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I Will be uploading past news paper articles in these spaces and upcoming gig and event info, and pictures.  *Check out-  the Civil War article below this spot, the Otis Redding Tribue, The Gordon Lightfoot Tribute, My CD Album releases.  


 Re-click - - (Performance) to see the Acting and Music bio info.

The Gordon Lightfoot Tribute Band

Since 1996

The Gordon Lightfoot Tribute show has had some great performances since Lightfoot's 80th birthday, November 17, 2018.  We had a real nice news story by CTN Coon Rapids Television Network. We have a few shows lined up for the rest of the year, and we hope to be playing a lot more in the future. Lightfoot's music is amazing. It's a privilege to play it. A great songwriter.


Otis Redding Tribute ~ 50 Years Later             Sittin' On The Dock Of The Bay

On December 10, 1967, Otis Redding perished in a tragic plane crash only three days after he recorded his Grammy award-winning hit song, Sittin' On The Dock Of The Bay. 50 years later, December 2017, I produced a tribute show which featured the songs of Otis Redding along with some excerpts from my original stage play about his life and music, which was performed at Mancini's lounge and featured on Fox9 News with Maury Glover.

 We presented a tribute once again on April 20th at the Hat Trick Lounge In downtown St. Paul. I played the Steve Cropper guitar parts with a full band and narrated the show. Dave "Krave" Mustin sang as Otis.

         DJC releases 9th CD ~  

From The Forest Floor

News item 1

Sun Current News May 2010



Blaine & Spring Lake Park - May 13, 2010


Area music teacher releases his own next CD

David James Carlson, a music media teacher in Anoka Hennepin district 11, has worked professionally in music for 35 years.  He has sung and played guitar and other instruments in bars and coffee houses across the Twin Cities metro, often creating the music with his wife, Dawn LeClair, a special education teacher at the district's Blaine High School.  On Saturday, May 15th, he will release "Gray Sky Night", with a release of his greatest hits compilation just weeks away.  He will be performing with LeClair (onstage they are known as Dave and Dawn) at a CD release event for "Gray Sky Night", 7-9 p.m.  Saturday, May 15 at Dunn Bros coffee in coon Rapids.  Over the years, he has  issued 5 CDs of new recordings with a sixth CD soon to come.  Carlson teaches in the school districts secondary technical education program, STEP campus, connected to Anoka Technical College.  370 students have registered for the program 2010-2011.  Among other class projects, Carlson's students produce a radio broadcast that runs a few hours each school day, reaching listeners within a one mile radius of the school.  When incorporating music theory into his daily lessons, Carlson has brought and demonstrated some of his own instruments including a banjo, fiddle and steel drum.  Some former students now have careers in radio while others are working as professional musicians.   With his own music, he has drawn inspiration from Johnny Cash, Gordon Lightfoot and Hank Williams among other artists.  The CD release event will be at Dunn Bros coffee, 401 Northdale Blvd. N.W. in Coon Rapids.


StarTribune North Metro News 

StarTribune-March 20, 2013


Musical salutes the First Minnesota at Gettysburg

A Blaine resident has written a musical about the storied Civil War regiment whose efforts and enormous sacrifices were pivotal at Gettysburg.  by Anna Pratt by Anna Pratt 


An oil painting on view at the state capital, depicting a scene from the Civil War, made a lasting impression on David James Carlson as a child.  The Blaine resident remembered the work by Rufus Zogbaum when he learned more about it subject matter, many years later:  the First Minnesota Volunteer infantry Regiment's deadly charge on July 2, 1863, at the battle of Gettysburg.   Going up against as many as 1,600 Confederate soldiers, the Regiment, which was down to 262 men, helped the union army when the fateful Civil War battle, but suffered a staggering 80% casualty rate in the process.   Carlson, a local actor, writer and musician, was inspired to write an epic song about their heroism.   These men "sacrificed themselves so about five precious minutes could be gained, to bring in reinforcements," he said.   After he did some more digging, Carlson's side project turned into a full-fledged production that he titled " The First Minnesota: A Civil War Musical,"  in the vein of "Lkes Miserables."  This year marks the 150th anniversary of the battle.   Carlson, a retired teacher, is hoping to stage the musical at various historic landmarks, public parks and other sites across the state this July, and to record it for a CD.   To bring those goals to fruition, he needs to raise a minimum of several thousand dollars to cover the cost of insurance for live performances and to make the CDs, he said.   Financial challenges aside, Carlson has multiple sclerosis, which hinders his ability to play instruments or to use the computer, at times.   But he's on a mission.  " I just want people to know the story. They gave their lives," he said, adding, "I almost feel like these guys are saying, don't forget us. Don't let us down."   The musical, set in Gettysburg on July 2 and third of 1863, unfolds in two acts.   Carlson sprinkles in numerous historical references throughout the dialogue and lyrics, though he took some artistic liberties.   The show, which calls for 11 cast members, recounts the charge, while also getting up close and personal with some of the men fighting and those back home.   Although the music has a modern style, the lyrical songs are reminiscent of the period, He said.  To denote the fighting, some numbers have a "military cadence",  with loud snare drums, while others are slow and melancholy.   A temporary truce   As evening falls in the play, the First Minnesota encounters a rebel soldier.   Eventually, the men get into a conversation in which they share their philosophies about fighting in the war.   The rebel soldier pulls out his harmonica, the other men clicking their canteens and bayonets, slapping their boots, they're all having fun relieving the tension.  This is one of the show's more lighthearted moments before the dramatic ending.  Leo Whitebird, who has a private recording studio in his home in South Minneapolis, is helping Carlson lay down the musical tracks.   Whitebird, who has often collaborated with Carlson, is also a believer in the show, which he describes as informative yet entertaining.  " It's a great script," he said, " David is a great songwriter.  I can't say enough about that."   Carlson's wife, Dawn LeClair, is stepping into one of the characters on the home front,  Singing the part of a mother.  There is a poignant song where the mother goes through a box of her sons belongings.  " It's a very moving piece."   As a mother of two grown sons, " when you sing songs like that, you think of your own children and what it would be like." 


          Gordon Lightfoot Tribute Band

Playing Lightfoot songs such as:








Contact: djcarlson83@gmail -or- 763-746-6314



  • Presented a special 40th anniversary event, November 2015, for the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald. 

  • Presentied a special 80th birthday for Gordon Lightfoot event, November 2018.                                                         

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