Reviews

Metro Arts and Entertainment
National TV & Radio Talk Show Host Bill (Baby Boomer) Bundy

“THE GREATEST PERFORMANCE EVER!”
LONNIE KNIGHT, JULY 12, 2014

Hi again everyone! Having a good summer?. . .I want to share with you the greatest performance by an artist I have ever seen. Lonnie Knight is a friend of mine, but this has nothing to do with that. It was Saturday, July 12th. I had finished a day of fun at Longfellow Market and wanted to enjoy some music. I knew that Lonnie was playing at the Riverview Café on 38th St. & 42nd Ave, so I stopped by.

I’ve seen Lonnie dozens of times and always enjoyed the night, but this night would stay with me and a couple of other dozen folks who ended up glued to their seats for 2+ hours listening to the greatest performance l have ever experienced in my life.

No one could move. We were all spellbound. Lonnie’s fingers were like poetry in motion. It was like having a front row seat watching in person Michelangelo paint the Sistine Chapel.

No one moved all night, not even for a bathroom break or another cup of coffee or glass of wine. I must tell you I have seen many up close over my 40 plus years in the music business — B.B. King, Eric Clapton and many more, but nothing compared to this night.

Do yourself a favor and go to lonnieknight.com and hear for yourself “THE MASTER GUITAR MAN!” Thank you, Sir Knight, for a night the heavens shall never forget.

Metro Arts and Entertainment
National TV & Radio Talk Show Host Bill (Baby Boomer) Bundy

“THE GREATEST PERFORMANCE EVER!”
LONNIE KNIGHT, JULY 12, 2014

Hi again everyone! Having a good summer?. . .I want to share with you the greatest performance by an artist I have ever seen. Lonnie Knight is a friend of mine, but this has nothing to do with that. It was Saturday, July 12th. I had finished a day of fun at Longfellow Market and wanted to enjoy some music. I knew that Lonnie was playing at the Riverview Café on 38th St. & 42nd Ave, so I stopped by.

I’ve seen Lonnie dozens of times and always enjoyed the night, but this night would stay with me and a couple of other dozen folks who ended up glued to their seats for 2+ hours listening to the greatest performance l have ever experienced in my life.

No one could move. We were all spellbound. Lonnie’s fingers were like poetry in motion. It was like having a front row seat watching in person Michelangelo paint the Sistine Chapel.

No one moved all night, not even for a bathroom break or another cup of coffee or glass of wine. I must tell you I have seen many up close over my 40 plus years in the music business — B.B. King, Eric Clapton and many more, but nothing compared to this night.

Do yourself a favor and go to lonnieknight.com and hear for yourself “THE MASTER GUITAR MAN!” Thank you, Sir Knight, for a night the heavens shall never forget.

The SoundHole
Bill Hammond
2013

Just wanted to weigh in here with a few words about Lonnie’s latest recording, “Portals.”

It’s really a terrific record, a great blend of originals and covers, filled with the sort of musicianship you would expect from someone as skilled and seasoned as the Lon-Man. It has a lot of emotion, too. Sonically, it is incredible for its clarity-nothing bleeds into anything else, yet there is still an abundance of warmth in the overall sound. The vocals, especially the harmonies, are wonderful, and the guitar parts are a great blend of acoustic and electric shadings. I didn’t hear a drum kit on any song, but there is much nicely propulsive percussion, just right. On bass, Reid Papke has never sounded better-just some wonderful lines, never overdone.

Plus, sixteen tracks! Wotta bargain! Order this CD or download-you won’t regret it.

Duluth News Tribune
John Ziegler
September 30, 2010

There is a burnished quality to Lonnie Knight’s music. His guitar playing—both acoustic and electric, both in his accompaniment and his linear excursions—displays a beautifully exacting feel. It’s like there’s nothing out of place. Not a note or a chord should be added or deleted, and that particular melodic phrase is precisely what the movement of the music needed.

His singing has that dark, reedy feel, like a tenor sax gliding through the changes. He’s telling his story as he dives and swerves, and it magnetically pulls you along.

Knight’s writing is deep. No featherweight pop fare here. It’s detailed and intricate. It doesn’t let you in immediately, but there is a satisfaction in scaling his wall and finding his grail.

