One morning in the summer of 1996 David M. Bailey fell over one morning, after a month of excruciating headaches, and ended up with emergency surgery to remove a baseball-sized tumore. After his oncologist told him he’d likely be dead by Christmas Bailey, who lives in Charlottesville, VA, did extensive research on his own and was treated at the brain tumor center at Duke University.
Determined to live out his time “living his dream,” he left his corporate career, working in marketing for several software companies in northern Virginia and Boston, and returned to his first love of songwriting and performing. Nine years, 12 albums, 41 states, and hundreds of concerts later, Bailey is indeed living his dream. He performs Sunday, May 7, at the First Presbyterian church of Hightstown, 320 North Main Street, Hightstown.
The son of Presbyterian missionaries – his father, Reverend Dr. Kenneth Bailey, did an extensive lecture series at Princeton Theological Seminary about 10 yeras ago – Bailey spent his childhood in Beirut, Lebanon. He learned his first chords on the guitar from his seventh grade Engish teacher, then went on to study classical guitar. He soon began writing his own songs and made his first recording a year later. The Lebanese civil war forced him to complete high school in Germany where he spent his weekends as a street musician.
At Grove City College in Pennsylvania, where he graduated with a bachelors in communication arts and literature in 1988, he played extensively in an original acoustic duo but finally decided to put his guitar away to enter corporate America. Ten years later, following his diagnosis, Bailey returned to the stage in what has become a vibrant solo career. His story has been featured on CBS News/48 Hours, 60 Minutes, Fox/Health, Family Health channel, and NPR.
While his songs are reminiscent of folk legends like Jim Croce, James Taylor, and Cat Stevens, he also points to the work of Kahlil Gibran and J.S. Bach as being influential in his writing. He has been described as a “prophet with a guitar.”
Concert by David Bailey, Sunday, May 7, 7 p.m. First Presbyterian Church of Hightstown, 320 North Main Street, Hightstown. Benefit for American Cancer Society. $15. 609-448-0055.