MANX blues guitarist Davy Knowles returned to the island from America especially to play at The Garden Party festival in Onchan on Saturday night.
Joined by his family, the Port St Mary musician enjoyed the fundraising music festival in Begoade Fields before headlining on stage.
‘It’s just amazing to be back,’ the rocker told the Examiner in an interview ahead of his show, adding: ‘It’s incredible. I just don’t get back often enough. I live in Chicago now but this will always be my home and where I’m from.
‘I’m having a big family reunion and it’s great to see all the people I grew up with.’
Talking of life in Chicago, Davy said: ‘It’s a wonderful place to base myself.’ But he added: ‘It’s taken me about a year and a half to get used to the train system there. I’m really rubbish – I have no sense of direction whatsoever. I’m still like a little Manx country boy.’
The Garden Party 2011 was in aid of Naseem’s Manx Brain Tumour Charity. The event raised more than £12,000.
‘This festival is a wonderful thing for the Isle of Man,’ he said. ‘To see how successful it is already in it’s second year – it’s such a wonderful cause too.’
Since he moved to the States four years ago Davy’s music has steadily matured. He is now planning material for a third album.
‘From a technical aspect I’ve been able to play with some incredible players and that’s really pushed me to become a better musician,’ he explained. ‘Also, with my song writing, I’m older and more aware. I’ve seen more things and learnt to have my eyes open more looking for different things to write about. I hope I come across a bit more interesting lyrically in the new songs.’
On Saturday night he played his set with a variety of island musicians – The Very, Very Bad Men, Anna Goldsmith, Christine Collister and Christy De Haven. The crowd were treated to the first ever performance of the anthem song Davy has been commissioned to write for the Commonwealth Youth Games. He will perform Reach Higher at the opening ceremony of the games which take place in Douglas in September.
Davy was also surprised by the appearance on stage of four astronauts who have flown to the International Space Station, one of whom was Nicole Stott, wife of Manx space businessman Chris. Davy had provided music for them in space via a satellite link. They presented him with a framed image of space memorabilia.