“So We Jump” is the new release from an artist who, over his 30-plus years on the road, in the studio and behind the console, has produced or helped produce many outstanding recordings.

This is a collection of a few older tunes, some new ones and a couple of other writers’ songs that coalesce into a tightly packed whole, rich with imagery, love and affection.

“Broken Wing” has the vibe of a father talking to a newborn son, encouraging him to live life to the fullest without apology or regret. Michi Regier’s violin swirls around the melody creating smoke rings that twist up to the stars.

“Hero for Sale” begins with Knight’s liquid-toned guitar lines and uses the metaphor of a farm boy who becomes a small-time pugilist and the misery that accompanies that lifestyle.

“Miss Claudia” goes back to Knight’s days with his group Big Shoes. It gets a swingin’ little acoustic treatment here with some great guitar lines.

“Conversation with a Wrecking Ball” uses the destruction of the old Guthrie Theater as the focal point to the wider panorama of ignoring the wisdom of preserving our past.

“Homecoming” is a song Knight wrote in 1975 celebrating the West Bank of Minneapolis as an area as rich with creative artists over the years as any area in any city anywhere.

“Have a Drink with Me Suzy” colorfully chronicles what goes on in the kaleidoscope of an alcoholic’s mind as he bows to his addiction.

“In the Rain” has a solid little groove that speaks of chaos and inevitability. Knight describes our life journey eloquently and how it’s up, it’s down, but we all “end up here turning to slugs in the rain.”

Knight has been a studio guitarist (back in the heyday of the studios like Sound 80 in the Twin Cities). He has played in countless traveling bands from the Nielsen-White Band to the Hoopsnakes. He has traveled the college circuit as a singer-songwriter, and he has worked behind the console as a producer helping other artists for many, many years.

This new one is exceptional, both in its lyrical depth and its intricate musicianship. Check out this new creation, and his Duluth CD release show Oct. 9 at the Amazing Grace.

Tribute Concert Breathes Life Into Dylan Songs [Abridged]
By Tony Bennett
Duluth News Tribune
May 18, 2014

It’s just under a year now since Duluth’s favorite son Bob Dylan last rolled through town. His concert at Bayfront Festival Park last July was one for the ages, and surely one of the last times the soon-to-be-73- year-old Dylan will grace a stage in the city where he was born, given his sporadic appearances in the area. (Prior to last summer, his most recent Duluth concert date was in 1999.)

Saturday night’s tribute concert, “A Salute to the Music of Bob Dylan” was a fine stand-in for the real deal, though, and at times even surpassed the quality of the current Dylan stage show. The three-hour-plus event, held at Sacred Heart Music Center, found a huge roster of artists local and otherwise (at least one of whom had actually played with Dylan) breathing life into the songwriter’s back catalog with hits and obscurities getting equal attention. It was a fine way to kick off this year’s Duluth Dylan Fest, a week long celebration of the man and his Minnesota-informed music.

The familiar Bo Diddley rhythm of “Not Fade Away” got the crowd fired back up after a break; as the band kicked in, various members of the three-quarters-full audience kicked up their heels in the aisles.

On the band: While the night was filled with guest stars who cycled in and out of the front-person slots, the backing band was possibly the most noteworthy part of the evening. Anchored by guitarist/vocalist Billy Hallquist, guitarist extraordinaire Lonnie Knight and several others (including two percussionists), the group bobbed and weaved deftly through all the tunes, improvising where they could and providing support in just the right ways.

Knight was particularly impressive, his liquid soloing clean, fast and inspired. Easily, he could play in Dylan’s band and be much more interesting than the folks Dylan himself is currently carting around the globe. He added expression to the occasionally rote 1-4-5 song structures.

But the steady stream of guest singers was the main focus, with vocalists such as Steve Grossman, Arne Fogel and Gene LaFond taking the mic in the latter half of the evening. They all acquitted themselves well, but when Scarlet Rivera took the stage, it became all about her violin.

The former Dylan band member played on several numbers, each inspiring standing ovations from the crowd. Her lyrical, expert lines were mixed loud and proud, as they should have been, and the audience was clearly working out their love for Dylan in the way they showered her with applause. If you can’t see Bob, they seemed to be saying, this is a pretty good substitute.

