Record Label: Secret Stash Records
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 7-piece powerhouse band, The Lakers, the 68 year-old retired truck driver has created a sound that extends much deeper than throwback soul.
After the band's 2014 debut album, I'm Still Here, 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 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 US and Europe in theaters, performing arts centers, festivals and night clubs, Sonny 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, Sonny 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+ 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.”
Knight’s vast array of life experiences inform a worldview that give him a unique 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. From a deployment in Vietnam to a job as a long haul trucker, that it hasn’t been a linear path has made him a more attuned performer. Combining this hard-earned experience with a vivacious band whose members are half his age, the songs and performances are a perfect blending of observation, promise, and energy, thanks in some part to their collective globetrotting adventures playing for audiences of many different backgrounds.
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Joseph Abajian (DJ Jab) founded Fat Beats in 1994 with nothing more than a shoestring budget and an earnest obsession with the music, the culture, and the brotherhood of New York’s burgeoning rap scene. What began as a simple vinyl shop in Manhattan’s Lower East Side quickly became an integral hub for artists, both aspiring and established, to convene and collaborate on new projects. Joseph’s timing couldn’t have been more impeccable. When the 90’s cultural zeitgeist – and, in turn, the music industry establishment – chose hip-hop as its new arbiter of cool.
International tourists and touring artists alike flocked to Fat Beats for rare vinyl, kindred spirits, and exclusive in-store performances from Jay Z, Eminem, Gang Starr, Outkast, Slum Village, Mos Def, and more. One thing was clear: the Fat Beats phenomenon could no longer be contained in a single basement shop.
In the late nineties, Abajian proceeded to open new stores in Amsterdam, Tokyo, Los Angeles, and Atlanta. He further expanded the company’s profile to include global distribution and record label branches. Distribution has since proven to be the company’s strongest and most enduring enterprise. Today Fat Beats Distribution stands poised as one of the country’s pre-eminent distributors of vinyl & specialty item records: a proud survivor in an industry now famous for its mortality rate. Despite market fluctuations, technology innovations, and stylistic revolutions, Fat Beats has remained steadfast in its commitment to the timeless vinyl format and to the loyal community who keeps it spinning.
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