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Davy Knowles and Back Door Slam - Coming Up for Air

  by Lisa Torem

published: 7 / 11 / 2009

Davy Knowles and Back Door Slam - Coming Up for Air
Label: Blix Street Records
Format: CD


Unpredictable and versatile Peter Frampton-produced debut album from young British blues singer and guitarist, Davy Knowles

Grammy-winning Peter Frampton had primarily produced his own recordings until songwriting and recording opportunities led him into a producing venture with twenty-two year old singer/songwriter/guitarist Davy Knowles. Frampton has claimed that Knowles, despite his youth, already has a recognizable style. Their partnership breathed new life into Knowles second studio release ‘Coming Up for Air.’ The title was inspired by both a quote from Stevie Ray Vaughan, "Picking yourself up from the bootstraps, but the bootstraps are broken" as well as a George Orwell novel. .The sustainability inference and nod to hard work is well-evidenced in the recording. Knowles' versatility is impressive – he can play a blues shuffle, progressive rock progression or a soulful finger-picking arrangement effortlessly and all with equal passion. Knowles also has a sensitively rich vocal style - similar in texture to Clapton - but at the ready for some of the more heartfelt tunes like ‘Amber’s Song’- as austere chords trickle against his words, you feel the grip of his devotion and angst. "I loved her so much/whatever I seemed to do I always felt alone," he pines, and then humming the next few bars Knowles offers up some luminous folk touches. His style ranges from gutsy to down- right dreamy. Many themes involve introspective epiphanies about love – some being more redemptive than others – like ‘Mistakes’ where the protagonist admits that "The only fault that night was mine/I didn’t mean to raise my voice/but it gave you no choice/but to run for the door/it hurt me so so bad just to see you go" and ‘Saving Myself.’ His thematic abilities abstractly seem beyond his years, but as you listen to his invigorating arrangements and focused delivery you believe every experience was authentically lived. The lyrics are fresh as in "When the moon shun down on a Mississippi swell/in the middle of the night I heard the whistle blow." The tune ‘Riverbed’ conveys a strong sense of place and Knowles respects those finite boundaries. Nine of the eleven tracks are originals –some co-written by Frampton as well – and two are covers. George Harrison’s ‘Hear Me Lord’ is flagrant with positive desperation and the other ‘Taste of Danger’ features a duet with east coast singer-songwriter Jonathan Brooke. ‘Tear Down The Walls’ moves us with the bite of an organ set against the sheer thrill of his classic rock shredding. ‘You Can’t Take This Back’ is raw and honest - "You know I can’t save you from slipping away" and another venture into vulnerable romantic territory. ‘Keep On Searching’ is another confessional about stretching one’s romantic muscles. Knowles sings, "You’re soaked to the skin/couldn’t drive and leave you alone in the dead of night." ‘Coming Up For Air’ is a perfect title for Davy Knowles release. It’s spacious, fresh unpredictable and a uniquely precious commodity What’s equally riveting about this release is that Knowles has really done his homework. His inspirations include Mayall, Clapton, Gallagher and Green – the emissaries of British-inspired blues – but the resultant synthesis is pure Knowles.

Track Listing:-
1 Coming Up for Air
2 Riverbed
3 Mistakes
4 Hear Me Lord
5 Amber's Song
6 Tear Down the Walls
7 You Can't Take This Back
8 Country Girl
9 Keep on Searching
10 Saving Myself
11 Taste of Danger
12 Heavy on My Mind (Live)
13 It’ll All Come Around (Live)
14 Riding with the King (Live)
15 Been Down So Long (Live)

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