Hailing from the United Kingdom s Isle of Man hardly a bastion for the blues Back Door Slam is fronted by 20-year-old singer, songwriter and guitar prodigy Davy Knowles, and has already begun to develop a following in the U.S. via high profile performances at SXSW in Austin and the Beale Street Music Festival in Memphis. From the same Running Media Group management stable as multi-platinum Grammy nominee Corinne Bailey Rae, they recorded the album at the Isle of Man s DAM Studios with RMG s Dave Armstrong producing.
One of the season s most compelling debuts, ROLL AWAY finds Back Door Slam displaying its powers of what has been described as "Back To The Future Blues" on a diverse program of tough rockers, moving ballads and cleanly executed blues. Highlights include the guitar-driven opener Come Home, the dark Albert King-styled Heavy on My Mind, rock-funk groover Takes a Real Man, and the album s one cover song, the highly-charged Outside Woman Blues. Too Good for Me is a quiet, change-of-pace piece featuring mandolin and guitar; it is more folk than blues, more Bruce Springsteen than Stevie Ray Vaughan. Stay is a powerful paean to a fallen comrade (the band s original rhythm guitarist, Brian Garvey, killed in an auto accident in 2004), while the title song, a reflective, largely acoustic track with Celtic overtones, deals with a young man s love of his safe, idyllic home and his need to break away for the uncertainties of the world beyond.
Back Door Slam s name comes from the Robert Cray blues classic, and Cray s influence and that of other blues greats like Eric Clapton, John Mayall, Rory Gallagher, early Fleetwood Mac plus the late Stevie Ray Vaughan imbues their intoxicating, guitar-driven sound. Knowles, who also writes most of the songs, first picked up the guitar at age 11 after hearing Dire Straits Sultans of Swing on his father s cassette. Skipping the usual three-chord songbook approach to learning the instrument, he taught himself to play the classic song in its entirety and, in doing so, also discovered his destiny.
After hearing Back Door Slam at SXSW in March, 2007, Patrick MacDonald wrote in the Seattle Times: I heard the spirit of Jimi Hendrix coming from the open,
street side windows of a joint called B.D. Riley's. It was Red House, executed superbly by a surprisingly young trio called Back Door Slam, from the Isle of Man in the U.K. The club was packed and so was the street outside. Folks were transfixed by this kid on guitar, who played with a fiery spirit and sang with conviction, making the song his own.
After a brief break from two years of non-stop touring, Davy Knowles and Back Door Slam is back with a new album produced by Peter Frampton and mixed by Bob Clearmountain. Coming Up For Air, a smorgasbord of rockers and acoustic ballads, includes Davy s and Peter s dueling guitar solos on George Harrison s anthem, Hear Me Lord, and an extraordinary bonus track duet with Jonatha Brooke of her Taste of Danger. The album is built around nine Davy originals (two co-written with Peter Frampton). Highlights include rockers Tear Down The Walls and Riverbed and the soulful Can t Take This Back. After a three week solo stint opening for Jeff Beck in April, Davy and the band are hitting the road again in support of this album.
Roll Away Reviews
By Vibrolux45 (Xiamen, China)
Wow...finally a blues player with grit and who can play and sound fresh!
The cd is fantastic! One of my all time favorite tunes is Outside Woman Blues by Cream and the band do it right on Roll Away! Fantastic voice on this kid and I know that Back Door Slam will have staying power for sure.....I am a fan of early Fleetwood Mac , Cream and Hendrix if you enjoy these as well you will not be
disappointed ....Davey Knowles is the real deal and I wish them the best. buy this cd !
By Kevin K "Gibby" (Little Rock, AR)
Like "MemBen," I saw BDS in the Blues Tent at BSMF, and I've been waiting for the CD release ever since. Davy's guitar sound is as raw and hard core as any we heard all weekend. I honestly thought SRV was back. The crowd recognized what they were seeing, and responded accordingly. We were tired when they finished their set! Get this CD, and see them live whenever you can. You will be glad you did.
