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“Johnny had a million stories, and he knew a million songs—an endless flow of songs.” Johnny Knapp accompanied artists from Billie Holiday to Tony Bennett to Barbara Streisand. His friendship with Col. Bruce Hampton introduced him to a new audience of Atlanta music lovers. He died in Lawrenceville on November 9 at age 89.
The seventh-annual benefit concert on December 20 at Terminal West will feature several longtime Hampton collaborators. Artists include two-time Grammy winner Jim Lauderdale, flat-picking guitar virtuoso Larry Keel, banjoist/singer Jeff Mosier, Johnny Knapp, Donna Hopkins, and Ralph Roddenberry.
Johnny Knapp is 87, and he feels it. He moves with a walker, his withered legs powered by wiry forearms and large hands that have flown over piano keyboards for 70 years. It’s Tuesday, and his ride is waiting.