Boston Globe [Abridged]
Scott Alarik
August 2005

With the release of his convincing solo acoustic CD, Better Days, I think you can hear Lonnie coming home. For years now, he’s been one of the Midwest’s reigning guitar gods, playing in some of the most successful rock, blues, country and pop bands that region has produced.

When Lonnie and I were compadres, I was just starting my career in folk music, and he was becoming the biggest star in a Minneapolis folk scene just coming to a boil. He packed all the best coffeehouses, and became a leading headliner on the legendary Bitter End Coffeehouse Circuit. Back then, you could always tell when Lonnie had passed through somewhere, because all the local pickers were playing his arrangements of the current folk standards. Or trying to.

I think there have always been two distinct types of folk songwriters: songwriters who play guitar and guitarists who write songs. Lonnie clearly fits the latter category.

But in that category, there are also two types. There are flashy, hot-licks pickers, who wrap incidental lyrics around their fretboard flash’n’dazzle. Then there are song guitarists, who mold rich, eloquent arrangements around clean melodies that live entirely on their own oxygen. Their guitar arrangements ripple with melodic detail, emotional counterpoint, color, and motion. The guitar is to them what a palette and brush are to a great painter.

Lonnie is a song guitarist of the first order. His solos are smartly conceived comments on the lyrical intent of his songs. They are never “breaks” from the song, but musical statements that move the song forward as surely as the lyrics do.

On stage, Lonnie is unassumingly charismatic, droll, and innately cool, in the way many instinctive musicians are; but with an alluring something extra I could never put my finger on when I knew him years ago. I saw him play again recently, and knew instantly what that quality was: kindness. Underneath the awesome talent, the inviting cool, the probing intellect, is a deep, genuine kindness.

But it is an honest, unflinching kindness, one that sees life as it really is. It’s not that sugary songwriter-kindness that tries to please us by pretending life is something it’s not, but a kindness tempered by the hard life he’s led. As he searches through the clutter of our disappointments, failures, weaknesses, regrets, unhealed scars, and ailing dreams, that kindness lets him see our lives as we see them, but also as the stuff of song.

I know if you hear Lonnie’s music, you’ll be awed by his guitar playing; but I think you’ll also be drawn to his closely observed, real-life poetry. And I’ll bet you end up feeling something else, too; something that cuts to the heart of why folk music continues to thrive in these fast, noisy, and often careless times. You’ll feel like you got to know someone worth knowing, someone who means the things he sings; and that in the kind, uncompromising vision of his music, you’ve heard a friend.

Mpls St Paul Magazine
September 2005

At six feet, five inches tall, guitarist Lonnie Knight is as imposing as the blues-rock solos he’s played with Twin Cities bands the Hoopsnakes and Big Shoes. Fans who think they have him figured out after years of hearing his sizzling, electric performances should pick up Better Days which, with Knight on vocals and acoustic guitar, shows off his quieter side. More James Taylor than B. B. King, Better Days proves that you don’t need to plug in to get power.

The Twin Cities Metro and Upper Midwest Regional Monthly Guide [Abridged]
Blues/BluesRock/Jazz/Soul/R&B/Zydeco
Volume 10, Issue 115
August 2005
By Patrick Courtemanche

With Better Days, guitarist and singer Lonnie Knight returns to his acoustic roots. Dating back to the 1960s band, Jokers Wild, and through his time with the Hoopsnakes and his own band, Big Shoes, Lonnie Knight has earned a reputation as one of the premier blues-based electric guitar shredders in the Twin Cities music scene.

Through nine original compositions and five choice covers, Knight’s supple finger-style guitar and “been there, felt that” vocals reside outside the shadows of labels like “Roots” and “Americana.” Better Days is all about songs — in the vein of the storytellers. Sometimes weary, sometimes yearning, sometimes resigned to (and amused by) the way things come down. In the tradition of folks like John Prine, early Tom Waits, and Tom Paxton, you just know that Lonnie Knight has lived the stories he tells; that casual feel of someone who is not out to prove anything. They just have something they need to say, and music is the only way to get it straight.

