Blix Street, 2007
REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 10/29/2007
Listening to Davy Knowles on Roll Away is like stepping back in time to the days of John Mayall, early Fleetwood Mac and the bluesiest of Eric Clapton. A mere 20 when this came out, Knowles developed a love for the blues after listening to Dire Straits (!), then working backward until he had reached Willie Dixon and Robert Johnson. Knowles then teamed up with bassist Adam Jones and drummer Ross Doyle -- a standard power trio -- and this British band released its debut, Roll Away.
In just the first two songs, Knowles proves why he's worth hearing. "Heavy On My Mind" is the best Clapton-like song of the last 25 years, a slow burner with crisp guitar, brief but effective solos and an intensity missing from other artists who play the blues but don't mean it. "Come Home" starts off the disc as a good rocker, but more noteworthy is the deep, bluesy voice Knowles possesses.
"Outside Woman Blues" also features some great solos, while "Gotta Leave" recalls Stevie Ray Vaughan's slower pieces and "Stay" is an acoustic stunner with the sparse arrangement enhancing the emotion. It's unique in that it will appeal to country fans, rock/blues fans and even fans of sensitive male singer-songwriters like Jack Johnson.
"Takes A Real Man" is flat-out classic rock and the title track is fine, although the closing "Real Man" not only is energetic but has an honest-to-God guitar solo, which we haven't heard in modern rock since 1991, it seems.
Back Door Slam has a great time playing and makes the common sound fresh. Here's hoping Back Door Slam can do something about it. Roll Away is definitely worth seeking out.