The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

February 17, 2010

Schmitt trades gridiron for guitar

By Jim Workman

It’s difficult to shake that image of the bloodied face of Owen Schmitt as he paced the sidelines in Morgantown.

He had either just drilled an opponent with a head-on collision, claiming yet another broken facemask, or bashed his helmet against his own forehead in an attempt to motivate or admonish himself.

Despite that, Schmitt is a head-banger no more.

Not that he’s gone soft since joining the Seattle Seahawks after a successful stint as fullback for the West Virginia Mountaineers.

No, ol’ No. 35 has gone country.

Schmitt will be making an appearance with the Davisson Brothers Band at the Lost Parrot Beach Bar & Grill on Neville Street in Beckley Thursday night. Schmitt is a part-time guitarist and vocalist with the Clarksburg-based group.

The Davisson Brothers Band is described on its Web site as having “a unique style infusing a remarkable blend of country, southern rock and bluegrass to create a distinctive sound.”

So how does Schmitt and his image fit in? And just how does one go from the gridiron to the stage?

“He’s a great guy,” said Donnie Davisson, lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist. “He’s one of the best guys I’ve met. He’s a lot of fun. Owen has a lot of energy, and he’s becoming a really good guitar player.

“We were playing a show at the Wisp Ski Resort in Maryland one time,” Davisson recalled. “There he was in the crowd. I kept thinking, ‘I know that guy from somewhere.’ He came up and talked to us after the show and I guess the rest is history.”

“It’s been a blast,” Schmitt said. “Music is something that’s always been a part of my life. The Davisson Brothers are a class act. We’re having a lot of fun.

“I went snowboarding one time, and I happened to catch their show. You can’t put a price tag on what I’ve learned from playing with them.”

The Davisson Brothers Band adds Schmitt to its lineup when scheduling permits.

“We’re kind of West Virginia’s band,” Davisson said. “So a lot of our fans are also Mountaineer fans. They actually play one of our songs, “Big City Hillbilly,” at the Mountaineer games. So it works out well. He will talk to people and sign some autographs before and after the show. He’s a real down-to-earth guy.”

“It has been awesome, to see the fans,” Schmitt said. “I think that everyone respects that I come back to the state. I’m looking to buy a home here. I’ve been a lot of places, but there’s just something special about West Virginia. It just keeps sucking me back in.”

Schmitt has played two seasons with the Seahawks.

“I’m going to be playing for my third coach, so I hope we get it right this time,” he said.

Seattle hired former USC coach Pete Carroll last month.

“He’s proven that he’s a winner,” Schmitt said of Carroll. “I think that he could instill some of that with the Seahawks. It could recharge us with a little of that college atmosphere.”

After 15 years of playing clubs, the Davisson Brothers Band released its self-titled debut CD last March on CharTunes/Yell Records, released in the United States and Canada by E1 Entertainment Distribution.

“You can expect to have a real good time if you come to one of our shows,” Davisson promised.

— For more information, visit http://davisson-