KQRS radio quotes that, "Lonnie Knight is legendary." Lonnie states that "Legendary is just another way of saying 'has been around for a long time'." Generally, the best legends have been around a long time in order to cultivate their art. It's definitely not a bad thing. On November 17, 2000, The Legendary Lonnie Knight cut off his long, golden locks before opening for the Rock/Blues artist, Corey Stevens. A musician who's well known for his two CD's, "Blue Drops Of Rain," and, "Road To Zen." Together they brought the roof down and thrilled fans with a kick ass performance at the Medina Ballroom.
I arrived early and bought the general admission tickets. By seven-thirty I'd begged my husband to exchange the tickets and upgrade to reserved seating, so he did. He hates to see me pout. I'm glad because we were seated in the center of the stage, only five seats back. The view was great for capturing both, Lonnie Knight and Corey Stevens, in action. I was close enough to watch every bead of sweat pour from them while they played.
I'm fast becoming one of Lonnie Knight's biggest fans, and his song from his last CD, "Just Ride The Train, "which Lonnie dedicated to my husband and I, two songs before he ended his performance, still woos me with its insane seduction. For an hour and a half, Lonnie's voice rocked with pure emotion, his fingers moved like currents of electricity on his guitar, and his new, four piece band, Marcus Bohn (Drums & Vocals), Scott Greenwood (Keyboard & Vocals), and Reid Papke (Bass & Vocals), played with awesome precision. Unfortunately, Carolyn and Bart, Lonnie's past keyboardist and drummer are no longer with him.
The crowd appeared to be moved by Lonnie Knight's music and he stunned most everyone when he played a new composition, which will be recorded on his next CD, called, "Tell Me What You Want Me To Do?" The slow sultry notes in this melody, as well as the lyrics, were like sweet chocolate melting on a woman's tongue. Lonnie's hands slid across the neck of his guitar with powerful soul, and his strum of dramatic chords, howled, soothed, and lifted me into another world - a place of fantasy, craving, and pure seduction. I can't wait to hear the new CD when it's finally released.
This was definitely one of the best shows that I've seen Lonnie perform! He also rocked the house down with tunes from Chuck Berry, Luther Allison, BB King, and many others great blues artists. If you have never heard Lonnie, you must check him out. He generally plays at, In Kahoots, in Hamel, and, Blues West, in Rockford. He also has a blues jam every Sunday evening at Blues West. If you play the blues, or just want to listen, come on out and jam with him. If you want to purchase his latest CD, "Big Shoes," check out his web site at http://LonnieKnight.com/bshoes.html.
It was about twenty minutes after Lonnie finished when Corey Stevens approached the stage. I had a great view of Corey's performance, and intensely observed his hands and fingers strum and flick like lightening on his guitar. My ears had become like sponges and soaked up Corey's soul dripping vocals. My mouth dropped open with a smile, as if I was caught in some kind of spell while he mesmerized, and electric shivers almost jumped from my skin.
With a twist of Clapton, a mixture Stevie Ray Vaughan, and a ton of Corey Stevens unique style, his guitar spoke to the audience magically. His solo's transported me into another realm of time and space. The heat of the audince climaxed with every sweet note he strummed, and soon the bitterness of Winter began to thaw inside the walls of the Medina Ballroom. Earlier in the performance Corey broke a string, but he continued on with a quick recovery. While he played I wondered if he had ever thought when he was young, and had pawned his fishing equipment with the help of his Grandfather for his first acoustic guitar, that he would be captivating audiences worldwide with his gift?
Corey isn't an uneducated blues man; he's earned a BA degree in music from Carbondale, a southern Illinois University. It was there he studied the classical guitar. Yet, according to his statements at his unofficial web site, http://members.aol.com/dejavudu97/coreystevens.html, he learned more from listening and observing other blues bands and drinking beer, than he did in college. In 1980 Corey moved to Los Angeles and spent ten years teaching the third grade for the LA Unified School District. He must be graced with a ton of patience as well as musical talent.
Many musicians have influenced Corey Stevens’ art, such as, The Stones, The Allman Brothers, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Eric Clapton, Cream, Jeff Beck, and even Keith Richards. It took quite a bit of perseverance for Corey Steven's first big hit, "Blue Drops Of Rain." Fourteen years worth in fact. Corey basically paid for a demo of, "Blue Drops of Rain," to be produced, and offered them to fans, as well as a friend who worked for Warehouse Records. His friend gave it to a distributor who passed it on to someone at Eureka Records. From there he received his phone call to fame.
During the evening's performance I had to leave to use the restroom. While I was gone, Corey Steven's threw a guitar pick out to the crowd of fans. Out of all places it could have gone, it landed right in front of my empty chair. Before my husband could reach it, the man in front quickly picked it up. Needless to say I was devastated when I heard of this when I returned. I almost wanted to ask that man who sat in front of me if I could have that guitar pick which was suppose to be mine.
The audience couldn't get enough of Corey and when he exited the stage at the end of the night; we clapped, whistled, and screamed for an encore. Our pleas had called the band back to the stage, and they played for a while longer, which fed our hunger for more. When they finished, another guitar pick was flung out to the audience. This time I waited for it to come my way.
Quickly it whizzed past me, bounced off my husband's hand, hit the lady behind him, and floated somewhere below the table. There was a wild sea of people lunging for it. I wasn't about to join the frenzied pack, so I went to the man who sat in front of me, and had taken the guitar pick I'd earlier missed, and teased him about wanting it. While we were laughing he looked strangely below my chair. His eye movements made me look in that direction. Something told me to check under my chair so I walked back to it, looked under it, and found the lost guitar pick of Corey Stevens. I was definitely a happy fan. Thanks Corey!
By the end of the night I was charged with an aftershock of electricity. The burning licks, roaring riffs, and the two blues men's raw vocals lingered with a warm smile on my face on my way home. I only wish that I could've got an interview with Corey Steven's that night. KQRS definitely hosted a fantastic concert, one that was worth going out to see on such a cold, winter's night!
This review is copyright © 2001 by Mia Jennings, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without written permission. For permission to use this review please send an E-mail to Ray Stiles.