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 The award-winning trio Band of Friends: A Celebration of Rory Gallagher is making its long-awaited debut in the United States with a series of tour dates April 5–24. A highly-influential Irish blues-rock legend listed 57th on Rolling Stone’s list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time,” Gallagher’s legacy will be honored live on stage by the former Rory Gallagher Band rhythm section of Gerry McAvoy (bass) and Ted McKenna (drums), as well as blues-folk-rock prodigy Davy Knowles (guitar, vocals), who is teaming up with Band of Friends for the first time ever for this run of American dates.

Band of Friends’ impressive live show—which includes Gallagher favorites such as “Bullfrog Blues,” “Moonchild,” “A Million Miles Away” and “Overnight Bag,” to name a few—has garnered numerous accolades in the UK and Europe, including the 2013 European Blues Award for Best Band, the 2015 European Blues Award for Best Musician (McKenna) and the 2016 Dutch Blues Award for Best Guitarist (Marcel Scherpenzeel, Band of Friends’ guitar player and singer for the majority of their EU dates).

“Make no mistake, this is not a tribute act,” says McAvoy, a native of Belfast who worked with Gallagher for 20 years from 1971 to 1991, and played bass on all 14 of his solo albums. McAvoy has also played with Deep Joy and Nine Below Zero, and has released a pair of his own solo records. His critically-acclaimed 2005 memoir, Riding Shotgun, details his career and life on the road with Gallagher.

“This band is a celebration of Rory’s life and music, performed by those who knew him personally and worked alongside him professionally,” McAvoy continues. “And we’ve been fortunate to be accompanied by some of the world’s top guitarists—players who came up listening to Rory and studying every last detail of his singular style.”

Growing up in Cork, Gallagher rose to prominence as a teen in the mid-1960s as the frontman for Taste, a popular Irish blues-rock and R&B trio that regularly shared the stage with legendary contemporaries like Cream, Jimi Hendrix, The Who and Yes, and toured North America with British supergroup Blind Faith. He would later turn down offers to join The Rolling Stones and Deep Purple to in favor of a solo career.

Emerging as one of Ireland’s top music icons alongside Van Morrison and Thin Lizzy’s Phil Lynott, Gallagher became a beloved international folk hero whose electrified blend of Chicago and Delta blues, scintillating slide work and earnest songwriting style led to over 30 million albums sold worldwide. With both Taste and his solo bands, Gallagher earned a reputation for delivering high-energy, marathon live sets. Boasting seemingly effortless command of his instrument, he was voted Melody Maker’s #1 guitarist in 1972 over Eric Clapton, who once credited Gallagher for getting him “back into the blues.”

Sadly, Gallagher passed away in 1995 at the age of 47, leaving in his wake countless guitarists who were inspired by his incendiary playing, workmanlike aesthetic and humble, no-nonsense approach to the music business—including high-profile names like Brian May, The Edge, Johnny Marr, Slash, Joe Bonamassa and, of course, Davy Knowles.

“It’s a pleasure and an education to be playing with Gerry and Ted,” says the 30-year-old Knowles, who shares many of Gallagher’s principal traits—including being a down-to-earth, self-taught virtuoso and devoted student of the blues. “I grew up listening to those two on Rory’s records, and to be playing his music and celebrating it with them is an absolute honor.”

Hailing from the Isle of Man, Knowles relocated to America a decade ago, shortly after garnering acclaim as the frontman for buzzworthy blues rock band Back Door Slam, and performing at major US festivals like SXSW, Coachella and Bonnaro. Knowles’ debut solo album Coming Up for Air soared to number 2 on the Billboard Blues Album Charts in 2009, and his third solo album, Three Miles from Avalon reached number 5 in the first week of its release in 2016.

Knowles has been praised by guitar authorities ranging from Joe Satriani, who described him as his "new favorite modern-day bluesman," to Peter Frampton, who dubbed him “the gunslinger guitarist of the 21st century.” He has toured with a number of rock and blues heavyweights, including Frampton, Bonamassa, Jeff Beck, Buddy Guy, Warren Haynes, George Thorogood, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Who, and the Sammy Hagar/Joe Satriani-led supergroup Chickenfoot.

“It’s been a joy working with Davy,” says McKenna, a native of Glasgow, Scotland who recorded and toured with Gallagher and McAvoy from 1977 to 1981, and has also played drums for The Sensational Alex Harvey Band, The Michael Schenker Group and Deep Purple’s Ian Gillan, among many others. “He’s such a fantastic guitar player, and he’s got that spark—he’s captured Rory’s spirit and enthusiasm on these songs.”

“We’re really looking forward to playing in the States after all these years,” McKenna adds. “It’s going to be an unbelievable tour.”

For more information visit: www.bandoffriends.eu

Band of Friends - April 2018 US Tour Itinerary:

April 5: Boca Raton, FL - The Funky Biscuit Club
April 6: Sanford, FL - The Alley Club
April 7: Jacksonville Beach, FL - Seawalk Pavillion
April 8: St. Petersburg, FL - Vinoy Waterfront Park (Tampa Bay Blues Festival)
April 11: Annapolis, MD - Rams Head on Stage Club
April 12: Alexandria, VA - Birchmere Music Hall
April 13: Wyomissing, PA - The Inn at Reading Ballroom - (Boscovs Berks Jazz Fest)
April 14: New York, NY - Iridium Jazz Club
April 15: New York, NY - Iridium Jazz Club
April 16: New York, NY - Iridium Jazz Club
April 18: Pawling, NY - Daryl's House Club
April 19: Bay Shore, NY - Boulton Center
April 20: Fall River, MA - Narrows Center
April 21: Natick, MA - TCAN Center - Center for the Arts
April 22: Old Saybrook, CT – The Kate - Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center
April 24: Evanston, IL - Evanston Space

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