If you go
What: Davy Knowles and Back Door Slam
When: 10 p.m. today
Where: Old Town Pub, Sixth Street and Lincoln Avenue
Online: Listen to the band at www.myspace.com/b... or www.davyknowles.c...
Steamboat Springs Everything about Davy Knowles seems little known, but nothing about him should be.
The blues guitarist - already accomplished at the age of 22 - comes from the Isle of Man, a tiny island in the Irish Sea between Ireland and England. He said his biggest influence is Rory Gallagher, a relatively obscure Irish blues guitarist. And Knowles' new album, "Coming Up for Air," hasn't hit mainstream radio, but it reached No. 2 on the Billboard Blues Chart last month and includes production from guitar legend Peter Frampton.
Knowles plays the Old Town Pub at 10 p.m. today with his band, Back Door Slam. He said people at the show can expect "lots of loud electric guitar but also some subtle moments - I think those are important, too."
Knowles and Back Door Slam played the pub in September 2008 after a gig at the Telluride Blues & Brews Festival. Tonight, they return to Steamboat Springs before a Saturday show at the Mile High Music Festival in Denver. Knowles said while traveling Thursday that he's excited to return to the 'Boat.
"It's a fun town to come back to," he said in his relaxed British accent. "The people (at Old Town Pub) are so nice, and it's such a great place to play."
This time around, Knowles is joined by new musicians. He's parted ways with original Back Door Slam members Adam Jones and Ross Doyle, and now shares the stage with two Seattle musicians: a bassist known as P.K. and drummer Steven Barci.
He said Jones and Doyle are incredible talents - the trio created the 2007 release "Roll Away" - but eventually, a change was in order.
"It was just trying to do something different and get pushed from different players," he said. "At 21 or 22, you don't want to go through the motions - you want to push yourself. (P.K. and Barci) really are pushing me in a great way."
Knowles has shared bills with heavy-hitters including The Who, Kid Rock, Lynyrd Skynyrd and George Thorogood. But he said his greatest education came from playing with the jam band Gov't Mule.
"I got to play with Warren Haynes on stage every night. That was the biggest learning curve ever," Knowles said. "Just when you think 'I'm getting the hang of this,' someone comes along who just blows you off the stage."
Knowles credits many other influences with sparking his career. His voice lit up Thursday when talking about Gallagher, who some describe as a founder of Irish rock.
"He seems like a guitar player's guitar player - the guy is so underrated," Knowles said. "I listen to more Rory Gallagher than I do Jimi Hendrix even - it's sad that people don't know him. He's definitely my biggest influence."