Chris Knight at Eddie’s Attic – May 8, 2021

Chris Knight “It’s hard to know how people will react,” says Chris Knight of Almost Daylight, his ninth album and first new recording in over seven years. “I’ve written songs about a lot of different things going back to my first record and some people still think that ‘someone kills someone’ is all I write about. Maybe that’s why I was determined to put these special songs on this album. If people like her, we’ll be fine. But I didn’t want to do it any other way. “For the past 20 years, Chris Knight has only made music his own way. He’s released eight acclaimed albums, played thousands of electrifying live shows, and built generations of enthusiastic fans, from honky-tonks from Texas to rock clubs in Manhattan. He has been hailed as “the last of a dying race … a silent loner with an acoustic guitar and a college degree” (The New York Times) and “a storyteller in the best traditions of Mellencamp and Springsteen” (USA Today). The bottom line is that he has hard earned his reputation as one of America’s most uncompromising and respected singer / songwriters. And now with Almost Daylight, Knight delivers the most powerful – and most unexpected – music of his career. Fast Daylight is a Chris Knight album known to feature vivid imagery of rural characters, desperate men, and diehard survivors. At the same time, it’s unlike anything Knight has done before, with impressive testimonies of compassion, redemption, and even direct love. It’s an album that is both hard and tender, as open as it is frank. “I think this album has some cohesion,” explains Knight in his thick rasp from Kentucky. “The title is the key, I suppose. In all of these songs one could find a theme about seeking protection. “Produced, mixed and mastered by Grammy Award winner Ray Kennedy – known for his more than 30 years of creative partnership with Steve Earle and for the production of the albums Chris’ Enough Rope (2006), Trailer II (2009) and Little Victories (2012) Fast Daylight also sounds like no other Knight record, with scorching guitars from Georgia Satellites founder and two-time Knight album producer Dan Baird, rich background vocals from Chris Clark, Siobhan Kennedy and Lee Ann Womack, and deeper instruments than ever. “Chris had played some of these songs on the go and had started brainstorming before we got into the studio,” says Kennedy. “He and I talked about leaving the Appalachian factor where it felt right with the banjo, violin, harmonica and mandolin. It was significant that Dan was involved as he is the man who can play guitar with the right feel for Chris. The backing vocals really brought the fire and this led to ideas for piano, Hammond B-3, accordion and Wurlitzer electric piano. Everything evolved from the performance of each song, and I let the songs determine what it took to develop into an album. “I was absolutely determined not to do any acoustic songs on this album,” explains Chris. “I wanted everything to sound nervous and raw, but feel big at the same time. We kept trying different approaches until I felt like I had landed on what worked. The thing is, some of my songs might be a year before I even think they’re ready to be recorded, and I got annoyed about each and every one of those songs. I’ve never put a cover song on one of my records before, but there are two covers on this one. And I think it all goes together pretty well. “The album opens with“ I’m William Callahan, ”a defiant roar that’s driven in equal parts by pride, memories and scorching guitar. “Crooked Mile” is a classic knight, a penetrating version of outsiders tied to love, while the poignant “Send It On Down” is a plaintive plea for redemption. There are stories of desperation in small towns (“I will not look back”), threatening rural threats (“Trouble Up Ahead”) and melancholy breakups (“Everybody’s Lonely Now”). Chris’ cover of Johnny Cash’s “Flesh And Blood,” which originally appeared on Dualtone’s 2002 tribute album Dressed In Black, is a poignant take on Cash’s ode to devotion. The clear positivity of “Go On” is one of Knight’s most life-affirming songs, while “The Damn Truth” takes a wild look at our current cultural divide. The title track could be the most unexpected Knight song of all, an unapologetic hymn of praise to the power of love. “That’s probably my favorite song on the album,” says Chris, “because it’s the closest thing to the truth.” Then he quickly adds, with a laugh, “I now kill people with love.” The album ends with another surprise; a joyfully rough duet between Knight and longtime fan John Prine on Prine’s 1973 classic, Mexican Home. “I love this song, but it took me 15 years to figure out a way to do it,” says Knight. “I kept playing around, changing the vowel key, and finally ended up on the spot. I’ve been singing it on my kitchen table for the past few years and by the time we got the last song I knew it should be. “With the release of Almost Daylight, this native son of Slaughters, Kentucky (population 238) is keen to get back on the streets and perform these songs for the faithful. The singer / songwriter, who was originally inspired by Prine and Earle, is now influencing a new generation of artists who revere Knight’s idiosyncratic talent and demeanor. “There are a lot of different ways to make music, but that’s how I chose it,” says Chris. “When I have nothing to say, I don’t open my mouth, which is probably why it took me seven years to make this album.” And for an artist who has always defied expectations, the next chapter of Chris Knight actually feels like the beginning of a new day. “I didn’t fit everyone, but every time I get a new fan, I know I’m doing something right,” he says. “I think my previous records have set a precedent, if at least for me. I just want people to think this one can take everything else I’ve done. “Website | Facebook | Instagram

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