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Soul Men: Sonny Knight and The Lakers to perform at CLC

Sonny Knight and the Lakers, a Minneapolis-based powerhouse band, will take the Chalberg Theatre stage at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 20 at Central Lakes College. Submitted

The soul, gospel and the rhythm and blue sounds of Sonny Knight and the Lakers, a Minneapolis-based powerhouse band, will take the Chalberg Theatre stage at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 20 at Central Lakes College.

The show is part of the Central Lakes Community Performing Arts Center's Cultural Arts Series.

In a press release, Patrick Spradlin, director of the series, stated: "Vitality is defined as the power to live or grow, and perseverance pertains to the qualities of moving forward when an obstacle stands in your way. The music of soul man Sonny Knight brims with these essential life traits because he exudes them."

Along with his seven-piece powerhouse band, The Lakers, the 68-year-old retired truck driver has created a sound that extends much deeper than throwback soul.

Knight's vast array of life experiences inform a worldview that give him a different perspective on the song writing, expressive and storytelling process. While he was enamored with gospel music during his youth, which eventually led him to recording his first single in 1965, he soon found himself exploring other opportunities.

The band's first album, "I'm Still Here," debuted in 2014 and came to fruition much sooner than anyone expected—Sonny Knight and The Laker's released a live double album the following year. Now, the band's sophomore studio set, "Sooner Or Later," explores themes of overcoming adversity, love found, love lost and societal observation.

Where their debut might be likened to steering a bike before turning the pedals, considering how they wrote and recorded it before road testing their songs and individual strengths, their latest effort sees the wheels fully in motion.

With performances across the United States and Europe in theaters, performing arts centers, festivals and night clubs, Knight and the band have tightened their unity and discovered what each member brings to the table that can further the collective's playing. By doing so, the group was able to gain a greater understanding of what their best material was through performing it on the road night after night. What results on "Sooner Or Later" is a rarity by today's recording standards. Of the 10 songs that were taken into Secret Stash's brand new studio, all made the final cut. Rather than track a bunch of material and pick out the best parts later, Knight and the band hit the studio knowing exactly what the record would be, perfectly encapsulating a snapshot in time for the artist.

By focusing less on so-called groove makers and more on the songwriting process, Knight and company harnessed the power of the different genres that came together to shape what we have come to know as soul music over the last 50-plus years. Gospel, country, and blues were all melded into a record that takes you on a journey through life's questions and emotions via nine originals and a cover of Lonnie Mack's "Why."

In the past year Sonny Knight and The Lakers have collaborated with James Brown alumni Fred Wesley and Jab'o Starks, produced their own live soul revue for Minnesota Public Radio at The Fitzgerald Theater, home of A Prairie Home Companion, starred in their own PBS special airing throughout the nation in early 2017 and released their sophomore studio album, "Sooner Or Later."

Tickets for Sonny Knight and the Lakers are available online at www.clcmn.edu/arts

or from the CLC box office 218-855-8199. The show is sponsored by Birchwood Therapy Services of Baxter.

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