From the Isle of Man to Chicago, a musician creates a “free space”

Few Americans have made it to the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea off the northwest coast of England. Chicago-based musician Davy Knowles calls him home.

“I grew up in a village called Port St Mary on the Isle of Man in the British Isles,” says Knowles, a rock and blues songwriter and guitarist who embarks on a 15-date eight-town tour in South. Bend, Indiana. Friday. “It’s a beautiful, calm and friendly place, just a fantastic corner of the world. I feel, and have always felt, lucky to have been raised there. There are a lot of things that I miss.

Chicago and Knowles are approximately 3,700 miles from the Isle of Man, which is located almost equidistant between England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The Isle of Man is an autonomous crown possession under the supervision of the British Home Office and is not part of the United Kingdom.

About 85,000 people live on the island which is only about 30 miles long and 10 miles wide. It is the only nation designated as a biosphere by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Such a designation was made to recognize the Isle of Man’s unique environment, culture, heritage and economy and the desire of its people to cherish and nurture them.

The island’s tourism website invites travelers with picturesque words that can make it clear why Knowles is missing his homeland.

“Whether it’s with your family, friends or loved ones, reconnect on the Isle of Man this fall,” says visitisleofman.com. “In the far north lies a city of hidden delights where secret coves await and strange creatures roam. Covered by emerald hills, sapphire waters and scenic drives, there is much to discover. Trace history through crumbling walls and lost exhibits; let yourself free the past from its place, watch it play out. Waves flock to the coastline, bringing stories from a world beyond the Irish horizon, uttering stories from a nest of Gaelic languages.

Knowles, who released a new album What happens next Oct. 22, said going back to Port St Mary to play is “always an absolute blast”. He fondly remembers a lot of fun at Christmas shows at the village hall.

Port St Mary, located on the south-eastern coast of the island, has a pretty sheltered sandy beach, the island’s website says, and inland and outer ports where fishing and sailing boats are moored and fishermen cast their lines from a breakwater.

Knowles reveals his favorite spot on the largely treeless island which boasts a rocky coastline, steep cliffs and a mountainous central region, including a peak, Snaefell, over 2,000 feet above sea level .

“My favorite spot is sitting on top of Mull Hill, facing the Calf Strait,” he says. “It’s always the place I went to first when I got back. It is calm, peaceful and breathtakingly beautiful. It clears your head and renews you.

Knowles also cherishes his travels in America and his Chicago home. His first trip was to the west coast, about 5,200 miles west of the Isle of Man.

“When I was 19, I moved to Los Angeles – a world far from what I was used to,” he says. “At first it was fun, exciting. Eventually I realized it wasn’t for me. I just don’t have a competitive mind, and you need that to survive there. It has become lonely and isolating. I met my wife a few years later in Chicago and ended up moving there. It can be a great place, I have so many happy memories, and there is a great community of musicians here that is a lot less competitive than in LA or Nashville.

Knowles says Burlington, Vermont, Denver and Philadelphia are also special places for him. His shows have been well received in Burlington and Denver, and Philadelphia is fondly remembered.

“I took my dad to America a few years before he died, and he ended up performing on stage with us at a New Years Eve show at World Cafe Live in Philadelphia,” Knowles says. “It is now a precious place. “

City life, however, may not be permanent.

“The older I get, and now with two kids, the more I want to simplify and slow down the pace of life a city imposes on you,” Knowles says. “I don’t know how long we’ll be living in turmoil. “

Travel can be very demanding and exhausting for a musician. Knowles shares his vision of life on the road.

“I have certainly suffered burnout a few times, and the only cure is to pull yourself away from it, look back on what you’ve done wrong and learn from it,” he says. “Eating well is so important. It’s easy to get stuck in a late night fast food rut. I am a vegetarian now, and this discipline has helped me enormously. Find something to get you out of the bus / hotel / venue rut. I’m a big record collector who will make a concerted effort to find a cool record store in a town and get lost in it for half an hour. Create a head space.


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