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Sonny Knight & the Lakers

An interview with Sonny Knight

Sonny Knight & the Lakers Artist's Facebook
by Teri Barr
July 2014

Wow. It’s all I can say following my conversation with Sonny Knight. The Twin Cities-based musician will be playing AtwoodFest 2014 in Madison on Sunday, July 27th, and I have more than just circled the date. It’s not just the incredible talent of Knight and his band, but his enthusiasm won me over. And here’s what makes you want to support what’s happening with Knight—who tells ms he wakes up every morning, grateful for another day. Though agile, and young looking, Knight is 66 years old. Yup, 66 and just getting his first taste of what it’s like to find success in the music business. He took time to tell me more about what kept him connected to music all these years, and why he’s looking forward to playing his first Madison-area show. And it will be one you won’t want to miss.

Maximum Ink: You are getting a lot of attention for this current project, how does it feel to be recognized for your music?
It feels great! I am hanging out, jammin’ with cats half my age, and I love it. I’m finally getting this chance to pursue my lifetime dream.

MI: So music has always been your goal?
As a kid growing up in the South, it was always about Gospel. I was little but already on a big stage at church. And as I grew up I played with different bands; but was most interested in funk and soul. There was some success here and there, but nothing like this!

MI: Did you ever feel like giving up on your dream?
Sure, and I did give up on a few things along the way. I started driving truck as a regular, steady job. But I never stopped singing. I sang with the radio, or a record obtuse stereo. And I’d find a karaoke bar in every town to just keep on singing.

MI: And you met your drummer, Eric Foss, almost by accident?
This group has only been together a year and a half. We met through a regular Funk and Soul Show, and Eric asked about putting something together. He had a plan, and made me feel like I was an important part of his idea. He also helped create this big, new sound, which quickly led to writing and recording our debut album it came out just a few months ago. I’d recorded with others over the years, but this is different. It’s magical!

MI: Now you’re touring to support the new music. Have you ever played in Madison before?
No, but sure looking forward to it. We just played a few venues in Milwaukee and Chicgo, and all I could think was how cool! As a trucker, I’d driven through so many off the places on our summer schedule. So it’s great to get this chance to come back, and to be on stage. We are headed to Europe for more new shows this fall.

MI: Isn’t there some belief, if you can make it to Europe, you’ll then become popular in the U.S.?
(Laughing) I have heard that! But I guess for me it’s also about staying healthy. I pray for another day and just feel blessed to get it. Our album “I’m Still Here” is all about being present every day, and making the most of this special opportunity. Hopefully I can also be an inspiration for others—you just can’t give up!

MI: And it means no more truck driving?
Yeah, and I don’t miss it, though I am thankful for all it gave me. But doing our music allows me to leave something behind for future generations to enjoy.

MI: And not just in the future! Your music is here and now..
I guess if I do nothing else after this album and tour, in my heart I finally feel I’ve made it. I am with an outstanding group of talented musicians who show me so much respect, and I love them for it. But they probably don’t know I believe they are my heroes. They helped me make a 60-plus-year-old dream come true. We can’t wait to share it with you in Madison.

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