Band of Friends, a music celebration of blues rock guitarist Rory Gallagher, arrives in Newport this week

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Group of friends

If he hadn’t died from a liver transplant in the mid-1990s, influential Irish blues / rock guitarist and singer Rory Gallagher would have recently turned 71. Taste (who has performed with artists like Jimi Hendrix and Cream) his work with Albert King and Muddy Waters throughout the extensive solo career that he turned down jobs with the Rolling Stones and Deep Purple to launch in the early years. 70s.

There are still regular celebrations and tributes to Gallagher all over the world, including the touring and rotating group of friends, which was formed earlier this decade by bassist Gerry McAvoy. Since his debut, the musician, who worked with Gallagher for 20 years and appeared on his 14 solo albums, anchored the project with fellow Gallagher collaborator, drummer Ted McKenna, who died in January of complications from the routine surgery for the hernia he underwent. decided to undergo between tour cycles.

For the band’s current tour – which kicks off Thursday, March 7 in Newport, Southgate House Revival, Ky. (Click here for ticket information) – Mike Hansen will serve as drummer.

The trio are led by another newcomer to the fold, Blues / Roots / Rock guitarist Davy Knowles, who is now based in Chicago but raised on the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea, just between the Great Brittany and Ireland. (He started performing with Band of Friends last year.) Raised on a steady diet of guitar music that included Eric Clapton, Dire Straits, and John Mayall, Knowles also absorbed a Celtic influence, which helped him to establish an even deeper connection with Gallagher.

“Rory Gallagher understood Celtic influences, being an Irishman, and I saw that too where I was growing up,” Knowles said in an interview with the Seattle Post-Intelligence in 2008. “We were only 50 or 60 miles off the Irish coast. So I had this great Celtic influence growing up. And when I heard him incorporate that into his music, that’s where I really got into it.

While it is by definition a tribute to Gallagher, playing material from his entire career, in a press release for the current US tour, McAvoy points out that Band of Friends is not a “tribute band” by heart.

“The interpretations of the material can be quite spontaneous and unique,” ​​he says. “This is not a note-for-note replica of Rory’s material or concerts from decades past, but his influence and spirit permeates everything we do.”

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