Monday, September 15, 2008

Chris Knight @ The Evening Muse

This weekend we took a rode trip to Charlotte in order to see Chris Knight at the The Evening Muse on the 13th. For those unfamiliar with Chris Knight, he is an Americana singer/songwriter who writes tales about men - either those that we are trying to be or those we are trying not to be. He grew up in a small mining community of Slaughters, Kentucky and eventually graduated from Western Kentucky University studying agriculture. Based on this experience, most of his work reflects life in either a small town or on a farm. And most of his songs were written in his trailer in Slaughters - don't miss The Trailer Tapes for some raw renditions. After moving to Nashville and playing regularly at the Bluebird Cafe, Knight was able to sign a record deal and released the self titled, Chris Knight. This CD contains two of his most famous songs: "It Ain't Easy Being Me" and "Framed". He followed that CD a few years later with A Pretty Good Guy and in 2003 with one of our favorite CDs period: The Jealous Kind. In 2006 he released Enough Rope and he is currently touring in support of his latest release: Heart of Stone.

It was a jammed house at the Evening Muse and we had to set pickets at the back of the venue. This is an interesting venue - long and narrow with a small stage in front. We had no complaints standing in the back as long as we had easy access to the great beer selection at the bar. Knight started on time and was accompanied by Chris Clark. Both times we've seen the artist, he allows his partner to take center stage during instrumental sections of each song. And Clark displayed his talents on the acoustic guitar, mandolin, and even accordion. What initially attracted us to Chris Knight is that his voice is an authentic reflection of the song's topic; immediately one can imagine the song's hero singing the exact tone and accent as Knight. And as much as we enjoy his songs, the beauty of seeing Knight perform in Charlotte is that we were able to witness the show with a group of guys who actually live these songs. When Knight says, "I'm going to play a song about killing the guy who killed my brother", its not difficult to see that some may relate stronger than others to this theme. The same holds for "Devil Behind The Wheel", "Dirt", "House And 90 Acres", and mostly every song in his repertoire. It may also explain the crowd favorites: "Oil Patch Town", "It Ain't Easy Being Me", "Enough Rope", and "Down The River". He also played several new songs from Heart of Stone; we particularly enjoyed "Maria", "Danville", "Another Dollar", "Crooked Road", "Go On Home", "Almost There" - practically half the CD.

Throughout the evening, each song was authentic Knight - sung honestly and with effective instrumentals. A great show. We have read many reviews comparing Knight to Steve Earle and John Prine - but for us, Chris Knight is his own man - writing and playing songs about real men.

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