Chris Knight

Chris Knight
Event on 2017-07-15 21:00:00
with Cordovas
Chris Knight doesnt like to say much. Wont chat about his worldview or engage in conversations on his creative approach. For 15 years, 7 acclaimed albums and a hard-nosed career thats been hailed as where Cormac McCarthy meets Copperhead Road, Knight has always let his music do most of the talking. And on record as well everywhere across America, from roadhouse taverns to major-city concert halls his songs have had plenty to say. But with his new album Little Victories, Chris Knight has taken the discussion to a whole new level.His first album of new material in 4 years, Little Victories is a record of blunt honesty, elegiac truths and the raw rural poetry of an artist whos come into his own and intends to stay. And for a performer whos been compared over the years to Cash, Prine, Earle and Nebraska-era Springsteen, Knight now stands alone as a singer/songwriter that has carved his own idiosyncratic sound and sensibility out of the dirt road American dream. Little Victories not only sounds like a Chris Knight album, but the best Chris Knight album yet.I dont ever get in a big rush about things, Knight says. I can tour pretty good on what I got. I took my time, like I always do. Write a song every now and then. I dont like to talk about politics, but I do write what Im thinking about. And if many of the songs on Little Victories seem to take a hard-eyed look at the current socio-economic climate, Knight the former strip-mine inspector who still lives in the backcountry coal town of Slaughters, Kentucky (population 200) where he was raised is upfront about their origins. About 2 years ago, we had a big ice storm here in Slaughters that just devastated the whole area, he says. We were out of power for close to a month, cooking in the fireplace and living by candlelight to survive. Things slowed down to nothing. When we were finally able to head into town, we saw lines of cars for miles outside the gas station. There were hundreds of people outside the hardware store who had nothing even before the storm hit. They werent prepared for the situation or for each other. I watched their behavior and reactions, and thats when I started writing a bunch of songs I knew would be a part of this record.Little Victories also marks a reunion with producer Ray Kennedy, whod engineered and mastered Knights seminal Enough Rope and two Trailer Tapes albums and is well known for his work with Steve Earle, Emmylou Harris, John Mellencamp and Lucinda Williams. Chris wanted to make this record with his road band, explains Kennedy. And as we were tracking in the studio, the sounds I was sending back through the headphones were pretty tough and edgy. It made everybody crank their amps up higher and dig a little deeper. The sound of any record is about attitude and how it goes down, and much of this record went down like a rock record. Other than a few overdubs, its pretty much recorded 100% live. This organic approach gives the album an acoustic/electric texture that is both urgently gritty and fiercely expressive, with Knights twang-rich vocals to match. Chris digs deepest of all on this record, Kennedy says. Its the content of his voice as well as the character of the songs. And when you listen to this record a few times, you realize theres a really unique social commentary woven in. I think hes one of our greatest songwriters, period.The albums 11 songs purely rank among Knights finest. Theres busted luck in Lowdown Ramblin Blues, hardcore tenacity in Nothing On Me and badtempered love in You Lie When You Call My Name (co-written with two-time Grammy winner Lee Ann Womack). Buddy Miller provides guest vocals on the ominous commentary of In The Mean Time and the ornery regret of Missing You. Jack Loved Jesse is a raging tale of criminal destiny co-written and featuring blistering electric guitar and vocals by former Georgia Satellite and frequent Knight producer Dan Baird. You Cant Trust No One emerges as an unsettling paean to small-town American cynicism and anger, and The Lonesome Way is a gut-punch of slide-guitar, violin (courtesy Tammy Rogers of The Steeldrivers, who appears throughout the album) and bullheaded regret. The humble acoustic remorse of Out Of This Hole is Knight at his most plaintive, and the crushed dreams of Hard Edges carry a banjo-tinged melancholy. And if the title track not only finds Knight at his most cheerily optimistic (for Chris, at least), it also features vocals from his lifelong musical hero John Prine. When I was 16, I got a John Prine songbook and learned about 40 of his songs, Knight explains. Used to play them for the kids in study hall at school every day. About 20 years later, I finally got to meet him when I opened a few shows for him. He asked me to come out and sing Paradise as part of his encore, and I got to play the blonde Martin guitar that was on the cover of his first album. I sent him Little Victories and he liked the song enough to be on it. Chris treasures the moment when the two first listened to the playback of their distinctive twangs rasping joyfully together on the chorus. Prine turned to me and said, We sound pretty good together. Just like Phil and Don Everly.So after 15 years, 8 albums and a still uncompromised reputation as one of the best singer/songwriters in America, what has Chris Knight learned from it all? Ive learned that Im pretty lucky to do what I do and make a living at it, he says. Im really proud of this record, and itll be fun to play these songs live. For people who like my music and maybe even for someone hearing me for the first time, I think theyll find songs on here that mean something to them and they can hang on to. I dont want to talk about it too much, but I think people are gonna be surprised. And for Chris Knight, thats victory enough.

at The Southgate House Revival
111 E. Sixth St.
Newport, United States

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