CHRIS KNIGHT Little Victories * * * * by Michael Hingston
CHRIS KNIGHT Little Victories * * * *
It has been a 4 year wait since Chris Knight's last record, but at long last his eighth album Little Victories is here. Knight writes songs about the darker side of American culture and the struggles of the downtrodden rural poor. He has been described as, "Where Cormac McCarthy meets Copperhead Road", how I wish I had written that!
Knight lives in a smalls coal town called Slaughters in Kentucky, which somehow seems appropriate. During a recent ice storm, the town lost all electrical power for nearly a month. This was the inspiration for the opening track In The Mean Time, which describes how hard times bring out incredible resilience. This sets the tone for the rest of the album, with lots of mention of pickup trucks, guns, hunting and eking out a living by whatever means are available.
Nother On Me, Out Of This Hole and the title track are about trying to find a way to live in recessionary times. Knight sent a copy of the song Little Victories to his musical hero John Prine and he liked it so much he recorded a duet vocal with Knight. How could Prine resist when the song contains the wonderful line "I got a deer and a half in the freezer"?
You Can't Trust No One is a plea to end bickering between different groups in society and look to cooperation, Low Down Ramblin' Blues tells of tough life of living on the road, Missing You is a hard nosed love song and Jack Loved Jesse is a tale of two people being very much in love while conducting a criminal career akin to Bonnie and Clyde. Hard Edges tells of the tough life and limited choices of a young girl, You Lie When You Call My Name is full of accusatory suspicion and The Lonesome Way is a break up song that is an example of pathetic fallacy, i.e. where the nature appears to mirror the protagonist's feelings.
Knight recorded the album with his touring band and a few guests, including Tammy Rogers (violin, viola and mandolin), Dan Baird (electric guitar and vocals) and Buddy Miller and Siobhan Maher-Kennedy both supplying vocals. Producer Ray Kennedy expertly fuses the rock and country elements of Knight's music and he also supplies keyboards and guitar.
Knight has always expertly articulated the lives and experiences of American society and this seems ever more appropriate in the current economic climate.
–Michael Hingston for County Music People Magazine UK, September 2012