Knapp renovates ‘Decay’ for new CD

“Decay in Our Cities” has gotten a renovation.

Warren blues rocker Damian Knapp originally released the album in 2010 with his five originals joined by covers of songs by Bob Dylan, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Big Jack Johnson and Roosevelt Sykes.

Working on his 2018 album “Maui in the Sun” inspired Knapp to start writing again and revisit some of his past work.

“From working with Mike Talanca (at Tune Town Recording Studio in Newton Falls), I learned an ear for production,” he said. “I have a certain way I want things to sound. With the blues album, I took the five originals from the 2010 version, did some retracking and remixed it the way I thought it should sound. Then I added eight new original blues songs.

“Another goal of mine, the 2010 version was never released outside of this area. I wanted to do a full-length original blues album that I can shop.”

Knapp has dabbled in different styles over his career, but the blues have remained his primary passion. Making a blues album reflects that passion, but there are practical reasons as well. Blues fans are loyal — they go to the bars and clubs to hear the music they like and they buy CDs.

Knapp shows an affinity for a wide range of acoustic and electric blues musically, while being less of a traditionalist lyrically.

“I don’t write songs about picking cotton and riding trains. I never did that,” Knapp said. “The lyrics I write are stuff about my life here in the Rust Belt. All of these songs have Rust Belt themes. I’m more of an observational writer. I like to write about my experiences and my life. Dad (the late Peter Knapp, who was a member of the band I Don’t Care) was more of a philosophical writer. He’d write real abstract, sort of grandiose things. I just write what I see.”

“Late Night Rock and Roll Sideshow” is about growing up going to see local bar band rockers Bill Scudier and Sideshow, “$3.99” is a blues lament about rising gas prices and “Nobody Wants to Budge” (co-written with Steve Acker) is about the current political divide.

“We’re very good friends and work together, but we argue all the time about politics. We decided, ‘Why don’t we write a song about it?'”

Knapp will celebrate the new “Decay in our Cities” with a CD release show on Saturday at the Little Wing Cafe, 2750 Mahoning Ave. NW, Warren. It’s also his 45th birthday. Music runs from 7 to 10 p.m. There’s no cover charge and the CD will be available for $10.

Knapp will be backed by Bob Bacha on drums and Gary Mills on bass.

“We’re going to play an all-original show, acoustic and electric,” Knapp said. “I’ll play with the band and play solo acoustic. I’ll do songs from all my records — ‘Maui in the Sun,’ everything from ‘Decay,’ even a few Machine Gun Mary songs.

“I’m going to play a lot of material acoustic that no one’s ever heard before. I have a lot of songs I’ve been compiling for the last month or so. I’m really looking forward to putting on a show Saturday that showcases my originality.”

• The Covelli Centre is partnering with Hollywood Gaming Mahoning Valley to create a new club seat section at the downtown Youngstown arena.

Seats in sections 204 and 205 at the Covelli Centre will be designated as the Hollywood Gaming Club Seat Section, offering premium sightlines and VIP access to arena events.

According to Jordan Ryan, director of sales at the Covelli Centre, the partnership will enable some updates at the arena while showcasing a premium seating area.

Club seats will be available at a $50 discount through April 26.

• The new Youngstown Foundation Amphitheater next to the Covelli Centre announced its first four shows last week and added a fifth (Gucci Mane on June 22) this week.

It hasn’t been announced yet, but the tour schedule for hard rock act Puddle of Mudd on its website has the band at the Youngstown amp on Aug. 11. According to Pollstar’s website, Puddle of Mudd will be joined by Sponge, Saliva, Tantric and Trapt.

Sometimes bands have bad information on their websites, so nothing is official until it’s official, but there could be an announcement within in the next few weeks.

Andy Gray is the entertainment writer for the Tribune Chronicle. Write to him at agray@tribto day.com

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