I’ve often joked that if I managed to make it to Heaven, I’d want my own horn section whose job would be to follow me around and punctuate my conversation with James Brown-style R&B call-and-response awesomeness.
More realistically, I’m constantly on the lookout for new bands that reach back to that classic soul sound and drag it (sometimes kicking and screaming) into the 21st century. Some bands try, succeed a little, then peter out (I’m looking at you, Red Hot Chili Peppers), while others, like Sonny Knight and the Lakers, do right by the Godfather of Soul.
I was just the other day turned on to Mr. Knight and his band thanks to longtime friend and Codorus Press shaman-in-chief Wayne Lockwood, player of excellent music, writer of remarkable words and finder of fine things. Apparently, they’ve been touring and performing since 2013, so how I managed to overlook them is anyone’s guess, but I promptly ventured to Spotify to track these gentlemen down and was richly rewarded.
Take a soul-infused sexagenarian truck driver and a band full of musicians who’ve mastered the art of that classic R&B sound but who look like … well, who look like me, really, and throw them together and this is what you can get – bass-and-horn driven, sweaty roadhouse soul that transcends time and musical taste and just lays it down.
As much as you might prefer modern pop, classic rock or alternative/indie (all of which have their time and place), I feel like this type of group – based on the power of the live show, will endure. Here’s hoping that Sonny and his Lakers will keep up the fight of the true funk soldiers and carry on the sound.