|Born||Moree, New South Wales
|Origin||Toomelah Aboriginal Mission|
|Associated acts||Roger Knox and the
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 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."
Jon Langford & the Pine Valley Cosmonauts
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.
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.
- 1984: Give It A Go (Enrec Records)
- 1986: The Gospel Album (Enrec Records) - re-released in November 2006
- 1998: Warrior in Chains - The Best of Roger Knox (Enrec Records)
- 2004: Goin' On, Still Strong (Trailblazer Records)
- 2013: Stranger In My Land (Bloodshot Records)
- 1988: Goulburn Jail
- 1988: Koala Bear
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- Walker, Clinton. "The Man Who Would be King: Roger Knox". Verse Chorus Press. Retrieved 20 December 2014.
- "2011 Deadly Awards - Nominations: Male Artist of the Year - Buddy Knox" (PDF). Deadly Vibe. 15 July 2011. p. 10. Retrieved 20 December 2014.
- Strohfeldt, Mahala (3 November 2010). "Indigenous voices unite for harmony" (PDF). The Koori Mail. p. 32. Retrieved 20 December 2014.
- "Aboriginal Musician - Roger Knox". Creative Spirits. 28 March 2012. Retrieved 20 December 2014.
- Walker, Clinton. "The Man Who Would Be King." Buried Country: The Story of Aboriginal Country Music. Annandale, NSW: Pluto Press, 2000. pp. 244–269. ISBN 978-1-864-03152-2