Sat. Dec 1, 2012 at 8:00pm EST
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21 and Over
Chris Knight's story begins six miles outside of Slaughters, Kentucky, a remote coal-mining town of 200 people where Knight was raised and still lives with his wife and children on 40 wooded acres. Chris graduated from Western Kentucky University in 1984 with a degree in agriculture and began working for the state as a strip-mine reclamation inspector. Following his mother's death in 1992, he began writing songs about the people, places and pain that he's seen, known and continues to live. His carefully honed character sketches and surely paced narratives evoke real rural life more accurately and honestly than anything you'll hear on pop-country radio —not just the glory and the romance of ordinary Southern existence, but the darkness and the disappointments. Chris Knight's characters have dirt under their fingernails and life behind their eyes. His live shows stay with you like a long hot summer.
Reaction to his 1998 debut album Chris Knight – which included the hit Americana and AAA tracks "It Ain't Easy Being Me," "Framed" and "Love And A .45" – was immediate, with writers nationwide comparing him to everyone from John Prine and Neil Young to Johnny Cash and Nebraska-era Springsteen. In 2001, Chris returned with A Pretty Good Guy, taking listeners on a stripped down journey through a far darker side of survival. Despite being released on 9/11, the often brutally bleak album received stellar reviews as well as strong AAA airplay. His 2003 release The Jealous Kind added a new wit and wisdom that led Playboy to rave "Knight can break your heart with his singing, but the songwriting here is even stronger" and rock publication Blender to hail its plainspoken brawn. Yet it was The Dallas Observer that perfectly captured Knight's singular power. "He created an authentic country-rock Americana with compositions carved from the oaken folk-song root and whittled into true musical folk art," wrote Rob Patterson. "Knight's the real deal, free of any artifice, and his stuff runs over the current NashVegas crap and faux-country poses of most all the alt-country crowd like a pickup truck speeding home from the bar after Saturday night's last call."
Chris' last studio albums: "Enough Rope" and "Heart Of Stone" stand as unprecedented testaments to Knight's artistic evolution, as well as the albums that have finally kicked down the doors of success on Knight's own terms. "When you have you have something that qualifies as a successful artistic endeavor," says Gary Nicholson (Grammy-winning producer known for his work with artists ranging from Wynonna to Delbert McClinton.), "it shows the commonality of human experience. That's what Chris is a master at: He's able to invite you into his world and you're able to identify with the same emotions he's expressed. He consistently pulls that off like never before." "Breakthrough music always defies the norm," says Ray Kennedy (renowned producer/engineer for Steve Earle, Lucinda Williams, John Mellencamp, etc) explains, "The longest running careers are the ones that rub against the grain and don't fit in. I think Chris Knight is one of the premiere singer/songwriters of our time and it's way past time that the rest of the world finds that out. If there's any justice in the world, he will be held up as one of the greatest singer/songwriters out there." Frank Liddell (Chris' first producer of the self titled: "Chris Knight" and producer of Miranda Lambert, Lee Ann Womack, etc) spearheaded the release of "The Trailer Tapes" and "Trailer II", early acoustic recordings capturing the artist in his true element before any possible influence from the Nashville community. A true pioneer, in the school of Lomax's field recordings, Frank documented Chris' body of work. "These tapes are like an amazing photograph out of an old Life Magazine, before Photoshop or fancy editing tricks, Liddell says. "What Chris was doing could be harsh, like coffee or whiskey, but he is the most honest writer I've ever heard in my life".
Chris Knight is sometimes dark, often intense and always without compromise. He is an artist that unfolds with the power and fury of Cormac McCarthy meets Copperhead Road.
James A L
James A L