Davy Knowles, Alex Wilson head up Lakeland College Summer Solstice Music Festival
by David Gallianetti
Talented young blues guitar artist Davy Knowles and his band will headline an evening of great blues on Friday, June 21, at the inaugural Lakeland College Summer Solstice Music Festival.
Wisconsin’s own Alex Wilson Band will appear as special guest and get the music started at 5:30 p.m.
Both bands might be familiar as both have played at Buddy Guy’s Legends, and Knowles has opened shows for Buddy several times, most recently at Milwaukee’s Summerfest in the summer of 2009.
Lakeland is located in a beautiful rural setting near Lake Michigan in Sheboygan County, about an hour north of Milwaukee and about two hours north of Chicago.
Admission is free and open to all. The show will be held under a tent outside Lakeland’s Campus Center. Brats, burgers, beer, soda and other food and drink will be available for purchase.
The show is co-sponsored by the Grafton Blues Association and the Lakeshore Blues Society.
Learn more at the festival website, http://lakeland.edu/musicfest.
Knowles has released two highly-regarded top three Billboard Blues Chart albums – “Roll Away” and “Coming Up for Air,” the second produced by guitar legend Peter Frampton. This summer, he will be featured as part of Frampton’s Guitar Circus tour, which includes some of the biggest guitar names in the business. Knowles was ranked #6 on Gibson’s Top 10 Modern Blues Guitarists.
He has played more than 450 shows, both as a solo artist and as the frontman for the band Back Door Slam, and toured with the likes of Jeff Beck, Warren Haynes & Gov’t Mule and Sonny Landreth. He’s played some of the country’s biggest music festivals including Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits.
He’s been working on some new music and has a new album set for release this year. He said the Lakeland show will include some of his new work and a mix of fan favorites.
Knowles’ career has been all about living out his dream of following in the footsteps of his musical heroes – Rory Gallagher, Mark Knopfler, Eric Clapton and John Mayall – and travelling the world, especially the U.S., as a full-time musician.
A “Live from Melbourne” CD and a DVD of his “homecoming” concert in his homeland of the Isle of Man were recently release. After four years of relentless touring, Knowles took his foot off the gas a bit and has been spending some time exploring new ideas.
“The first four years was a whirlwind, but I loved putting in so many hours on the road,” he said. “It was such a great learning curve, and the road is still where I most want to be. But I began to realize that I’d been working so hard I had no real time to find myself, and perhaps I had become the sum of my early influences.
“I increasingly felt I needed to step off the roller coaster and explore and try finding a bit more of myself in my music. Hopefully that’s what is happening now.”
Knowles said his new material will demonstrate his love of blues and Americana, but the envelope will be pushed. He’s excited for the next phase of his career and looks forward to hitting the road again this year.
Learn more on the website and get access to music at http://www.facebook.com/
Wilson is a versatile musician who effortlessly switches between genres. He plays everything from sweet Beale Street blues to West coast swing. From hard Texas grinders to stone cold Chicago grooves with a feeling that’s said to be timeless.
He picked up the guitar at five years old and never put it down. By 17 he began to dig deep into the blues, learning the songs and styles of masters such as Buddy Guy, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Little Walter, Jimi Hendrix and Magic Sam. By 21 he had joined Milwaukee’s Blue Rubies and was performing regionally while still playing part-time with his own band.
In the mid-2000s, Wilson began to focus solely on his own project, and in 2007 his band won the WAMI (Wisconsin Area Music Industry) Award for blues group/artist of the year. After playing a series of shows in Beijing with Grammy nominated blues harmonica player Charlie Musselwhite, Wilson returned to the states to find himself a triple nominee for the WAMI Awards in 2008 and winner of the award for guitarist of the year. He won again in 2009 and 2011 for blues artist.
In 2011 and 2013, the band competed in the prestigious International Blues Challenge in Memphis, finishing in the top eight in the IBC finals at The Orpheum Theater both years.
His long-awaited and freshly nominated debut CD, “Tell Me Why,” has been released on Rathskeller Records.
Learn more on the web and get access to music at http://alexwilsonband.com.