|Years active 1981–present|
Record label Bloodshot Records
Name Roger Knox
|Origin Toomelah Aboriginal Mission|
Labels Bloodshot Records (2013–present) Enrec Records
Associated acts Roger Knox and the Euraba Band
Albums Stranger in My Land, Warrior In Chains - The Best of Roger Knox
Similar People Vic Simms, Jon Langford, Mac Silva, Bobby McLeod, Sally Timms
Roger knox blue gums calling me back home
Roger Knox (born in 1948) is an Australian country singer, known as the Black Elvis and the Koori King of Country.
- Roger knox blue gums calling me back home
- Roger knox gospel medley
- Early life
- Jon Langford the Pine Valley CosmonautsBuried Country
- Musical style
- Personal life
- Plane crashes
- 7 inches
Roger knox gospel medley
Knox is from the Gamilaroi nation, part of the indigenous Australian Aboriginal community, and was born in Moree, New South Wales. Knox grew up in the Toomelah Aboriginal Mission near Boggabilla, which is near the border between New South Wales and Queensland.
Knox comes from a family with 11 children. His mother was a stolen child who was taken from her parents as a baby and raised in a children's home in Bomaderry. Knox was not allowed to attend the high school in Goondiwindi, but instead was sent by the mission to work without pay at one of their properties. Knox has said that the first music he heard growing up was gospel music, which his grandmother, who taught Sunday school, played.
Knox left the mission at 17 and moved to Tamworth, where he became a singer. He started out in the 1980s as a gospel singer. He acquired the nickname "The Black Elvis" (for his hairstyle and manner of dress) at a Star Maker talent contest when he was 31.
In 1993, Knox was named NAIDOC Artist of The Year
In 2004, Knox was inducted into the Australian Country Music Foundation’s Country Music Hands of Fame.
In 2007, Knox went public with claims that he couldn't get booked at Tamworth's annual festival, Tamworth Country Music Festival, "because he attracted the wrong crowd."
In 2006, Knox was given the Jimmy Little Award for Lifetime Achievement in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Music at the 2006 Deadlys.
Jon Langford & the Pine Valley Cosmonauts/Buried Country
On February 12, 2013, Knox along with the Pine Valley Cosmonauts, released his first album in nine years, Stranger In My Land on Bloodshot Records. The album was produced by Jon Langford and included guest contributions from Bonnie 'Prince' Billy, Charlie Louvin, Dave Alvin (X, The Blasters), Kelly Hogan, Jon Langford, Andre Williams, the Sadies, Sally Timms (Mekons), and Tawny Newsome. The title of the record comes from a Vic Simms song. Jon Langford illustrated the booklet that accompanies the CD.
The material features covers of traditional and Aboriginal country songs. The record came about after Langford read about Knox in Australian author Clinton Walker's book, Buried Country, which chronicled aboriginal country artists. When Langford visited Australia, he heard many of the recordings, then went to see Knox play at Tamworth's annual country music festival.
In 2009, Knox was scheduled to perform at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago, Illinois on October 10, 2009 with Jon Langford and the Pine Valley Cosmonauts. However, his US visa was denied a week before the show because the US immigration office stated he lacked cultural significance". The tour with Langford finally occurred in 2012. Knox performed at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival in San Francisco.
In 2016, Knox joined the cast of the stageshow adaptation of Buried Country itself, which played its premiere performance in Newcastle in August.
Describing his music, Knox says: "My music is basically country with an influence of aboriginal spirituality.... I use all these (aboriginal instruments such as didgeridoos) but I still play country music. I may not sing about trains and sheep and cattle, but I still play country music." It has been described as "frequently upbeat and the lyrics often sharply political in tone. The lyrics are sprinkled with references to kangaroos and pelicans and detail the struggles of Australia's indigenous aboriginal population."
Knox's son Buddy is also a musician, and has played in a band called Buddy Knox Blues Band in 2006. In 2011, he was nominated for a Deadlys award. Knox also has sons who play in his band with him: Gene, John, and Ruben.
Knox survived two back-to-back airplane crashes. In 1981, early in his career, Knox joined the roadshow of Brian Young, who had a band that criss-crossed Australia by light plane, which crashed due to engine failure. The musicians and equipment had to be airlifted from the crash site. The plane carrying Knox, drummer Ken Ramsay, and singer Stephen Bunz from the scene also crashed. Ramsay was killed and the others were injured (including the pilot). Knox suffered third-degree burns over more than 90 percent of his body and became addicted to painkillers. One of his Elders prescribed a traditional bush remedy in the form of a natural bath oil made from the Euraba bush. That bush and the settlement on which his father was born were inspiration for the name of his band, the Euraba Band.
Knox is well known in Australia and is loved for his regular tours of the New South Wales and Queensland prison systems, where many Aboriginal men and women are incarcerated. Knox has also performed at many Canadian prisons for Native American prisoners.
Knox participated in the Voices United for Harmony project, jointly managed by the Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council and Griffith University.