Sol Knopf is probably well-known to most local music lovers. Now living in the Garrisons Lake area near Smyrna, the Dover native has performed as a singer, guitarist, and keyboard player at nightclubs, restaurants, and concert halls throughout the state for more than 25 years.
But this familiar face has recently racked up pair of newsworthy achievements: winning a national songwriting award and releasing his second CD.
Local residents will have two chances to hear Knopf in the next few weeks, starting with a performance Wednesday at Trevi Ristorante in Smyrna, followed by a Labor Day show at Sambo's Tavern in Leipsic.
He's got the 'Golden Ticket'
In February, Knopf won SongU.com's Golden Ticket Award with his song "I Was Born to Love Her." His composition was selected for the award by Nashville hit songwriter Odie Blackmon.
As the winner, Knopf got the opportunity to travel to Nashville to co-write with Blackmon, who is best known for his songs "She'll Leave You With a Smile" sung by George Strait, "Nothing on But the Radio" sung by Gary Allan, and "I May Hate Myself in the Morning" sung by Lee Anne Womack. Billboard magazine voted Blackmon 2005's Nashville Songwriter of the Year.
Knopf collaborated with Blackmon on a new song called "Brave" which is currently being represented in Nashville by artist, publisher, and "songplugger" Gil Grand.
Latest CD is a 'Sea Change'
Knopf recently released his second CD, "Sea Change," a collection of 10 songs which he wrote or co-wrote.
"The genre is adult contemporary with a country flavor to it," Knopf said. "The CD was produced by Grammy-nominated Jim Salamone at Cambridge Sound Studios in Newton, Pennsylvania and includes some of the top studio musicians around."
Salamone has worked with artists such as Bon Jovi, Teddy Pendergrass, and Patty LaBelle. The musicians on the CD include Grammy award winners Randy Bowland on guitar and Randy Cantor on piano and organ.
"It includes a cool duet with my dear friend Patty Blee and awesome cameos by Tom Hampton from the Marshal Tucker Band, Marcia Ramirez, back-up vocalist and musician for Patty Loveless and Rodney Crowell; Michael Ronstadt, Brad Hinton, Kevin Killen, Geri Smith and Benjhe Benton," Knopf said. "I'm so proud of the project."
The CD is available at www.SolKnopf.com and also on iTunes, Amazon.com and CDBaby.
What to expect at the shows
At Wednesday night's show at Trevi, Knopf will be joined by crooner-extraordinaire Mike "Pop" Hodgeman, who just happens to be his father-in-law. This will be the third time they've performed at the Italian restaurant.
"We try to feature Pop as much as possible. He is an amazing vocalist,"said Knopf. "His forte is ballads with songs like 'Me and Mrs. Jones' and 'Lady' by Kenny Rogers."
Page 2 of 2 - Knopf was glad when Trevi owner Ernesto Carannante gave them the opportunity because Knopf and Hodgeman were looking for a local place where they could perform on a weekday night.
"Ernie and his family are awesome and it is a wonderful atmosphere," said Knopf.
While his shows are a new feature at Trevi, Knopf has been a fixture at Sambo's Tavern for 27 years, usually performing every other Monday.
Knopf said he loves the owners, staff, and clientele at Sambo's.
"We've become family," he said.
The atmosphere and location are also worth coming back for year after year, he said.
"It just has a cool vibe to it. It's right on the water so the view is great," he said. "Plus, it's close to home for me so I get to see a lot of old friends."
Knopf said the most common song request he receives there is "Sweet Caroline" by Neil Diamond.
Are there any special perks for playing at the seafood restaurant?
"They always take great care of me," Knopf said. "As soon as I get my equipment set up, they give me a cup of my favorite soup – Sambo's legendary crab bisque. Then, when I'm done performing, they send me home with steamed shrimp or crabs."
IF YOU GO:
SOL KNOPF'S SMYRNA SHOW
WHERE Trevi Ristorante, 53 E. Glenwood Ave.
WHEN Wednesday, Aug. 21, 6 to 9 p.m.
SOL KNOPF'S LEIPSIC SHOW
WHERE Sambo's Tavern, 283 Front St.
WHEN Monday, Sept. 2, 6 to 8 p.m.
FOR MORE INFO www.solknopf.com