By gadgetgirl (Atlanta, GA United States)
Go ahead, read the rest when you come back. I'll wait...
I heard "Come Home" on the radio last week and thought it might be obscure Eric Clapton, but knew that wasn't quite right. I did a little research to find out who it was, and then downloaded the entire Roll Away CD immediately. Unfortunately it wasn't available for download on Amazon, so I had to resort to iTunes, but annoying DRM was a fair exchange for instant gratification.
Simply said, this CD is authentic, blues-infused rock, alternately searing hot, sweetly acoustic, and downright funky. Even the softer songs unfold over a base of smokin' guitar and solid bass, with lap steel and hints of mandolin providing extra, delicious dimension. If you can imagine sizzling habaneros mixed with amber incense and black leather, you'll begin to get the idea.
I don't know where these boys got the life experience to play with such heartbreaking authority, but they manage to effortlessly blend rock and blues together to form its own hybrid creature. Even my BHH (blues-hating husband) was quite impressed -- every song on Roll Away rocks. Now go buy it! You won't be disappointed.
Coming Up For Air Reviews
By Paul "Pinetop" (Clinton, CT United States)
This album is quite good and seems to get better each time I listen to it. However I enjoyed the first album a great deal more. I was hoping for something bluesier and heavier like the first few tracks on the first album. This album is more polished and perhaps more melodic but I don't think that is what the fan base for this group was looking for. Good album but a notch below the first effort (IMO). If you get the chance, see this band live, Davy is awesome.
By K. Brophy
Excellent follow-up to the first BDS album "Roll Away". For folks that haven't heard much of this kid yet, they should take a listen. He is truly amazing. I love all the songs, but especially his guitar work. He's fantastic on electric or
acoustic. He's truly got a great future. Maybe since he's traveling with Chickenfoot, he'll get more exposure. I ABSOLUTELY RECOMMEND EITHER OF HIS ALBUMS!!!
1. Come Home 4:16
2. Heavy On My Mind 5:19
3. Outside Woman Blues 3:27
4. Gotta Leave 5:49
5. Stay 5:36
6. Too Late 2:57
7. Takes A Real Man 4:41
8. It'll All Come Around 3:56
9. Too Good For Me 4:54
10. Roll Away 3:36
11. Real Man 4:07
1. Coming Up For Air 4:38
2. Riverbed 3:38
3. Mistakes 4:15
4. Hear Me Lord 6:03
5. Amber's Song 3:12
6. Tear Down The Walls 5:01
7. You Can't Take This Back 4:52
8. Country Girl 4:28
9. Keep On Searchin' 5:07
10. Saving Myself 3:11
11. Taste of Danger 4:40
Davy Knowles has known what he wanted to do with his life since the age of 11. I was in the car with my dad, and he put on a cassette of Dire Straits' 'Sultans of Swing,'" explains the 21-year-old guitarist, singer and songwriter. "I just fell in love with the music then and there. That track changed my life, and I realized, 'I really want to be able to do that.'" Hailing from the Isle of Man, the tiny kingdom in the middle of the Irish Sea, might have posed a challenge to that childhood epiphany for a lesser talent. Instead, Davy just borrowed his father's acoustic guitar and painstakingly learned to play "Sultans of Swing" by ear.
As a teenager, he mined his father's record collection to learn all he could about 'the blues' and he discovered John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, Eric Clapton, Peter Green and Rory Gallagher, to name a few. Then I began reading guitar player magazines and started seeing who the people I was influenced by had listened to, which is how I learned about Blind Willie Johnson and Robert Johnson Davy explains. He played in bands throughout his school years - usually as the "kid" among older players - and, ultimately, formed Back Door Slam with his school mates.
