Dave was born in Kansas, and raised in Arizona, but he’s made Austin, Texas his home for the last fifteen years.  He’s been writing songs, playing guitar, and singing for other’s enjoyment since around age 12. In high school he played in country and rock bands, and in 1983 his cowpunk band, “Chaingang” debuted in Tempe, Arizona. The years that followed featured a steady progression of bands, including “Politics or Pontiacs,” “Nitpickers,” and “Trophy Husbands.”
In 2005 Dave released his solo debut, Call Me Lonesome. The Arizona Republic named Dave “Arizona’s Best Songwriter”, and Call Me Lonesome made Third Coast Music‘s Top 10 Debuts of 2005. Dave relocated to Austin in 2006 and released Here with You Tonight, debuting at #1 on the FAR chart. Former Downbeat editor Nat Hentoff noted in his review of HWYT that Dave “immediately held my attention not by showboating, but through naturally flowing rhythms, and stories of everyday life and loss, told in a warm, unhurried, and sometimes wry voice of experience.”
In 2008, Dave released perhaps his grittiest album, West Texas Wine. Writing for Good Sound, David Cantor called Insley’s music “Zen Country,” and credited him with “leaving melodramatic self-indulgence out of the picture.”
Dave’s 2016 release, Just the Way That I Am, finds Insley in peak form, and features his most mature writing and nuanced performance to date. Dave continues to live in Austin, where he performs regularly at the White Horse Saloon, the Driskill Hotel, and the Sagebrush. He is currently producing a new record due in 2023.
“Dave Insley, whose Chaingang achieved a new high in demented lounge buffoonery before ‘taking some time off’ has reformed the original lineup under the name the Franks. ‘It’s the usual Acid-Country-Jazz-Rock Fusion kind of thing’ reports Insley, who brought his wieners back with a bang opening for the True Believers last week at the Mason Jar.”
—Andy Van De Voorde, New Times, May 8th 1985
“Few artists have been as umbilically tied to the local Country scene as Dave Insley. From his mid-80’s Chaingang to his recent work as leader of the Nitpickers and Trophy Husbands, Insley has long been at the fore of Valley twang, and has quickly earned a heap of critical kudos and growing legion of fans.”
—Bob Mehr, Phoenix New Times, April 2000