Sonny Knight, a Mississippi native who grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota, developed his love of music going to church as a child. Now retired from his day job as a truck driver, Knight is touring his fresh sound with the group The Lakers, and will visit the Fox Cities P.A.C.
as a kickoff to our Spotlight Series this November. Check out what he had to say about the show in this Q&A.
What first made you interested in music?
I think first of all it started way back down south when I was a kid. I went to church with my grandma and when I went to church we’d see these gospel quartets and one guy singing and I found that fascinating. I’m not much of a guitar player but I started messing around with that and I developed an ear for singing and started listening to lots of music.
You go by Sonny Knight- where did you get “The Lakers” from?
The Lakers, you know, the basketball team, was in Minnesota (in the 50s) but actually it’s quite different than that. Since it’s the Great Lakes, a laker is a kind of ship that stays in fresh water around the lakes. Plus, the studio was on Lake Street so there’s that dual meaning.
Your focus for your album as well as performing is the feel of live music. What makes that so different than something that’s recorded?
I believe in giving people what you hear on the record. I don’t think somebody would want to go somewhere and hear something different. We try to give people the sound exactly the way it was recorded. Lots of energy, feeling in the song and different things like that. No matter how big or how small the crowd, it will be the same show all the way around.
I pride myself in doing that and putting a lot of feeling into the songs we do. I like to get the audience involved because that’s what I’m there for and to have fun with the audience and making sure they are having fun! I guess I’m kind of like the host on the trip of the musical voyage and I will be your steward. How may I serve you today? That’s how we do it.
Finish this sentence: I’m most excited to visit Appleton because I hear…
I’ve always liked Wisconsin. Being a (retired) truck driver I didn’t get to see half the things I do on tour. I’ve always had a curiosity to go to Appleton and this time to play I get to meet the people and see a little bit more than what I’d normally see.
What can people expect when they come to the show?
They can expect to see high energy group playing good songs, a well-rehearsed group, join in to sing along and have fun dancing. It’s a good show all around. We’re looking forward to coming to Appleton to play. When I’m there come up and just say hi.
Don’t miss Sonny Knight and The Lakers
Nov. 17 at 7:30 p.m. in the Kimberly-Clark Theater. Tickets are $30 and are on sale now