"My first love is the law. My second love is music," says Bob Davidson, 59, sitting in his office at the Mississippi Capitol Building. In the window next to a photograph of his 12-year-old son, Forrest, is a photo of Davidson playing the trumpet amid the gazes of Amy Tuck and Ronnie Musgrove.
In the photo, Davidson explains, he is performing at a memorial service in the Capitol Building for T.C. Ward, who held Davidson's job before him. Ronnie Musgrove was lieutenant governor at the time, and Amy Tuck was secretary of the Senate.
Growing up in Hannibal, Mo., the home of Mark Twain, Davidson's parents taught him about music and law. His father, a judge, also played the trumpet on the weekends. His mother was a music educator in public schools.
At a young age, Davidson began playing the trumpet, beginning his musical career. In 1971, after graduating from the University of Missouri, he served in Vietnam aboard U.S.S. Knox, a destroyer escort. After returning from his two-year stint in the east, Davidson began law school at Ole Miss.
Today, Davidson is the chief counsel of the Senate and director of the Senate Legislative Services, a position he has held for 32 years. There, he, with a group of lawyers, writes about 1,500 bills a year.
"In the old days, many senators were lawyers themselves," he said. "That changed a long time ago," he says, smiling.
When not working with the Legislature on the weekends, Davidson lends his musical talents to bands he helped create, such as the Capital City Stage Band, the Bluz Boyz Band and The Sessions, each of which has a twist of its own.
"It's a total change of pace from the grind of the legislative process," he says. "I'm what you would call a weekend warrior. I play every weekend."
One of the highlights of Davidson's musical year happens with the annual Mal's St. Paddy's Day Parade, which the Bluz Boyz Band has played since the parade began.
When he isn't boogying with the Bluz Boyz, he's playing big-band style with the Capital City Stage Band. This full ensemble band plays a repertoire of swing music including Frank Sinatra.
With the big band, Davidson even played the Beaux Arts Ball at the King Edward Hotel when talk of revitalizing the building first started. "They brought in Port-o-Johns, and they cleaned out the lobby," he said. "It was a really cool event."
Halfway between the Delta blues and New Orleans jazz, Davidson believes Jackson has it made. "We have the best of both," he says.