Uncompromising, Kentucky country singer-songwriter Chris Knight wears his heart on his sleeve. A man who lets his songs, the earthy, sometimes biting lyrics and general no frills attitude to the art speak for him, Knight takes the listener on a road trip through honky tonks and blue collar haunts as he tries to make sense of the world we live in. Produced by Ray Kennedy his music is given a strong base (as it always is), plus he brings in the likes of Tammy Rogers (violin, viola, mandolin) and guest vocalists, John Prine and Buddy Miller to go with Mike McAdam, Chris Clark, Dan Baird and Michael Grando plus Kennedy’s own work on Hammond B3, Wurlitzer, and electric guitar.
Utilising sage advice from his father and that of people who have come before him in his native, rural Kentucky Chris Knight is a modern day country outlaw who not only shuns the lure of Nashville to live there but attitude to country music. Like in the lyrics of his opening song that speaks of showing backbone, Knight is a man who believes in standing tall and holding one's ground. Let the world see what you see is what you can expect from him. His stories are deeply embedded pieces, rich in pictorial imagery as he sings of railroad trestles, river banks and struggles with himself. As on ‘Missing You’ he speaks of fishing, drinking, working in the mines and how the water in the river it is so green it is blue. Bolstered by electric guitars he goes for broke. Following it in the running order is ‘You Lie When You Call My Name’ (a co-write with Lee Ann Womack) which possesses some Waylon-ish (Jennings) guitar and general sound. It is no bad thing, either. If proof were needed here is one more reason to take my word regarding ‘outlaw’ blood being in his music. Joining him on the track is Kennedy’s wife, harmony vocalist Siobhan Maher-Kennedy, as she does on album closer ‘The Lonesome Way’.
Chris’ never give up attitude and to dig deep when times are hard (and if he hasn’t experienced a specific then he knows someone who has) he sings about how he may not have set the world on fire but admits to having it pretty good on ‘Little Victories’ (w John Prine on vocals). ‘You Can’t Trust No One’ speaks of how we have mistrust for those we don’t know to well. ‘Out of This Hole’ has him dig himself out of the rut he was once in and get on with life once again. It is one of those songs where the outcome is in the hands of the teller, and option is you either get on with it or life’s opportunities pass you by. His lyrics ‘mean as a snake and blind as a mole’ are a fine appraisal of a situation where you have someone embittered with life and all too ready to blame their troubles on someone else. Of a difference, musically at least he eases, gently through ‘Hard Edges’ as he speaks of wrecking yards and how hard edges can have tender hearts to the sound of banjo.
If you haven’t already tried Chris Knight’s music and like someone with attitude, a heap of passion and great story-telling nous it is about time you checked him out.
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