Lonnie Knight is often associated with the blues, and it certainly is the foundation of the electric style that has earned him multiple Minnesota Music Awards for best guitarist. That foundation is present on Better Days as well. The Knight-penned “Angel Headed Hipsters” opens Better Days with a blues flavor — not the live wire variety of Albert King, but the Greenwich Village picking of guys like Dave Van Ronk. More pensive is the thoughtful cover of the beautiful “I Ain’t Blue,” a song written by Knight cohorts John Koerner and Willie Murphy.

The title track closes Lonnie Knight’s new release with the conversational, intricate and deceptively effortless finger-picking guitar style displayed throughout Better Days. A major departure from the electric blues-rock approach that has made Lonnie Knight a favorite among guitar fans, Better Days is the most intimate look at Lonnie Knight yet — and he has never sounded more at home.

Review of “I WROTE MY NAME ON YOU”
Duluth News Tribune
By John Ziegler
May 29, 2008

Noted folk music critic Scott Alarik once said that there are songwriters who play guitar and there are guitar players who write songs. Though Lonnie Knight is clearly from the latter camp, his newest release, “I Wrote My Name On You,” is a showcase of tasteful, if somewhat purposely restrained guitar playing, gracing some well-written and expertly produced songs. Recorded at Arabica Studio in Minneapolis, this project is like old home week among three of the Twin Cities’ finest musicians. Friends for almost 40 years, Knight relies on studio owner Dakota Dave Hull’s engineering and good ears as co-producer of this project. Lonnie taps his equally longtime friend Peter Ostroushko to add fiddle in just the right places.

You can tell early on it’s a labor of love for all three. There’s something about the synchronicity, often achieved among talented, veteran players who like and respect each other, that can’t be manufactured.

“Just Ride the Train” is Knight’s tune about how things can change quickly in life and how, in many ways, we aren’t in control the way we would like to believe. It was a divorce and overcoming some personal challenges that gave rise to this song that says, “Sometimes you can’t do nothin’ wrong, sometimes it just don’t pay to try.”

The tag line to “Breadcrumbs” came first: “If we could drop breadcrumbs, we might find our way home.” It’s a love song for people who have been in love a lot. Think about it: Can you really say the same things in your 17th relationship that you could in your first? Phrases like “you’re the only one for me” just don’t ring true. The guitar’s melodic development on this song is just gorgeous and results in one of those tunes that mixes melody and lyric with a sense of perfection. Nothing is out of place, nothing could be added, nothing should be deleted, any change ruins the whole.

Wonderment about what is really going on globally was the starting point for “Treading Water.” The feel of the text seems to say, “We’re all just doing the best we can, though it may not seem like much, but what else can we do?” “I can’t touch bottom from here, the water’s rising and the sky is just a smear in my eyes. I see no angels, no devils in sailors’ disguise. No port of call, no landfall, no seawall.”

Fred Argir, Musician [Abridged]
September 15, 1974

Introducing Lonnie Knight and his first solo album, Family in the Wind.

When a musician has that certain trait that singles him out from the general glut of musicians, it’s easy to recognize. The ability to start that mysterious chain reaction called WORD OF MOUTH usually means that all else will follow. Lonnie Knight has had that spark for the six years that I’ve known him.

I was the editor of the Minneapolis Flag when the Jokers Wild were in their prime and I heard the band frequently. They were a breakneck lot, flamboyant and confident, the definitive flash and contempt trio. BUT at the base of that overwhelming wall of sound was a mature musical sense, a gifted and complex talent and everyone who heard the Jokers recognized it. That was 1968.

The tragedy of the Jokers Wild was their misdirected studio efforts. Their records were poor. But on the road, they were the Midwest’s major Upfront Rock group. And although the bassist and drummer were talented musicians themselves, it was always Lonnie Knight who lodged in the minds of aspiring guitarists and admiring audiences from the Canadian Border to America’s Heartland.

The following summer, I found Lonnie Knight fingerpicking an acoustic guitar and singing his own city folk songs in a Southside club. He seemed years older, and was infinitely more comfortable onstage. His impulsive and exhibitionistic streaks were coming out as music, and his performances were becoming pure expressions of himself. People loved it, and word started to get around.

Lonnie began spending a lot of time in a recording studio. He did some sessions with my group, and how well I remember coming out of a Twin Cities studio one snowy December evening with Kosmo, my bassist, who just kept saying over and over, in almost reverent tones, “God, he just filled every hole with music!

