16 January 2008

Breaking the rules with Back Door Slam

Breaking the rules, see, because it's not Music Monday (a guideline I set for this blog mostly to keep myself and Courtney from spending every day pimping some new band we're crazy about), but our long work-and-holiday-enforced radio silence on this blog is starting to give me hives, and needs must.

Something people may not know about me is my deep and abiding love for the blues. My parents are both from Mississippi, and I was spoon-fed on the blues from an early age. In my house, we aren't much for hanging family portraits on the walls; instead, we have framed photos of blues musicians. I used to pretend they were my relations - SRV was my dad's wayward brother, and I felt sure that BB and Lonnie Brooks were my kindly old grandpas. Blues, to me, is late nights half off your tits on whiskey and big cigars, watching some guy shred his guitar on a stage five feet away; it's Sunday afternoons spent cleaning the house with the windows thrown open and Texas Johnny Brown or Muddy Waters on the stereo loud enough to be heard from three blocks away; it's regular Monday nights back in Austin in college, drinking cheap beer and dancing with old men.

So when I first heard about Back Door Slam, I was interested in checking them out at last year's SxSW. I figured they'd be entertaining, and even if they weren't, blues-singing teenagers from the Isle of Man are enough of a novelty to be worth checking out. Apparently I wasn't the only person with that idea, as their venue ended up being so crowded that a good half of us were standing on the street outside. And, let me tell you, it was worth it. BDS are some sort of unholy love child of SRV and Hendrix, with maybe some parenting done by early Cream. They are fantastic. Lead singer Davy Knowles shreds the guitar like I shred cheddar for omelets, and, at eighteen, already has the low, smokey voice of a true bluesman. When I sent my friend Mere my list of bands to see at last year's ACL, Back Door Slam was underlined, hilighted, emboldened, italicised and accompanied by at least 5 exclamation marks. That's how impressed I was by them.

Lucky for you, if you haven't seen BDS yet, or have and crave some more, they're embarking on their second US tour right now. (Ah, the energy of youth.) You can check out their website (Back Door Slam Online) for more tour info.

And, as just a taste, here are two BDS youtube vids. The first is a promo video for their first US single, "Come Home." The second is the much-lauded cover of Hendrix's "Red House" from their SxSW 2007 showcase.



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