"In the long heritage of UK blues, Mayall, Clapton, Gallagher, Davies, Korner, et al. have left some big shoes to fill. Davy Knowles has now been trying them on for over 10 years, and with Three Miles From Avalon, he’s slipped into them most comfortably.'" - American Blues Scene Magazine
"This album is a powerful and compact explosion of blues" - Blues Rock Review
"His guitar riffs are clear and flow like hot mercury" - Music Junkie Press
Hot on the heels of 2014's The Outsider, the full-length documentary Island Bound, and an extensive tour schedule, Isle of Man-born Knowles looks forwards with a collection of new songs marking a return to his roots and the sounds that first ignited his passion for music. Recorded exclusively in his adopted hometown of Chicago, the capital of electric blues provided Knowles with a landscape steeped in legend, inspiring him to creatively explore the genre of music he’s always loved - energetic, guitar driven blues-rock.
Knowles began the recording process for Three Miles From Avalon with a fresh approach, one that has resulted in a dynamic, gutsy sound. He offers, "I wanted to go back to the basics. The band and myself have racked up a lot of playing time together, and we have really started to gel. I wanted to capture that ‘live’ feel in the studio”. This led naturally to a back-to-basics approach, and a search for authenticity when it came to recording the new material. Knowles reveals, “My favorite sounding records are certainly older ones, recorded to tape, with minimal fuss or overdubs. I wanted that lovely warm, vintage sound that only tape and glowing tubes can do.”
A raw, vintage sound is evident in the album’s opening two tracks, the hard-driving "Ain’t Much Of Nothing" and the live favourite, "What You’re Made Of", a homage to one of Davy’s musical heroes Rory Gallagher. He offers, "Rory has been a huge influence for me, his energy and drive was so mesmerising. I wanted to get back to that high energy, big guitar riff style of writing.”
The album's third track "Falling Apart" adds dark drama to the record’s driving pace with its smoky verses and heavy, snarling, blues riff. Knowles reflects, "I’ve had this song kicking around for a long time, but it wasn’t until I had found this guitar pedal called ‘The Octron’ (one of only two pedals used by Knowles on the entire album) that the song and the riff really came to life, it’s got this wonderful menacing sound.”
Storytelling has always been a vital ingredient in Knowles’ work, and the repertoire introduced on Three Miles From Avalon continues this legacy of introducing indelible characters to the listener's mind. Weaving a moment of pathos into the track list is "Oxford MS" – a fictional account of shady dealing and violence. Knowles offers, "Songs with characters and stories have always grabbed me, and I wanted to write one in the blues and gospel vein. This one specifically is a story of blackmail, gambling and regret, though certainly not an autobiographical one!” The title track itself brings forth a personal reflection through songs which the artist states, "is really all about being slightly further away than where you want to be, and the frustration that comes with that. Avalon is this Arthurian legend, the Island that could never be found. It became my metaphor for things just out of my grasp.” The song also reveals the musical influences close to Davy’s heart, showcasing his love of blues and classic rock with affection.
The album closes on a hat tip to one of the all-time greats, Willie Dixon, with a re-working of his blues classic "What In The World." Performed with a live, ‘after hours’ feel, the track showcases Knowles’ confident and distinctive guitar playing, but also a powerful solo on the Hammond B3 by Andrew Toombs – demonstrating that Knowles and his tight-knit band all possess not only stunning technical ability, but soul too. There is no question that this long road Knowles has travelled finds the artist passing through a crossroads with clarity focused on the destination he strives to reach. Perhaps not as unattainable to reach as this fictional, mythical place he metaphorically alludes to in title.