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Shirley Massachusetts - Information and Local Guide to the Town

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Davy Knowles

Former "Back Door Slam" frontman Davy Knowles has a brand new album, "Three Miles from Avalon," to be released this Fall. 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.

Hailed by Peter Frampton as, “The Gunslinger guitarist of the 21st century” Davy has been hitting Festivals like Lollapalooza, Memphis In May, Bonnaroo, and Austin City Limits, and touring with legends such as Beck, George Thorogood, Peter Frampton, Buddy Guy, The Who, Warren Haynes, Kid Rock, Lynyrd Skynryd, and Joe Bonomassa. Knowles has created a unique Rock/Blues sound that caused Joe Satriani to call him “My favorite modern bluesman.”

Knowles grew up in the Isle of Man, UK and learned guitar by listening to Gallagher, Clapton, Knopfler, Green and Mayall from his father’s record collection. Arriving in America age 19 with his band "Back Door Slam," and an acclaimed debut album, he recieved rave reviews at SXSW 2007. (“I heard the spirit of Jimi Hendrix “ - Patrick MacDonald, Seattle Times). From that dynamic introduction he proceeded to make a significant impact across US media, with memorable TV performances on Jimmy Kimmel and Good Morning America, and a three year run at radio with the singles 'Come Home' from the debut album "Roll Away" and 'Tear Down the Walls' and 'Coming Up For Air' from the Peter Frampton produced sophomore album. Both albums topped 3 Billboard Blues Charts.
In 2011 Knowles's song "Reach Higher" was the official anthem for the Youth Commonwealth Games, and in 2012 his 'birthday' tribute to Woody Guthrie - a stunning electric version of Pastures of Plenty - was released in aid of “WhyHunger?”  
From the very start Knowles earned the respect of fans, media and musicians alike, including some of his own musical heroes such as the aforementioned Peter Frampton, Joe Satrianni, and Warren Haynes. British Blues Legend Bernie Marsden (Whitesnake, Moody Marsden Band) is another fan: “Davy Knowles continues to amaze me - he's still so young and yet he plays, writes and sings with such maturity… He's a rare bird, one I will continue to watch and study."  

Davy's brand new album, "Three Miles from Avalon," is already causing quite a stir with critics: "Chicago based Davy Knowles is at it again... Dripping with classic blues riffs and intricate guitar work, this is exactly what we have come to expect from an artist who has not one, but two, top three billboard blues chart albums. This newest venture Three Miles From Avalon does not disappoint. My favorite track “Oxford MS”, a story song of violence and torment pushes this album from amazing, to astronomically amazing. Meanwhile, “Never Gonna Be The Same” sounds like Knowles stretched the south side of Chicago all the way down to the bayou. It has a slick and humid sound that leaves you sweating for more. Moving right along we have the albums namesake, “Three Miles From Avalon,” which creates a downbeat whirlpool that pulls you in and keeps you there. This album is a powerful and compact explosion of blues that brings together the classic sound of Chicago with southern and delta blues."

VIDEO 1 with Peter Frampton & Sonny Landreth       VIDEO 2  with David Grissom and Lance Lopez 

When: Jan 20, 2017 8pm in Shirley, MA

John Davidson


Born in Pittsburgh, PA, John Davidson graduated from White Plains High School, White Plains, NY, and then graduated with a BA in Theater Arts from Denison University. His Broadway debut was playing the juvenile lead in Foxy, starring Bert Lahr. He received a Theater Guild award for Curly in Oklahoma! More recently, he returned to Broadway starring as Able Frake in Rogers and Hammerstein’s State Fair. Off-Broadway, he has starred with Morgan Fairchild in High Infidelity and as Old Henry & Bellamy in The Fantasticks. In regional theaters, John’s favorite roles have been The Wizard in Wicked, Father in Ragtime, Cervantes in Man of La Mancha, Harold Hill in The Music Man, Teddy Roosevelt in Bully!, King Arthur in Camelot and Billy in Carousel.

When John First arrived in NYC, television producer Bob Banner was responsible for broadening his career as a television variety host (The Entertainers, The Kraft Summer Music Hall, and the Golden Globe Awards), Las Vegas headliner (Las Vegas Hilton, Riviera, Desert Inn, MGM, Caesar’s Palace) and motion picture singer/actor (Disney’s The Happiest Millionaire, and The One and Only Genuine Family Band).

John has recorded 12 albums, co-starred with Sally Field in the TV sitcom The Girl With Something Extra, and played the role of Matt in The Fantasticks on The Hallmark Hall of Fame. As a television host, John’s credits include numerous beauty pageants as well as That’s Incredible, The New Hollywood Squares, The 100,000 Pyramid, and a total of 10 weeks of guest hosting The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.
John is the author of the autobiographical play Father, Son and Holy Ghost, and the educational book The Art of the Singing Entertainer. John has 3 children and 5 grandchildren. His wife Rhonda is a watercolorist. They live in the Berkshires in western MA.

When: Jan 21, 2017 8pm in Shirley, MA

The Willie J Laws Band


"The Last Prophet of the Funky Texas Blues"

If you haven't been to a Willie J. Laws concert, you really need to check this one out. Think Robert Cray meets B.B. King while visiting Jimi Hendrix. It can't help but groove you. Fans who are longtime concert-goers say "Where has this guy been?" Willie will make a believer of you in the first 10 minutes. After that, you're in for the ride. And what a ride it is. With over 25 years of performing experience, he has traveled the world making music. Raised in the Gulf Coast of Texas, Laws developed his "funky blues" guitar and vocal sound in Texas roadhouses and juke joints. He'll blaze through Texas Blues and R&B, Tex-Mex Tejano/Conjunto, Louisiana Zydeco and Country. His influences are eclectic, rooted in Texas music tradition but uniquely American roots.

Over the past 25 years Willie has performed as the house band at The House of Blues in both Las Vegas and New Orleans as well as Margaritaville in the "Crescent City." He performs nationally and internationally with the Grammy award-winning Tejano band "Los Texmaniacs." While living in Texas, Louisiana, Nevada and California he repeatedly opened for BB King, Etta James, Buddy Guy, Willie Nelson, Hall & Oates, Lynyrd Skynyrd and numerous others. He was mentored by, and toured throughout the U.S. with, the late Blues great and Texan, Phillip Walker, which you will definitely hear in Willie's playing style. We are now lucky to have him living in MA, traveling from NH to NYC to Texas and beyond, playing his hardcore, authentic Blues with a twist of Zydeco, R&B and Funk.

When: Jan 27, 2017 8pm in Shirley, MA

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About Shirley, MA
Shirley is a rural industrial town located on the lowlands of the Catacoonamaug River. A handful of colonists arrived in 1720 and settled on scattered farms throughout the town.

Early in its history Shirley was supported by its many farms and orchards. There was an increase in industrial activity around 1790 and the first paper mill was opened followed shortly after by a small iron works and nail factory.

The location of the water to power industries served to create an industrial village along the narrow valley where Shirley is located. Many of the period brick towered mills still survive and create an authentic period landscape.