The band's debut recording Roll Away, which featured Adam Jones on bass and Ross Doyle on drums, was released by Blix Street Records in June, 2007. Knowles wrote all but one of the tracks on the record, which became a Top 5 staple on Billboard's Blues chart. Ironically, now young(er) guitar players are reading about him in the way he did about his heroes. Nick Anderman of the Village Voice wrote: "Davy Knowles, the lead singer, guitarist and songwriter, is talented like very few bluesmen these days. He shreds like a young Robert Cray and wails like the love of his life was just hit by a truck," while Shane Harrison of the Atlanta Journal Constitution said: "If this were a more just world, the band's startlingly talented guitarist, singer and songwriter Davy Knowles would already be a star." "
Such acclaim continued as the band played clubs, concerts and festivals and shared billings with George Thorogood, Buddy Guy, Kid Rock & Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Who and the legendary jam band Gov't Mule. They also appeared on television's CBS Early Show and Jimmy Kimmel Live as well as on NPR's World Cafe and Voice of America's Border Crossings. After parting company with his
band mates Jones and Doyle early this year, Knowles began to record the follow up to Roll
Away, which was released by Blix Street this summer, the recording is produced by Grammy-winning singer-songwriter-guitarist Peter Frampton, who also features on the album.
Despite the thousands of miles he's already logged on the road - 300+ dates in 18months to support their debut CD in America - Davy's anxious to get back out there to play. "You should play music because you love doing it," he says, "If you can hang in for the long haul, you're doing what most people can't, and you're incredibly lucky." He's begun to call America "home," but there's a hint of wistfulness when he speaks about the Isle of Man, a feeling addressed in the title song of Roll Away: "It's a beautiful place and I feel lucky to have grown up there - but you can't forget that there's also a world out there beyond it." And for Davy Knowles, the next stop is the world.
ABOUT THE BAND
PK has been a professional musician since the mid-90's, playing upright and electric bass. He's been a bandleader and composer for many years and a founding member of Rockin Teenage Combo and Dasrut, and recently was composing for his own band "PK & What Army?!".
Along the way he's played with Bill Frisell, Mike Doughty, Roy Hargrove, Wayne Horvitz, Ivan Neville, Michael Shrieve, Skerik, Reggie Watts, Shawn Smith, Robert Walters, Josh Roseman, DJ Logic, Jessica Lurie, Shane Bartell & KJ Sawka as well as being a founding member of Rockin Teenage Combo, Dasrut and PK & What Army?
PK studied upright bass with Ray Brown, Francois Rabbath, David Friesen & Mike Bisio.
Steven Barci: drums
Steven started playing drums at the age of 10 after wearing out two of his parents couches and pots & pans by hitting them with wooden dowels. He's played with or shared the stage with: Ed Vedder, Mike Mccready, Stone Gossard, Matt Cameron, Michael Frant & Spearhead, and studied under: Steve Smith (Seattle Drum School) Jason Mcgerr, Alan White, John Wicks, Kenny Aronoff, Greg Bissonette. Steven has been playing full time and producing/engineering recordings in the Seattle scene since 2000 and has toured the u.s. with other projects.
Other bands include: A Bird of Passage, Vast Capital
Ty Bailie: keys
Ty grew up on a hay farm in southeast Washington state. When he was 8 years old he pestered and begged his parents into buying an old upright piano from a neighboring wheat farmer and rode home with it in the back of their flatbed truck, playing it, while being covered in dust from the dirt roads.
Life changed dramatically for Ty at 16 years of age when jazz pianist Steve Haberman got burned out of LA, pointed at a map, and moved into a (relatively) nearby town. Steve took Ty under his wing and taught him the skills that would later make him one of the busiest and revered keyboard players in Seattle after relocating there in 2000, giving up John Deere tractors for Hammond B3s. Ty has played with the most respected musicians in town, most notably manning the keys for Mike McCready of Pearl Jam's UFO tribute band Flight to Mars, touring/recording with legendary grunge band Truly with members from Soundgarden and The Screaming Trees, backing up traveling dignitaries such as Robbie Robertson of The Band, jazz legend Julian Priester, local
hero's from the Presidents of the United States, Austin Texas transplant and guitar royalty Ian Moore, and many many others.
DAVY KNOWLES & BACK DOOR SLAM "Come Home" - The
Soiled Dove 9-30-08