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Davy Knowles at The Crocodile

Lloyd N. Peterson Jr. By

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DAVY KNOWLES Davy Knowles
The Crocodile
Seattle, WA
September 8, 2009

I got my ass kicked tonight at the infamous Seattle "Crocodile" by an English kid and guitar slinger by the name of Davy Knowles. And man, I saw the light. The breadth and depth of knowledge this young man has of music is just plain scary. There may be a "few" better guitar technicians, but this axe man has the X factor; that rare musical voice with gut wrenching soul and a whole lotta blues. And all of that at the young age of 22 and he flat out tears it up! No ma'am,' this ain't no pretender...

And then there is his band, Back Door Slam. I've grown tired of so many Hammond B3 players who don't know how to bring it, but the newest member of the band, Ty Bailie, a Seattle native, plays with a pair of nads the size of Costa Rica. The man can play, has taken the B3 to a new level and he brings a chemistry to the band that cannot be denied. He opens a door that allows Knowles to pick his spots and burn. He can fill it up, does it with taste, with an abundance of musical intellect and flare. Whoa! Under what rock has this guy been hiding?

The rhythm section of Steven Barci on drums and PK on bass, also Seattle natives, bring a rock sensibility to the blues that allows Knowles to move in multiple directions vertically and horizontally and they can change up as well as any blues band running the circuit today.

But this isn't your ordinary blues band, not that that would be a bad thing. PK studied under no other than the late great Ray Brown and has collaborated with Bill Frisell, Roy Hargrove, Wayne Horvitz, Ivan Neville, Josh Roseman, and DJ Logic. Barci is no stranger to the music scene as well and has collaborated with the likes of Eddie Vedder, Stone Gossard, Michael Franti, Mike McCready and Matt Cameron.

On this night Knowles pulled out a few surprises. In addition to his own tunes he played a couple of numbers by one of his heroes, Rory Gallagher, "Walkin' on Hot Coals" and "Messin' with the Kid." Early in the set he turned things up a notch with David Crosby's, "Almost Cut My Hair," and oh yeah, there was a special guest on this night. Mike McCreedy of Pearl Jam fame stopped by and traded fire with Knowles on Neil Young's, "Cortez the Killer." Killer indeed!

It will be interesting to follow Knowles and see exactly what direction he chooses as he becomes even more successful. Does he go the route of the likes of John Mayer, with the roller coaster but short ride of "pop" success, or will he stay true to the roots of music that doesn't compromise and build a slow but long lasting career as a bluesman?

There will be pressure and temptation from all around to go with the former, but here's hoping Knowles will stay true to his roots and his building foundation.

Yes, ma'am, on this night, I saw the light...


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