Damian Knapp/Blues
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Damian Knapp/Blues

Band Blues Singer/Songwriter


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The best kept secret in music


"'Hellhounds and Hot Foot Powder' CD Review"

July/August 2005 Volume 16 Issue 4
By Marguerite R. Marsh

Damian Knapp's CD, 'Hellhounds and Hot Foot Powder', honors the masters. His steel guitar is busy paying its respects to those who came before him. Included are Robert Johnson, Blind Willie Johnson, Son House, Skip James, Charlie Patton, and Muddy Waters covers. The songs take us back to an earlier era. The basic rhythms are evocative of hard times, when music was one of the only ways these men could tell their stories.

Damian loves the Delta blues and it shows in his song selection and his mastery of the steel guitar. His love of the music, and the artists who brought it to him, is evident in his interpretations. All of the songs have a story to tell and Damian and his guitar do them justice. He even includes an acappella cover on track 3 - "Grinnin in Your Face" by Son House. The track is just Damian, his clapping hands and the powerful lyrics of the song.

According to the liner notes, Damian explains that once he found Robert Johnson, he began seeking out artists from the same era. He chose these sixteen tracks for a reason. As he states in closing, "The music that we play shoud reflect how we feel, as these songs do."

I think that Damian has fulfilled his mission. If you like acoustic guitar and Delta blues, this CD is for you!
- Columbus Blues Alliance

"CBA Featured Musician"

July/August 2005 Volume 16 Issue 4
Interview by Marguerite R. Marsh

Damian Knapp has spent his life around "really good" music. His father, Peter Knapp, was a musician. Peter formed the band 'I Don't Care', and performed with national acts such as Bruce Springsteen, Dr. John, and Captain Beefheart. Peter introduced the young Damian to a wide variety of music, mostly Jazz and Rock, with a little Blues thrown in. Damian remembers listening to early Tom Waits, Bruce Springsteen and Miles Davis with his father. Damian's mother preferred music by the Beatles.

But it was a neighbor who introduced him to the artist that would help him find his voice. And begin his love affair with the blues.

Damian was eleven years old when he discovered Robert Johnson. The 1961 Columbia vinyl album his neighbor gave him persuaded him to buy his first guitar. Starting with Johnson, Damian has listened to many different artists including Johnny Winter, Albert Collins, and Buddy Guy. What inspires him is the "good music' all of these artists produce.

When talking with Damian, the conversation turns to the blues or his father, who was a huge musical influence. It took a while, but Peter finally convinced his son to compose and sing his own songs. At the time, Damian was happy playing his electric guitar in his own band, 'Fester Presley', and letting others sing. But something his father said stuck with him - "Damian, I'd rather see you be a shitty artist than a great copy cat."

And so a songwriter was born. Damian and his father, Peter, collaborated on an album, 'The Knapp Album', which Damian describes as "more spiritual". The reflective songs took on new meaning when Peter passed away shortly after completing the songs. Damian does not think it was a coincidence, and the lyrics prove it. "As soon as he showed me the music, he died."

With 'The Knapp Album' completed, Damian returned full time to his first love - the blues.

When performing, he prefers acoustic Delta Blues and songs by artists such as Son House, Skip James, and, of course, Robert Johnson. He also likes to share the folk lore he has learned about the artists and their music between songs.

Damian lives in the Youngstown area but travels frequently to Columbus and often to perform. He appreciates the support of the Blues community here - playing at both the Creekside Blues and Jazz Fest and the Comfest this summer. Damian also performs regularly at the CBA Sunday Jams at the Thirsty Ear Tavern (4:00-8:00 pm).

Damian's description of the blues says it all - "There is something about the blues. When you play it, people respond. It communicates, it transcends race and gender. I knew a Chinese boy who spoke no English, but he played the guitar in a blues band."

His personal statement as an artist is a lyric from 'The Knapp Album' - "Art is truth and the absence of fear."
- Columbus Blues Alliance "Bluespaper"


Final Justice-2002 Hellhounds and Hot Foot Powder-2003
Will You Cry When I Die?-2006
Goin' To Realsville-fall of '06 or early '07



Damian Knapp has been performing as a singer/guitarist for the last ten years. In January of this year, he travelled to Memphis,TN to perform at the 2006 International Blues Challenge. In 2005 and '06, he headlined the Columbus, Ohio 'Comfest' at the Russell St. Garage downtown. Also, he performed on the acoustic stage at the 2005 'Creekside Blues and Jazz Festival' in Gahanna. On October 9th of last year, Damian won the Columbus Blues Alliance's Sixth Annnual Blues Challenge, in the acoustic category, and earned a trip to Memphis,TN to perform on Beal St. On February 28th, Damian performed at the 11th annual Columbus Traditional Acoustic Blues Festival, sharing the bill with national acts Paul Oscher(Muddy Waters), Colin John, Michael Hill, and Daniel "Slick" Ballinger, as well as regional favorites Mike Lenz and Biersdorff and Kolbe. In the 2005 July/August issue of The Columbus Blues Alliance "Bluespaper", Damian was the 'Featured Musician' and his blues CD, 'Hellhounds and Hot Foot Powder' was reviewed. The review stated, "Damian loves the Delta blues and it shows in his song selection and his mastery of the steel guitar. His love of the music, and the artists who brought it to him, is evident in his interpretations. If you like acoustic guitar and Delta Blues, this CD is for you!" Damian has appeared on the cover of the CBA "Bluespaper" three times in the last year, and is a regular in the 'BluesCam' (photo page) section of the paper.

'Will You Cry When I Die?', Damian's new CD, was released in January of 2006, through CDbaby. His new CD is a collaboration between Damian and his father, Peter Knapp. After years of quarrel and estrangement, they reunited in the summer of 2003. They spent that summer writing music together, when Peter died suddenly on October 16th 2003, just weeks before they were to begin recording. Damian then spent the next two years recording thier vision, a singer/songwriter vibe with blues, jazz, reggae, and classic rock sounds. For sound clips and information about this project, visit: sonicbids.com/damianknapp or www.damianknappmusic.com

Damian released 'Hellhounds and Hot Foot Powder', his tribute to the Delta Blues, in early 2003. He explains in the liner notes that once he discovered Robert Johnson, he began seeking out other artists of the same era, and it shows on his CD, with covers by Charlie Patton, Son House, Tommy Johnson, and Muddy Waters. After recently travelling to Clarkesdale, Mississippi(the home of the Delta Blues), Damian has plans to release a new blues CD in the fall, featuring photography from the delta, classics from the 20's and 30's, and four new original tracks. Stay tuned for details. 'Goin' To Realsville' is the new title of Damian's upcoming acoustic blues release.