I was born to Esther (nee Stone) and Taylor Knowles Jr. in the Northeastern Alabama city of Gadsden in January, 1953. I grew up in a house with my parents, maternal Grandmother and 5 siblings, Taylor III, Teresa, Johnnie, Shirley and Michael.
I discovered my passion for music early in my childhood and can remember the house was always filled with music. Everything from Gospel to R&B and even some country thrown in for good measure as my Grandmother was a big Hank Williams and Patsy Cline fan. Listening to Ray Charles’ recording of “Hallelujah, I Love Her So" and watching the record spin round and round is one of my earliest musical remembrances.
Since we had no television at the time, singing with my mother and siblings on the front porch on summer evenings was our way to entertain ourselves and pass the time. The whole family sang in the church choir and my mother was a well known gospel singer in the area. I loved listening to Sam Cooke, Jackie Wilson and all the Motown acts especially Smokey Robinson. And of course The Beatles also made a huge impression. I count B.B. King, Richie Havens, George Harrison & Eric Clapton among my favorite guitarists.
Both singers Beyonce & Solange Knowles are my cousins.
Following my family's move from Alabama to Riverside, California in 1962, I began playing the guitar when my oldest sister, Teresa gave me a simple acoustic guitar for Christmas. I later toured as a guitarist and featured performer with the international music and educational program, "Up with People" for four years. I then spent 8 years touring with the band "Arizona".
We recorded several albums for RCA Records in the mid 70's and opened for Harry Chapin, Kenny Loggins, The Marshall Tucker Band, Peter Frampton and Fleetwood Mac. Several of the band members contributed greatly to the creation of this project.
After many years away from the music industry, I began to write songs and recorded a few demos in my home studio hoping to have them recorded by other artists. Longtime friend and record producer, David Mackay encouraged me to record them myself and the result of that conversation resulted in this release of original recordings and I am honored to share them with you.
Thank you David for everything. You are indeed "The Master".
This project would not have been possible with the support of so many friends who helped to fund this effort. I am eternally grateful to all of you who joined in my Kickstarter campaign and my deepest appreciation goes to Chuck and Linda Manassee Buell, Randy Corsi, Gail and Roland Cram, Susie Diego, Steve Fogleman, William Fung, David P. Garcia, Tim and Nancy Greer, Christiane Ernst Paregger, Charles Scripps, Lonnie and Skip Vaughn, Christian Walton and Bill & Phyllis Worcester.
I honor you as executive producers for this project.
There were countless others who supported me in this effort and I wish to thank
Adele O'Neal, Alain Bergilez, Alex Baggett, Amada Wray, Ann Serafin, Anna Belfrage, Antoni Virgili, Anya Adams, Axel Schiers, Barb & Richard Thomson, Barb Butierrez, Belinda Skinner, Beth Clay, Beth Hodge, Betty Getchell, Bob Mohme, Bonnie Knight, Brians Simons, Bruce Fairbairn, Buki Wright, Caroll Gifford, Carole Karlein, Carol Koth, Carol Wall, Carolyn St Clair Hibbard, Catherine Brown, Cathryn Aune, Chris Myers Baker, Chris Toda, Christine Lavelle-Jones, Christine Sullivan, Cindy Meadows, Cindy Moore Lanning, Cindy Ochoa, Collette Pruitt, Corinne Jones, Coy Theobalt, Cynthia Weimer, Dale Penny, Dave, Smith, David Day, David Espinosa, David Hall, David P. Garcia, Dawn Byrd, Dawnena Darnall, Deborah Cromer, Debra Latham, Denise Jafee, Dennis Schneider, Diana Lucz, Diane Landis, Diane Moran, Dianna Vasta, Donna Hansen, Donna Petersen, Dorothy Donaldson, Elaine and Charlie Baker, Eliza Bragg, Erik Lovell, Erik Roux, Erin Owens, Eugene & Sheryl Roach, Fowler Wujick, Fran Peters, Gail & Steve Kosach, Gail Lovess, Gary & Marie Ogier, Gary Sturdivant, Ginny Bolle, Ginnie Haunschild, Greg & Brenda Lovell, Gregor Warwela, Gregory Beckett, Hal Doerr, Hazel Robinson, Helene Johnson, Isabelle Mercier, Jacky Falchook Young, Jaine Place, James Lang, Jan Kane, Jan Sturges, Jan Vazquez Benjamin, Janet Labanera, Janis Morton, Jeanne Uphoff Anderson, Jean-Pol Warkin, Jennifer Smith, Jennifer Winge-Stein, Jim Allen, Jim Tracey, Joanne Helmich, Joe & Carol Steele, Joel McColl, John & Ann Parker, John Tracy, Johnnie Pope, Joyce Horton Lue, Julia Ogawa, June Cochran, Karen West, Karin Nyquist, Kathleen O'Sullivan, Keith Petersen, Kelly Via Mollison, Kerry Klotzman, Kim Batterson Biglow, Kim Blake, Kim Smith Williams, Krystal Gordon, Leslie Blier, Lonnie Hunt, Lori Bober, Lori Smart, Luan Beatty Mendel, Lydia Mims-Williams, Marcie Colpas, Maria Crumes, Marilyn McCord, Marilyn Truwe, Mark Phillips, Martine Langenberg, Mary Hickel, Mary Milne-Ashby, Meegan Jefferson, Melanie Mills, Melissa Lorek, Mike Duer, Nancy Olmstead, Nancy Stubbs, Nina Jones, Olvia Israel, Pam Kennedy, Pat Walloch, Patricia Bledsoe, Paul Blankenship, Paul Jaques, Peggi Jenkins, Randy Corsi, Raul Reyes, Richard Klender, Rick Brown, Richard Straub, Robert Klein, Robert Staflin, Rocco Tito, Sandy Jessop, Sandy Miller, Scott Dickey, Scott Heimer, Shelia Dettloff, Sherry Boyd, Skip Searcy, Stacy Sacco, Stephanie Wilbanks, Steve & Gewn Feinberg, Steve & Terry Woods, Steve Fogleman, Steve Rogers, Steve Zappe, Stoney Burt, Susan Colbert, Susan Stanley, Susie Diego, Ted Winchester, Terrea Smith, Terry Tate Patterson, Thomas Reinecke, Tiare Gonzalez, Tim & Nancy Greer, Tim Dee, Tim Murtaugh, Tom Simpson, Tricia Roberts, Tricia Spenser, Trish Morse, Tushmal McMichael, Ulrike Kulitz, Vici Adams, Vickie Law, Vickie Leroy Neligh, Victor McGuire, Wendy Berns, William Fung
Check out this great video from my debut CD
Deepest thanks go to former band mates from "Arizona" and dear friends, Bob Huff and Pat Murphy. and also Ron Beckett. Your input and support were invaluable. Not to mention your musical talents.
Also thanks to Daz Shields, Rick Straub, Kathy Burch, Merrill Burch, Bill Burch, Richard Cottle, Ian Lyn, Jerry Stevenson, Graeme Eve, Stuart Emerson and Bob Jenkins for the use of your incredible talents.
Children's Chorus: Amber Shields, Rae Demuth, Tyler Crasby, Pearl Crasby.