Music Star Joey Knight Mourned
Minto country and gospel music star Joey Knight died suddenly Saturday, May 7, 2011. He was 56 years old.
"It's a profound loss to all," said his daughter Stacey Killam in an interview Saturday. "He's touched many lives and everybody will be affected by his passing. I don't know how we're going to cope with this because we're a really, really close family and my dad was so kind and always looking out for others."
Knight had been in hospital for surgery recently, related to a problem with discs in his neck that caused numbness. "He was preparing to come home this weekend," said Killam. "Mom was going to visit him today and he was going to be released over the next couple days." Killam said her father's cause of death isn't known at this time and an autopsy is pending. She said his doctors are shocked by his death.
She said the Knight family has been overwhelmed by the number of people calling to give their condolences."It just shows you how many lives he's touched," said Killam. "He really was a really, really special person."She said her father performed in Fredericton last Friday, just before he went into hospital, even though he couldn't hold a guitar."He wouldn't cancel that show because everybody had bought tickets," said Killam. "He sat on a stool and people had to help him up on stage and his performance was unreal."They said it was the best he's ever sounded."
Joey Knight was born and raised in the small coal mining community of Minto, New Brunswick. The proud son of a coal miner, Knight was one of the most friendly, charismatic entertainers that the music industry had to offer. He possessed a sincere and unique quality that was instantly likeable. Passion for his craft was both evident on and off the stage. Whenever Knight stepped on stage, his audience was captivated and entertained.
From a very young age, Joey Knight began to develop his gifted and natural talent. During his teenage years, he led his own four-piece band and performed in local venues. Knight’s populairty and reputation continued to grow throughout the Maritimes which would later enable him to expand across Canada. Constant requests for recorded product led him to Nashville in 1984, where the very first Joey Knight album was recorded. A number of tracks from the album did exceptionally well for Knight and gained him national exposure. With his strong vocal ability, dynamic performances, showmanship and increasing success, Knight soon found himself performing on several television shows such as ‘The Tommy Hunter Show’, the Canadian Country Music Awards Show and many radio shows. He was chosen as the opening act for major performers such as Mickey Gilley, Gene Watson, Tanya Tucker, and John Conley to name a few.
At the 1988-1989 CCMA’s, Joey Knight was nominated for various awards, including Vista Rising Star. In 1993, Knight was again honoured by being inducted into the New Brunswick Country Music Hall of Fame for his contribution as one of New Brunswick’s most popular performing artists. In 2001 he was inducted into the Minto Wall of Fame. A fitting tribute to a man who loved his family and friends.
Knight's son Jason Vautour said his dad was the greatest father in the world. "He was always there for us," he said Saturday. "He was an unbelievable person for his family. He was just a very popular person, and the family and the friends that have been supporting us with the phone calls have just been outstanding. We didn't really know how many people cared that much until something like this happened."
Minto Mayor Eric Barnett said the community is shocked by Knight's death. He said he grew up with Knight and played hockey and baseball with him. "You'd never meet a nicer person than Joey Knight," said Barnett. "He was just an outstanding person and he was great for the community."He said Knight did a lot of fundraising and volunteer work in the area. "There's a deep sadness," said Barnett. "Joey was always great to the seniors and the seniors loved him. Everyone loved him."
Ivan Hicks, president of the New Brunswick Country Music Hall of Fame, said Saturday that Knight had a great voice and always got a great reception from audiences. "Joey had one of the greatest personalities you could ever find in a person," he said. "Just a true character. If you had a list of people who were well liked, he was there. He seemed to get along well with people, always had good things to say about people." Hicks said Knight represented country and gospel music in an extremely nice way. "I think that'll be his legacy," he said.
Canada and the Country Music Industry has lost another great voice and performer. Joey Knight will be missed.
For more on Joey Knight visit his website at www.joeyknight.ca