by Zacch Estrada-Petersen



On Aug. 19 the town of Davidson will welcome The Rusty Knox Band, led by the homegrown resident for which the band is named. The band will perform at 6 p.m. on the Village Green as part of the town’s annual Concerts on the Green series.

Born and raised in Davidson, Rusty Knox grew up surrounded by music. His grandmother was a church organist and his mother was a classical pianist. He took piano and trumpet lessons as a kid. His passion for the guitar, the instrument for which he is most widely known, was largely self-taught.

In 1970, Knox took two guitar lessons with a local musician after seeing Jimi Hendrix in concert and falling in love with the instrument. After a month, however, his teacher was struck and killed by a truck while hitchhiking to Atlanta. Knox took it upon himself to learn to play it from then on.

At 54, he’s still making waves on the local music scene. In late 2009, he released his first album, “Reason Why”, which he recorded in Nashville alongside folk rock duo The Carter Brothers.

For the last two years, he’s been working on another album that he no longer plans to publicly release, in part because he doesn’t want to relive the album’s subject matter.

“The new CD was a reflection of the times we’ve been living in for the last two or three years,” Knox said. “It dealt with a lot of personal hurdles that were very special to me, and the music came out that way when I wrote it. We’re done recording it, but this might be the one that never gets released.”

Nonetheless, in 2012 he was nominated for Songwriter of the Year at the Charlotte Music Awards. His band picked up a nod there and at the Carolina Music Awards as well.

The band’s current line-up is Knox vocals and guitar, Dwight Burks on fiddle, Gregg Miller on bass, Mike Orlando on mandolin, Adam Moore on percussion, and Brian Burton on drums. They pride themselves on their originality, with almost all of their songs having been written by Knox.

“It’s Americana Bluegrass,” he said, describing the band’s sound. ”But whenever we’re setting up in a bar, there’ll be someone who’ll ask ‘What kind of music do y’all play?’, and I love to say ‘It’s loud, fast and redneck.’”

The Rusty Knox Band has been a staple in Concerts on the Green series for the last several years – something that Knox has not taken for granted.

“It’s great because it brings out 1500-2000 people,” he said.

Knox hopes to expand the band’s audience.

“There are a lot of people that have moved here,” he said. “There are people – not just from Davidson – but people that come from all over the place.”

For those not knowing what exactly to expect from the band’s show on Sunday, Knox has the answer.

“We’re just gonna light it up. And I’m gonna put on a show.”

For more information on Knox and the band, visit www.rustyknox.com.