BLUES star Davy Knowles returned home to the island this month to visit family, play a secret gig and discuss the artwork for his new album.
Starting out in island band Back Door Slam, the singer and guitarist from Port St Mary now lives in the States where he is firmly carving himself a career as a number one solo blues artist.
He is quite settled in the city of Chicago where he met his fiancee Amber but the Isle of Man will alway be home.
Following a white Christmas with Amber’s family (they alternate each year), Davy made a new year visit back to the island and only a few days later word of a secret gig at The Bay in Port Erin spread like wild fire.
The event, which took place on Thursday, January 17, was in aid of Manx singer Katherine Crowe who is raising awareness and funds for alternative cancer treatments.
Kath has terminal cancer which cannot be treated by conventional methods.
‘I heard about Katherine Crowe and her Smile EP campaign for a Christmas number one,’ said Davy, ‘and she’s just an incredibly talented, wonderful artist, absolutely stunning.
‘But her story is just heartbreaking, she’s such an incredible inspirational woman and I was coming back to the island and felt it would be such a big big honour to be part of her campaign.’
With the help of island musicians Simon Campbell, Steve and Lindsay Rowe, Danny Kneale, David Lang, Christy DeHaven, Chris Honour, Bruno Cavellec and even his dad Tony, the impromptu gig raised more than £700.
Being based in the States now, playing an intimate gig on homeground must feel a little different to the concerts he has become accustomed to.
‘Actually, it’s a little more nervewracking than American audiences,’ he said, ‘You just want to make sure that you do good, but it’s nice to be back again in the Bay, playing where I used to play an awful lot. I have fantastic memories of playing here and cutting my teeth, learning, so it feels great.’
The singer spent about a week in the island, mainly visiting his family but also meeting with French-born artist Bruno, who played at the gig and is working on the artwork for Davy’s new album. ‘He’s just incredible, absolutely amazing,’ said Davy.
The new album is due out shortly with plenty of touring to follow later this year.
‘It’s nearly finished,’ said the singer, ‘It’s been a long process, nice to take some time off from being on the road and getting into a creative space.
‘Writing and recording is so different to touring so it’s been a good opportunity to experiment. It’s been a challenge and it’s taken a long time but I’m really proud of it and hopefully we’ll have it out in the spring.’
Although he has lived in the States for several years, Davy still remembers, loves and needs his roots in the Isle of Man.
‘I’m really lucky to have two homes,’ he explained, ‘Chicago is just a great place to live. The States is really where most of my work is so it makes sense to be out there. It’s a wonderful life.
‘But at the same time I get very homesick and I do miss the Isle of Man tremendously.
‘I owe absolutely everything to this place. I really got nurtured by some incredible people and I have a very strong connection with it. So when I come back it’s like really charging the batteries.’
By Lottie Ray