And we weren’t the only ones to notice. Soon he was gigging and recording with Mojo Buford’s blues band, turning heads as the lead guitarist on the Chad Mitchell and Friends tour, getting lucrative studio work (commercials for banks and chili and skis), and occasional album credits, like, (his words), “16 thoughtfully-executed bars on a Bonnie Koloc album.”

All the while, Lonnie was writing songs and appearing solo at the few coffeehouses and listening clubs in the Midwest. It was his success at these places that eventually freed him from being a regional ad.

First, he turned up in New York, Greenwich Village, of course. I remember seeing him in Texas, always noting one or two of our resident Texas Musical Bigwigs in the crowd (and they always seemed uncharacteristically attentive).

It was around this time that he began a running string of college appearances (four years to date), an audience that’s always been unhesitating in its appreciation of his musical wisdom and taste. I have a tape of a Lonnie Knight concert at the University of Texas and the last five minutes is solid applause. People cheering and shouting in a manner I’ve seldom heard.

So it was inevitable that he would start turning up on bills with Jerry Jeff Walker, Norman Blake, Dave Mason, Bonnie Raitt, and numerous others.

Family in the Wind shows Lonnie Knight to be the musical gentleman that I’ve always known him to be. It is sophisticated within the idiom, but it is not patronizing. Judging from initial press response and radio airplay, l am not alone in my impressions.

Yesterday, I drove the dozen miles into town (Bigfork, Minnesota) and placed an advance order for Lonnie Knight’s second album. I’ve never advanced ordered ANY record before. Not even Elvis.

Insider
March, 1975
Dan McGuire

It seems so long ago that the Jokers Wild were inflicting permanent damage on the ears of Minneapolis high school students; so long since we would leave the New York opera house after the Jokers’ last set still possessed by the insanity of “The Drinking Song” and wishing we could pound sounds out of a guitar half as loudly, and half as well, as Lonnie Knight. When the power-trio formula gave way to quieter sounds in 1969, the Jokers disbanded and Lonnie Knight set out to establish himself as a folksinger. His success in the Midwest clubs led him to a long string of nationwide college appearances, a number of second billings to major acts, and some session work for Bonnie Koloc, Chad Mitchell, and others.

But no solo album. After nearly five years of depending on word-of-mouth to spread his reputation, Knight has finally released his first solo effort, Family in the Wind, and the album should make him one of this area’s most sought after guitarists.

Throughout his career as a folk artist, Knight has been slowly but surely taking all the energy that was released as volume in the late 60s and expressing it in more subtle, more musical ways with an acoustic guitar. The sparse back up on Family in the Wind leaves many holes for Knight to fill and he fills them with clean, delicate phrases that range in style from flamenco to soft rock. The primary advantages of the album over a concert situation is that the studio affords Knight the opportunity to back his vocals with an undercurrent of guitar runs. Thus his flash is no longer confined to the instrumental breaks. For the most part, his melodies and lyrics are merely the foundations upon which he builds his compositions; the primary effect of his songs lies in sometimes brilliant but always tasteful guitar work. Despite unambitious vocals and lively childlike lyrics, Family in the Wind is a promising debut album. With that necessarily cautious first step behind him, Lonnie Knight should soon become recognized outside this area as an enjoyable and talented folk guitarist.

Minnesota Daily
November 27, 1974
Dave Christopherson

Maybe you’ve been a fan of Lonnie Knight for years. But as a recent newcomer to the Great Midwest and the beautiful Twin Cities (heh, heh), the only thing I know about Knight is that he’s rumored to be the latest local-boy-about-to-make-good on the music scene. And that I like his music.

Lonnie Knight has released his first album on the local Symposium label, and Family in the Wind consists of eight of his own acoustically flavored songs, plus sensitive readings of Joni Mitchell’s “For Free” and the fine “Pancho and Lefty” by Townes Van Zandt. In making the album, Knight has obviously put a lot of himself into the writing of his songs. They’re not strictly autobiographical, or little “slice of life” vignettes, but they do sound some deep chords. Or as Knight talks about in one of the little stories he has written on the album jacket, it’s “that sad, life-soaked music.” The songs themselves are a collection of introspective and often pensive poems caressed by lightly flowing melodies.

