|“When he sings of ‘major truths in minor keys’… we know not only what he means, but how he feels.”
critic Scott Alarik writing about Lonnie Knight
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 at LonnieKnight.com, CDBaby.com, through Apple I-Tunes 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.
Currently Lonnie's schedule includes solo performances, his duo with Reid Papke on bass, and monthly shows with blues band Smokin' Section and acoustic quartet Mosquito Shoals. Lonnie toured Japan in 2013, as a solo act and guitarist for Don Nix. He is a featured member of the Salute to the Music of Bob Dylan ensemble that performs several annual benefit concerts for Guitars for Vets.
In the works is a compilation CD of Lonnie's songwriting over the years, including a number of never released songs... a release of the Sound 80 "lost sessions" from the 1970's, and a "live" in studio CD from Smokin' Section.