Sometimes the next big thing is the thing that has been there all along. In the mid-60s, Minneapolis-based singer Sonny Knight released his first record, Tears On My Pillow. During the seventies he sang in the Minneapolis-based cult-classic R&B band, Haze—after which music took a back seat to Knight’s main profession as a long-haul trucker.
That changed four years ago when Secret Stash Records released Twin Cities Funk & Soul, a collection of lost R&B music recorded in Minnesota during the ‘60s and ‘70s. The smash hit compilation spawned a live soul revue comprised of music and musicians featured on the record, including Knight. Audiences were blown away when the 60-something Knight revealed a honeyed baritone, with a pinch of sass, like a great vintage decanted at the peak of maturity, coupled with an innate ability to work a room. An immediate sensation, Knight was soon heading his own band, The Lakers, young dedicated purveyors of old-school R&B with bookings throughout the US.
Sonny Knight & The Lakers rocked Spaulding Auditorium on Thursday, July 7, in the second concert in the Hop’s summer Free For All series—free, family-friendly events intended to open the Hop to wider audiences. Three more Free For All events remain: a screening of Finding Nemo (July 21), a free outdoor concert by the Quebecois trio De Temps Antan (August 4) and a screening of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (August 11).
Knight and The Lakers’ horn section. Photo by Rob Strong.
Here’s what some audience members shared about the show on written feedback forms!
“Great band! Great voice!” (White River Junction, VT).
“My boyfriend is a huge fan of Sonny. I loved getting to see a new artists perform.” (Colebrook, NH).
“Makes for a good (and cheap!) date night.” (Lebanon, NH)
“The shows in this series are awesome and I like that they bring the community of all ages together.” (Hanover, NH).
“Get Sonny back here again! Best concert ever!” ( Hanover, NH).
“Free music to introduce kids to—a bonus for future Hop patrons!” (Thetford, VT).
“I like this music. They are great! And free is good, too!” (Grafton, NH).