ABOUT THE ARTIST
Singer-songwriter Lonnie Knight may joke that “Legendary is just another way of saying ‘…been around a long time,’ ” but the lanky Minnesotan is one of those rare musicians who has truly earned the title Legendary. He got his start as a folkie, learning from the likes of Townes Van Zandt. Then he played in some of the Midwest’s seminal rock bands, including Jokers Wild, the Nielsen-White Band and the Hoopsnakes. His recent CDs Better Days (2005) and I Wrote My Name on You (2007) brought him back to his acoustic roots, and with his newest CD Portals (2015), his music is inspiring a whole new generation of fans.
Knight has long been known as a stellar guitar player – he’s won several Minnesota Music Awards for best guitarist – and his playing has been likened to Richard Thompson, Patty Larkin, Bert Jansch and Brooks Williams. But his great songwriting also comes to the fore in his recent releases, and his songs reveal a gifted artist getting a whole new creative wind.
He first picked up the guitar at the age of 12, and discovered it was something he was better than most at. He was working as a studio musician at Minneapolis’ Sound 80 Recording Studio and touring nationally on the Bitter End College Coffeehouse circuit when the late producer George Hanson (Leo Kottke, Art Resnick, Robin & Linda Williams) took a liking to his music and produced his first two albums, Family in the Wind and Song for a City Mouse.
In the 1980s, Knight joined up with acclaimed songwriter Mark Henley to form the Knight-Henley Band. They became producers for WrenSong Publishing in Nashville, and that led him to stints playing with Wild Horses and the Nielsen-White Band. The ‘90s saw Knight joining the famed Hoopsnakes, founded by Bruce McCabe. In the latter part of the decade, he signed with Aquarium Records, which released his CD Big Shoes in 1999 and Cain’s Blood in 2001. He moved to Mosquito Shoals Records in 2005, releasing Better Days, followed in 2007 by I Wrote My Name on You and So We Jump in September, 2010. His latest CD, Portals, was released in November, 2015. His CDs are available on CDBaby, Soundcloud, Apple iTunes and many other physical and virtual locations throughout the world. Lonnie’s early albums Family in the Wind and Song for a City Mouse were recently remastered and released on CD in Asia, and his entire catalog of material with Jokers Wild has been remastered and released on CD and vinyl in Europe.
Lonnie was a tireless and joyful performer. His loyal and enthusiastic fans consistently turned out for his solo gigs, his duo with Reid Papke on bass, regular monthly shows with the aptly-named blues band, Smokin’ Section and acoustic quartet Mosquito Shoals.
Lonnie toured Japan in 2013, as a solo act and guitarist for Don Nix. He was also a featured member of the Salute to the Music of Bob Dylan ensemble that performed annual benefit concerts for Guitars for Vets
Read what Lonnie’s peers, fans and others say about him.
ABOUT THE PROJECT
Long before Lonnie’s cancer diagnosis, I said I wanted to make an album comprised entirely of Lonnie performing his originals, including all the lyrics. Lonnie and I were planning that project when his fight with cancer was lost. Without Lonnie, of course, that dream was not to be realized.
I couldn’t let go of the desire to make more of Lonnie‘s music available for the enjoyment of others. Eventually, my original idea was modified to creating an album containing performances reflective of Lonnie’s career; with originals and covers not on his previous albums; containing a variety of genres; and representation of every decade.
Knowing of their admiration of Lonnie as well as their history of creating world class albums of their own, I asked for help from our friends, Richard Grossman and Madeleine Hart. Without hesitation, they enthusiastically agreed. I gave Richard a potential song list, created from some of the recordings I have of Lonnie‘s live performances – and the process began.
All songs on the album are special to me and/or what I understand to be special to other groups of people. Of particular significance to me is “If I Go.” The lyrics were written for me by Lonnie on 4-2-16, one day after his cancer diagnosis. He started developing the music a few days later. The song was completed in Dec. of 2017 after Richard further developed the music and recorded it.
My wish is that this album brings pleasure to all listeners, and especially to those whose lives touched Lonnie’s in such a positive way.
– Patti Patton