was the year 1997, when Julia and David toured with Sarah McLachlan on the Lilith Fair tour, followed by opening dates on Sheryl Crow’s world tour. On Julia’s next tour of Japan, they were very honoured that Eric Clapton came to one of their shows, joining them backstage afterwards, and then invited him and Julia to his concert at Budokan stadium later in the week.
In 2005 and 2008, David worked in South Devon on the creation of electronica albums ‘Pulse’ and ‘Flight’ with Mr. Don (John Donaldson). Also on the co-writing front, in 2009 David enjoyed the rustic surroundings of a 16th-century barn-studio in Surrey, the location for writing and recording with Grammy award-winning producer Kipper (John Eldridge) for Esther Alexander’s ‘Long Way Home’ album, collaborating on several songs with singer-songwriter Judy Tzuke, who in 2018 joined with Julia Fordham and Beverley Craven to record and embark on their hugely successful and exciting ‘Woman to Woman’ touring adventure.
In November 2009, David crossed the Pond, moving to Knoxville, Tennessee, to accept the invitation as director of music and creative arts at Apostles Anglican. English accents have given way to American ones every day, and it has gone very well for David in the USA, with several ongoing creative projects underway – though he tells me he’s on a mission to persuade Americans to say herbs, rather than ‘urbs (!)
‘It’s inspiring living here in Knoxville,’ he said. ‘It’s a great music city, in a beautiful part of east Tennessee. I fly back to England regularly to see family and friends, and to record and play back home. Living in the States has given me more time to write and record my own projects, to work on art, and to write and produce other artists. It has been a privilege to reconnect with American musician friends in Nashville and Los Angeles.’ Work has included new material co-written with Phil Keaggy and Phil Madeira amongst other musician friends. ‘I also learned Appalachian claw-hammer banjo with East Tennessee’s very own banjo genius Matt Morelock. As I often say, never a dull moment! On the wider artistic front I try to make time to go out sketching (developing ideas for oil and acrylic works) and to keep up with pottery and ceramics when time allows. Mucking about with mud, basically!’
* MARBLE CITY SKYLINE. OUT NOW! David’s new folk and acoustic songs album was released in the Autumn of 2020. Tracked with the help of Scott Minor at his vintage Wild Chorus studio, using a restored vintage MCI tape machine, original vintage outboard effects equipment, a Neve desk, and utilising CLASP recording technology. Mixed by Ben McAmis, and mastered by Richard Dodd in Nashville, Tennessee. Marble City Skyline
* FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT. OUT NOW! The string quintet and piano project, ‘Fruit of the Spirit’ is here! It was released on the 9th September 2019, on CD, digital download and streaming. A limited edition vinyl LP version is also available at the Little Room store, along with all the sheet music. More information: Fruit Of The Spirit
All Digital Streaming, Store and CD versions of recordings (and vinyl version of Fruit of the Spirit) can be found at:
* Two CDs. ‘Improvisational Duets with Guitar,’ Vol. 1, David Clifton and George Middlebrooks (2017), performed live at the Pilot Light, Knoxville. And ‘The Unintended Consequences of Architecture’ (2018), ambient abstract guitar instrumentals.
Up-coming Recording Projects
* David is producing and recording a traditional folk album for Charlotte Smith. English, Irish and Scottish folk songs. It is now mixed and sounding fabulous! Tentative title: The Tree In The Wood.
* Modern liturgical sacred music. Recorded live at 5th Avenue in Knoxville, with Will Reagan engineering and co-producing the tracking sessions. Work continues on this project, also with Ben McAmis ,on the mixing sessions. Overdubs and edits are taking place throughout the year. Out soon!
Session work over the years has included work with a wide range of artists: Julia Fordham, Steve Booker, Pele, Madness, Mickey Harte, Paul Heaton, Tanita Tikaram, Helen Watson, Delirious, Matt Redman, Sheila Walsh, Robin Mark, Graham Kendrick, Paul Wilbur, The Woodthieves, Kim Hill, and many others.
Record Label: Little Room Recordings.
Music Publishing: IQ Music Ltd. London and Liverpool, England, UK.
Little Room Music: Administered by IQ Music Ltd./Wixen Music USA.