There’s “Childsmiles”…“and I want to be three feet tall/just a child on a wall/lost in the childsmiles/May I please, for a while?” Or the hauntingly delicate “Make Me Laugh” with some graceful violin playing by Steve Dudash. The title song is a painfully beautiful number full of despair at the loss of youth’s “sunny-skied dreams.”

For a change of pace, there’s the rollicking “Breakfast for Figaroo,” about the dog of an obnoxious youngster who first bites his master in the nose and then runs off with the boy’s grade school teacher to live together in South Carolina (and the song’s an instrumental, no less.) The only number which doesn’t quite work is “Abel,” where the busy-ness of the song and the production obscure the story of a simple farmer overtaken by age and a changing world.

Much of the album deals with the themes of the inevitable passing of time and a resulting loss of innocence; with the sad, sweet beauty of the pains and joys of life. Admittedly, these are the much used, and often abused, themes of hundreds of musicians and poets, and Lonnie Knight doesn’t really have anything startlingly new to say. But whereas in the hands of a lesser artist, material like this easily turns into pathetic slop, Knight knows where to stop, what to leave unsaid. Everything is lovingly handled, with a fine ear for nuance and details. The album is full of nice little touches—little rhythmic aberrations in the guitar playing; a softly spoken interjection in the middle of “Pancho and Lefty”; the one line on the whole album that Gus Dewey sings, joining in for three seconds of harmony on “For Free.” Nothing exactly earth shattering or terribly original, but it’s all carefully thought out and nicely done.

Mention should be made of Knight’s instrumental prowess. On the album, he plays mandolin, bass, synthesizer, dulcimer, and of course electric and acoustic guitar. While he is technically adept, and plays some intricate figures, none of it is done for gratuitous flash. Instead, the guitar work fits in with and supports the whole character of the songs themselves. And while Knight doesn’t have a really “good voice,” it also seems to fit in well with the music.

Knight hasn’t chosen the easiest market to break into commercially, as there seems to be quite a surfeit of singer/songwriter/acoustic guitar players these days. But this is a fine debut album and I wish him the best of luck.

Twin Cities Blues News
July 1999
CD Reviews
By Mia Barker

Lonnie Knight:
Big Shoes – Roommate Records

Lonnie Knight is not what you’d say to be a traditional blues man. I thought the music on his new CD, Big Shoes, had an eclectic resonance which is more what I’d tend to call contemporary blues. Yet Knight does pull from the traditional blues on his first track, “Ride The Train.”

He produces cool, smooth vocals, and his guitar playing is dynamic. Next he winds down with two beautiful ballads, then moves on, intermingling several more upbeat and slow tracks to wrap up his CD. Knight plays from the heart and soul. I thought each composition is unique in its own way, pulling from a variety of musical influences. Some tracks I could hear a heavy blues influence, others had a little more rock, pop, and folk persuasion. I also thought his use of metaphors in his lyrics paint the imagination vividly. A few songs I especially enjoyed on his CD are track one (Ride The Train), track four (Love Is A Foreign Language), and track eight (You Keep Running).

Lonnie Knight is not new to the Twin Cities music scene. He began playing with Jokers Wild and City Mouse. He stepped into country music for a while and played with Wild Horses and the Nielsen-White Band. Then he eased back into his origins as the former lead guitar player for the Hoopsnakes. His musical talent and guitar playing have been touching listeners since the 1960s. In 1974 and 1975 he burned two albums for Symposium Records, Family In The Wind and Song For A City Mouse. Knight has played with a variety of bands, as well as performing solo, and has won a few Minnesota Music Awards.

If you like a more contemporary blues rhythm, Lonnie Knight’s new CD, Big Shoes is one to check out. Also, Lonnie has been performing at quite a few Twin Cities venues, such as Blues West, Famous Dave’s, Spanky’s, Inn Kahoots, Whiskey Junction, and many others. If you want to hear him live, you can find his schedule or locate more information on how to get his new CD at his web site, www.lonnieknight.com.

Aquarium Records

Aquarium Records proudly announces the release of Cains Blood, the second album from Lonnie Knight and Big Shoes. Fourteen new songs, 7 written by Lonnie, plus songs from John Martyn, Son Seals, Michael Johnson, Jeremy Radjenovich, Charlie Erickson and Bruce McCabe.

