Review of "SO WE JUMP"
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.
John Ziegler has worked for 36 years in the music industry as a radio host, interviewer, record producer and professional musician.