Lately, I’ve really been enjoying Davy Knowles‘ work on the above-pictured CDs. I’ve always had a knack for good blues rock and Knowles is a seriously gifted guitarist with a more than presentable voice, to boot. Born on the Isle of Man in 1987, he sounds a lot older than he actually is and first popped up on my radar with Back Door Slam (Roll Away, 2007), which I really enjoyed at the time because of its comparatively unique approach and sound. Back Door Slam was and sounded different.
Years later – actually only a few months ago – I literally stumbled over another album by accident which I thought was their follow up but which turned out to be a different endeavor entirely. As it turns out, Coming Up for Air (2009) was recorded by an entirely different group. Back Door Slam had broken up in early 2009 and Davy Knowles continued the band name with this excellent release, co-produced by Peter Frampton and Bob Clearmountain. Davy Knowles (electric and acoustic guitars, mandolin, lead and backing vocals) is supported by Jackson Browne alumni Kevin McCormick (bass) and Mauricio Fritz Lewak (drums), supplemented by renowned keyboarder Benmont Tench and Peter Frampton (guitar, bass, backing vocals). The latter also co-wrote two tracks with Knowles.
Some fans of the original line-up considered Coming Up for Air a lesser release, but I beg to differ. I was immediately attracted to the diversity of the material presented on this much more mature follow-up and it turned out to be one CD that has gotten a ton of airplay in my household. It is interesting to hear the diverse influences at play on his recordings, influences which go (way) beyond the well your average blues rock guitarist might dip into.
Knowles’ most recent release, The Outsider (2015), is not totally my cup of tea (yet), but this guy is definitely someone to watch. He’s doing things his way and he’s the better and more likeable for it.