This CD is an excursion into the blues and beyond. Lonnie’s writing blends traditional blues modes with contemporary rhythms and progressions, and intelligent, thoughtful lyrics.

At the core of the CD lies the rhythmic brilliance of Marc Bohn on drums and Reid Papke on bass. The album features keyboard work from Scott Greenwood, Tim Wick, Dale Hefner, Chuck Love and Billy Barber, and the powerful harp work of Billy Steiner. Minnesota legends City Mouse stop by to growl on a couple tunes, and there is a haunting vocal interlude from Andra Suchy. Topping the whole thing off are Lonnie’s honest vocals and amazing guitar work.

Fat City Flashes
1975
By Billy Steiner

Things finally seem to be falling into place for Lonnie Knight lately, not that he doesn’t deserve success, but in his diverse career, which has spanned more than the last ten years, not only has he developed a reputation as a brilliant guitarist and talented singer songwriter, but also as a controversial performer who dazzles some people in a crowd while at the same time coming off to others as an abrasive smart aleck.  Lonnie Knight’s stage personality, if at one time inconsistent, is never boring.  I mean, just look at him, with this Fryo boots on, he must approach the six-foot seven mark, and he’s skinny as a rail, with a flaming orange mane of hair and fingers that appear to be six-inch whips of dexterity. His stage presence can be awesome, and as of late, it usually is.  His September appearance at Orchestra Hall was a strong success, perhaps a turning point in his career.

Last week, one week before the release of his second album, he nearly stole the show at the National Entertainment Conference in Ohio, an important gathering of college entertainment directors and booking agents. Knight was the performer who drew the rave reviews, the encores and the standing ovations. As a result of this performance, he already has a tour in the making for January, which will take him to campuses in Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, New Jersey, and down to West Virginia.

His new album, Song For a City Mouse (on the Flashlight label), is much stronger and more mature than his first uneven effort, Family in the Wind. His voice has improved noticeably, his use of the studio shows experience and more confidence and, of the album’s ten songs, seven were written by Knight himself, and they’re excellent tunes with intelligent lyrics.  If the lyrics sometimes tend to be introspective and self-conscious, it’s a trait that he shares with the likes of such artists as Paul Simon, Jackson Browne, or James Taylor. His main theme is the desire to stay young.

I know that I may stand to be criticized as being too biased in my opinion, too close to the man (or “the Kid” as he sometimes refers to himself) to be objective in my writing. However, I was first drawn to him several years ago because of what I thought was an overwhelming talent. In the ensuing years, we’ve done a lot of playing together, and we’ve been through a lot of emotions together. I know him as a great friend, as well as a very sensitive and very talented artist who is only beginning to show the vast potential which I believe him to be capable of. And who would know better than a friend?

Cash Box
Song for a City Mouse – Lonnie Knight
Flashlight 3002
January 10,1978
Producer: George Hanson

Song for a City Mouse is an easy on the ear collection of country flavored folk songs that work by virtue of their simplicity. Lonnie Knight’s soulful vocals spearhead a light instrumental backing that allow the voice to effectively deliver the message. All cuts are suitable for middle of the road and easy listening outlets as well as having AM considerations. Top listens included There is a Dog in Rockford, Long John Was a Sailor, Song for a City Mouse and Blues in Blue.

The Minneapolis Star [Abridged]
ENTERTAINMENT
John Bream
November 19, 1975

Pop musicians and recording studios thrive in Twin Cities.

In the past year or so, pop albums by Twin Cities-based artists recorded in local recording studios have flourished. No discernible “Twin Cities sound” has characterized these records but the albums have been marked by professionalism in both performance and production. Without exception the records have been unpretentious, worthwhile endeavors, not merely self-indulgent tinkering by some rich kids in a recording studio.

Lonnie Knight is one of the best local folksingers. In the mid-’60s he played with local rock bands such as Jokers Wild before switching to folk music and working with the Chad Mitchell Trio, Mojo Buford Blues Band and folksinger Bonnie Koloc.

