Charm, stories, humor, insightful songs, sweet voice, and dazzling guitar ability.” ~ BBC Radio Belfast
David LaMotte is a songwriter, speaker and author. He has performed over 3000 concerts and released thirteen full-length CDs of primarily original music, touring in all of the fifty states, as well as five of the seven continents. The Boston Globe writes that his music “pushes the envelope with challenging lyrics and unusual tunings, but he also pays homage to folk tradition,” while BBC Radio Belfast lauds his “charm, stories, humour, insightful songs, sweet voice and dazzling guitar ability.” His most recent album, Still, features the number one song on Folk Radio in September, 2022 (September Me), and the album remained in the top twenty for six months. He has been a featured performer at top tier music festivals including the Kerrville Folk Festival, Merlefest, the Auckland Folk Festival (NZ), and the Australian National Folk Festival.
His dense speaking and workshop calendar has included presenting at the PC(USA) Mission to the United Nations, keynoting peace conferences in India, Australia, Germany and at the Scottish Parliament, as well as offering the baccalaureate for 2016 graduates of Columbia Seminary. His TEDx talk on what music can teach us about peacemaking is featured on TED.org.
LaMotte suspended his music career for two years, beginning in 2008, to pursue his other primary vocation by accepting a Rotary World Peace Fellowship to study International Relations, Peace and Conflict Resolution at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. As part of that study, he also spent time in rural Andhra Pradesh, India working with a Gandhian development organization.
“David LaMotte is a very good partner in this important work, both for our world and for the human soul.”
~ Richard Rohr, Center for Action and Contemplation
David has published three books, including two illustrated children’s books. The first based on his award-winning children’s song SS Bathtub and the second, White Flour, is based on the true story of a creative, effective, and whimsical response to a Ku Klux Klan march in Knoxville, Tennessee by a group called the Coup Clutz Clowns. His most recent book, You Are Changing the World Whether You Like It Or Not, was published by Chalice Press in 2023. An earlier version of that book, Worldchanging 101: Challenging the Myth of Powerlessness, has been used as a textbook in universities across the United States and in Australia, and the more recent edition is the primary textbook for a 2024 course at Westminster College in Pennsylvania.
In 2004, David and his wife Deanna founded PEG Partners, a non-profit organization that supports mentoring, education, and artistic expression in Guatemala. He is also a consultant on Peace and Justice for the North Carolina Council of Churches, and served as Clerk the AFSC Nobel Peace Prize Nominating Task Group.
As a touring artist with an over thirty-year career, LaMotte has developed a large and loyal following around the world. His music has been honored with numerous awards and artist grants, and has been featured on dozens of artist compilations. Notably, his song Dark and Deep was included on Songs Inspired By Literature, Chapter One, a benefit CD to raise money for adult literacy. Other artists on that CD include Suzanne Vega, Grace Slick, Aimee Mann, and Bruce Springsteen. Several independent films feature David’s music, and it has been heard on the Today Show and the Showtime television series This American Life. In 2023, his song, Coming Alive Again, was chosen as the title track for the Spring album on Christine Lavin’s Seasons project.
LaMotte is also part of the musical trio Abraham Jam, an interfaith band made up of a Christian (David), a Muslim (Dawud Wharnsby), and a Jew (Billy Jonas). The trio has produced to albums together, White Moon, and Abraham Jam Live. They were also the subject of a short documentary by John P. Kennedy and David Saich, Braided Prayer.
He is also the creator of Let’s Be Neighbors, a banner campaign based on a sign he hung on his house, and rooted in the idea that we seldom reject each other into making more compassionate decisions. Let’s Be Neighbors banners and signs are now hanging across the United States, including a large one on Abraham Lincoln’s church in Springfield, Illinois.
As a result of his work with schools in Guatemala, he was named a “Madison World Changer” by his undergraduate alma mater, James Madison University, and was awarded an E-chievement Award by the syndicated radio show E-town. He is currently touring with concerts and talks, hosting a digital community on Patreon.com, writing songs, working on a new podcast, and writing his next book, tentatively titled, “Harmony: What Music Can Teach Us About Peacemaking In a Troubled Time.”
David was born in Norfolk, Virginia, grew up mostly in Sarasota, Florida, graduated high school in Roanoke, Virginia, then college in Harrisonburg, Virginia. He is the son, grandson, and brother of Presbyterian ministers, and the fourth of four kids. He has also lived for short times in Raleigh, NC, Chapel Hill, NC, Paris, France, rural Andhra Pradesh, India, and Brisbane, Australia, but mostly in Black Mountain, North Carolina, where he currently resides with his wife, son, old dog, and five chickens.