Song of the Day: Sonny Knight & The Lakers – It Had To Change

Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unrealeased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJ’s think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on the Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole, is “It Had To Change” by Sonny Knight & The Lakers from their 2016 album, Sooner or Later, on Secret Stash Records.

Sonny Knight & The Lakers – It Had To Change (MP3)
It took 60 some years for Sonny Knight to find his band and become Sonny Knight & The Lakers, but it wasn’t wasted time. Between serving in Vietnam and driving across the country as a trucker, Sonny has seen and lived through more than most can claim. It’s reflective in his dynamic voice, which consistently captures and emotes the highs and lows of life. And while Sonny could, and did, create a musical career with his voice alone, the addition of an 8 piece band in the form of The Lakers has elevated Sonny’s music to new heights. The punch of horns certainly makes his soulful crescendos more powerful, but the band also highlights and draws out what Sonny does best. Sonny’s command of rhythm and melody paired with his creative use of space is unrivaled. He narrates instrumentals, never bending to their will, but instead leading them onward. Sonny never seems to fill space, instead he uses it. And in the face of the busy arrangements of an 8-piece band, his strengths are both more necessary and apparent. This is evident all over the Minneapolis based group’s 2016 record, Sooner or Later, and especially so on today’s featured song, “It Had To Change.” On it, horns blast with bravado and Sonny’s voice strolls around with a commanding patience. When he asks “now won’t you play your guitar,” it is with a confidence that implies that the line came before the guitar solo, and not the other way around. Such is the power and charisma of Sonny Knight, brought to ever new heights with Sonny Knight & The Lakers.

Sonny Knight & The Lakers don’t have any announced upcoming Seattle shows, but keep your eye on their website and Facebook page for potential tour news. In the meantime, watch the music video for the title track to Sooner or Later below:

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