2010 was the year when I first heard Back Door Slam, a group of boys steadily digging into the blues rock scene not only playing their songs but also classic tunes. Being British, they were heavily influenced by Rory Gallagher and embody elements from Celtic music. From then to now, Back Door Slam’s frontman, Davy Knowles, ventured into a solo career based in Chicago. After The Outsider (2014), Three Miles From Avalon (2016), and the EP 1932 (2017), he’s now launching What Happens Next, his fourth solo album.
“Light Of The Moon” is a single released in July 2021. This song represents the new approach that Davy took throughout his new album, keeping the blues rock essence, but also letting some modern and old-fashioned features blend into the music. Beyond the guitar riffs, you can perceive some elements, either synthesizer or wah-wah melodic lines bringing a discrete funny air to the songs. “Heartbreak Or Nothing” comes in the same way, although it has a more compassed rhythm and a bolder chorus.
“Roll Me” is a ballad where Davy explores the vocals with more emphasis. “Get Lucky” puts the album back to the rock rails, digging into a paced guitar riff. Slowing down again but in a steadier way “Devil And The Deep Blue Sea” has nice chord sequences, ornamented with effects like tremolo, reverse delay, and a slide solo. The first song of this album that is an actual reminder of the Back Door Slam’s old times is “One & The Same”. It’s a well-written song with breathtaking verses, a powerful chorus, and solos.
Continuing with the guitar riffs, “Solid Ground” and “Side Show” lie over a unison, rarely disturbed in the interludes. “River” starts with power chords on the piano and gradually turns into a folk song, with the support of the acoustic guitar, melodic vocals, and beautiful guitar solos. “Hell To Pay” explores a nice chords sequence, with bass & drums making a cohesive basis by which the guitars and keys flow freely. “Wake Me Up When The Nightmare’s Over” has a rock anthem feel, with exciting verse and lyrics. Davy also keeps a tradition throughout his albums, since he always includes an acoustic song, in this case, represented by the calm and meaningful “If I Ever Meet My Maker”.
I always had the impression that the album’s recording process (or producing) ends up not showing all the energy and power of Davy’s songs. For that reason, I always also had the perception that his songs sound better when played alive. Despite that, What Happens Next adds very good songs to his catalog. What Happens Next shows that Davy, by his own efforts and talent, is becoming a blues rock mainstay.
The Review: 8.5/10
Can’t Miss Tracks
– Devil And The Deep Blue Sea
– One & The Same
– Hell To Pay
– Wake Me Up When The Nightmare’s Over
The Big Hit
– One & The Same