Blues-rock singer, songwriter and guitarist, Davy Knowles, grew up in the Isle of Man, learning to play guitar from listening to the likes of Gallagher, Clapton, Knopfler, Green and Mayall in his father’s record collection, and honing his skills playing the local music circuit. Fast forward several years later and Knowles has already shared the stage with many of the same people that have inspired him.
He has played opening sets for several artists including with Jeff Beck, Buddy Guy, The Who, Warren Haynes, George Thorogood, Peter Frampton, Joe Bonamassa, Kid Rock, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Rhythm Devils, and the Satriani/Hagar inspired super group Chickenfoot. He was also one of a handful of artists that were selected to play live to Astronauts on the ISS from mission control in Houston. He has also toured extensively around the world.
Davy Knowles who currently resides in Chicago, a few months back, released his latest 13-track album entitled, “THE OUTSIDER”, from which comes the single, “Ain’t No Grave”, a reworking of the Johnny Cash original. It’s not hard to understand the appeal of Davy Knowles. He’s young (an increasing rarity in blues and blues-related genres), and he writes catchy songs, besides playing a mean guitar, backed up with raunchy vocals. He has a wonderful gift of playing the blues with passion and intensity, like the legends before him.
“THE OUTSIDER” is the type of album that you can just lean back and listen to. There is a little of everything. Knowles has a great feel for playing dynamic music instead of the usual cookie cutter blues riffs. It is very hard to find radio stations that play this music and it is nice to have this in your library to pull and enjoy. From track one, “Ain’t No Grave”, Knowles’ guitar talents shine through. As does his rhythmic and melodic skills.
Not only are his improvisational talents extraordinary, his studio work is refined and accomplished. Davy Knowles sounds like his own persona, and unlike many of his contemporaries, he manages to escape from the obvious comparisons with the blues giants who came before him or currently play alongside him. This is most obvious on tracks like “Work a Little Harder” and “Island Bound”, where Knowles switches from classic, and driving rock sonics to softer Americana soundscapes. But Knowles is an authentically versatile player, and is able to move from acoustic blues shuffles like “I Knew She Was A Liar (But Would Never Call Her a Thief)” to fast-paced electric tracks such as “Catch The Moon”.
In between there is a complete album of good, varied modern blues songs with a strong common undercurrent of Knowles’ extraordinary rock-infused guitar and vocals. “THE OUTSIDER” is an outstanding first-listen and just gets better every time around. Davy Knowles’ music may be fairly new compared to the great sounds of Buddy Guy and Muddy Waters, but, his music will be timeless. His influences are apparent, yet individual, while his sound is reminiscent, yet unique. This is what modern electric blues should be!