The Zakk Knight Tale - Story of a 16 yr old blues sensation.

Posted on 8/20/2010 by Mark Bastin

For Zakk Knight this ain't no fairytale, he's determined to make this reality not a tall tale! Rewind to 2006 when Zakk first began playing guitar seriously after hearing Stevie Ray Vaughan and consuming every detail of his music and life. Then Zakk continued his discovery into blues as he studied other greats like Freddie King, Albert Collins, and Robert Johnson. Zakk then took his 59/60 bright yellow strat and recorded a video for a contest he had discovered. Zakk Knight won the contest becoming the 2009 recipient of the Robert Johnson Blues Foundation New Generation Award given to talented youth. He received his award and gave a performance at the Robert Johnson Birthday Celebration in May 2009. Zakk had already created a three piece band and was practicing in preparation for gigs which followed in August of 2009 when the Zakk Knight Band performed at Bean Blossom Blues, Brews, & BBQ getting a warm reception from an excellent performance!

He then set his sights on the International Blues Challenge and becoming a part of the Youth Showcase which took place in Memphis, Tn. In February of 2010 Zakk performed in Memphis during the festivities and took in all the flavor this annual event had to offer with opportunities to meet artists like Grady Champion and the Homemade Jamz Blues Band. After returning home he returned to the south in May to once again perform on stage at the Robert Johnson Birthday Celebration with winners past and present. By this time Zakk was hungry for stage time and performed at the James "Yank" Rachell 100th Birthday Celebration held in Indianapolis, the city Zakk calls home. Zakk gave a solo acoustic performance and caught many by surprise with his skill and presence on stage. He then joined in on a tribute jam with all other performers in remembering Indiana blues legend Yank Rachell. Zakk also appeared as an opener at the Irving Blues Show in July opening for another Indiana blues legend, Dwight Edwards. It was a special night with Zakk performing with his new band mates for the first time adding Raymon Guajardo on drums and Roger Logan on bass. The crowd was excited to hear such a young talent and the applause was grand approval of their hardwork.

Moving forward into August has brought new challenges to Zakk with his first day back to school and the band's preparation for Zakk's second appearance at Bean Blossom Blues, in which the band will reveal a whole new set list with songs guaranteed to spark the crowd into a blues music frenzy! If you were to ask Zakk now who his role models are you will find he's added a few especially his latest focus, Howlin' Wolf. This doesn't sound like your average 16 year old boy and it goes even deeper with his knowledge of guitars especially Fender strats. Zakk has studied this particular model to the point he's able to build his own relics as he's created several from parts ordered online. He's insistent upon using Fender parts and knows the small details most of us don't care to know with a loyalty to Fender as deep as his love for blues! He's also very keen on Rolex watches and the specifics of those too. Perhaps the best way to describe Zakk is to say he's passionate in his love of blues, guitars, and following in the footsteps of those he's studied. He's a quick study on playing and can see himself as a musician, vocalist, and song writer long into the future. Zakk has several songs in progress with two originals already on his set list showing great promise for the future he envisions.

His excitement for performing has him wishing he was ready to graduate so he could focus on music full time but with two more years of school remaining he'll have to exercise patience while grabbing all the opportunities he can to perform. The 2011 blues festival season is a focus as well as any local venue he can perform in as Indiana has limitations on where anyone under 18 can play. 2010 will also mark his debut as an adult artist as he competes in the Indiana Blues Challenge in hopes of representing Indiana at the International Blues Challenge in 2011 as a solo act. The Zakk Knight Band won't compete in the band challenge this year but it will become a focus in the future. Zakk knows there are big shoes to fill with all the blues greats before him and he sees them as great role models for his learning. Zakk at 6'-3" could possibly fill their leather shoes easily but only the future can tell us if he's able be the musician and inspiration his heroes have established. I've come to know Zakk pretty well myself and I can tell you I've learned from his passions and I'm encouraged of the future of blues with young men like Zakk. My encouragement to you is to promote the blues with all your might and look for young men and women who appreciate what we know as an amazing genre in music. Become mentors or simply share the artists you love with today's youth, it could mean a great deal to them and we know it means a great deal to the future of blues and keeping it alive. Zakk Knight is doing his part and he's grateful with every new discovery. You can share in Zakk's adventure by following him on facebook and myspace and to watch for news on his upcoming CD.

~ Mark

American Blues News

American Blues News Staff

What makes American Blues News unique is our coverage across America. Here is our lineup:

Mon: Memphis Correspondent - Robert "Nighthawk" Tooms
Nighthawk is our resident globetrotter and man behind the scenes, as he tours with the Reba Russell Band.

Tues: New York Correspondent - J. Blake
Blake is the American Blues News review and interview guru. You may catch him out and about in NY playing the blues.

Wed: National Correspondent - Monica Yasher
Monica is our executive director and artist interview specialist. You can catch Monica singing the blues around Pittsburgh or working on some country music songs in Nashville.

Thurs: Washington, DC Correspondent - Virginiabluesman
Geraldo offers inteviews and reviews. You may have seen him at an Ana Popovic concert or conversed with him on her websites, as he offers administrative support with her music.

Fri: Northeast Photographer - Nelson Onofre
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Jim Stick in Colorado
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Maureen Elizabeth, our resident art correspondent, will be focusing on blues art as she explores the creation of CD covers, or speaking with artists who also have a love of creating pictorial art in addition to their music! She may also feature some of her good friends in the Pittsburgh area. In her love of art, you may find Maureen's photography accompanying writer's articles on our pages. Maureen is also our marketing director.

Pittsburgh correspondent and photographer, CR Bennett, will share the Pittsburgh scene with all of you. You may also see CR's pictures accompanying other writer's articles.

We head to the big state of Texas! Abby Owen, our Texas correspondent.

Another big area to cover, the West Coast with Casey Reagan, Casey will feature many artists and events on this ocean's shores.

Lastly, we have our roving blues entertainment writer,
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