Song for a City Mouse is Knight’s second modest, well-done album. The production is neither elaborate nor spare. Knight has a pleasant voice and a delightful Midwestern sensibility. The original material, written by Knight and other local songwriters, is skillful. The tender love song Homecoming is Knight’s best lyric.

The Insider
Live at the Extemp
1975

Re: Lonnie Knight’s songs on the compilation album – Next Best Thing to Being There and Little Town

The next two cuts feature Lonnie Knight, who has two solo albums behind him, and is perhaps one of the better known songwriter/singers around town. Two songs are quite definitely not enough to hear what Lonnie can do, but they are two good songs. His lyrics are outstanding, “but I know what I see each time I open my eyes, just another day of miles and another mile of lonely whys.” In the same song, “l need a place in the world, I need a place in the sky, but I’m too late for caterpillars and I’m too soon for butterflies.”

The Knight-Henley Band Review
Gramma B’s
April 30th
Ned Whittemore

Thursday night at Gramma B’s really lived up to its reputation as the “original two for one club.” Not only were the drinks two for one, but there were two floors of entertainment, two live bands, and at least two versions of at least two songs, on different bandstands. Of the two bands, the Knight-Henley Band was the more enjoyable, managing to get a good groove going downstairs, despite a very unresponsive crowd.

Fronted by Lonnie Knight and Mark Henley, this band is a breath of fresh air in the typically cluttered bar band sound. Pulling from a grab bag of originals and classic rock standards, they produced a clean, tight sounds, free from the excess baggage most bands throw at you these days.

One of Knight-Henley’s strong suits is their ability to extract the essence of widely varied styles of music, and reproduce the tone and mood of the originals exactly, while still adding their own flavor. This ability came across Thursday night, as was displayed in their rendition of the Door’s Love Me Two Times also played upstairs – two times!), where Knight’s echoplexed guitar intro brought you right back into the ‘60’s, and in Jackson Browne’s Running On Empty, where drummer Tom Eckoff sounded exactly like Jackson himself. These are only a few examples. Throughout the night, they effectively changed their entire sound in order to fit the intended mood. This is rare indeed.

Their song choices matched the taste with which they were performed: Zevon’s Poor, Poor Pitiful Me; The Kinks You Really Got Me; Springsteen’s Born To Run; Elvis’ Little Sister. On guitar, Lonnie Knight displayed good control of color and style, both in his lead and rhythm work, always taking care to fit his ideas and tone with the mood of the piece. His solos were often nicely spruced up by Bill Busch’s harmonized keyboard accompaniment, which added a great deal of class and body, pulling the lengthy solo flights back into the fold. The vocal harmonies were always clear, and often surprising in makeup – dissonant, but fitting and fresh.

It was an off night for the band, however, mostly attributable to the crowd, which was very dead. Errors in timing are not significant here, though. These guys really have a good idea of what music is all about, and on a hot night they could conceivably burn up. Catch ‘em.

Connie’s lnsider
Vol. 1 No. 30
By Connie Hechter
June 8 -15, 1968

JOKERS WILD PRESENT FIRST RATE SHOW

I had the occasion recently to catch the Jokers Wild for the first time; they were playing at Magoo’s.

To say that I was pleasantly surprised would be an understatement. The band presented a completely satisfying audio and visual image.

First off, the trio was extremely colorful in its Nehru-like costumes, and the sight of their equipment on stage was worth the price of admission alone. I have never seen so many amps piled atop one another for just three guys. ln the center of the amplifiers is a complete, shiny set of drums, with cymbals standing at least seven feet high on all four corners of the drummer’s domain. I mean, I have seen many bands set up before the job, but have never witnessed a spectacle of equipment for a trio as offered by this band.

The audio end on the set was just as pleasing. They have a repertoire of good pop standards coupled with some original material. Most of the music is in the semi-psychedelic bag, and I would like to hear this band perform more standard, or non-psychedelic tunes.

Lonnie Knight and Denny Johnson are the two giants in the front line, playing lead and rhythm respectively, and Pete Huber is a human explosion on the drums, reaching out for his cymbals as one would reach out to swat a fly off a giant’s forehead.

Several club owners witnessed the act with me, and we all agreed that this band could be one of the major music forces in this market within the year.

They should be up for “Best Band” at next year’s Awards, if their fortunes are kind.