It's been awhile since I wrote a blog post. In fact, it's been a couple a of months now. I actually thought about writing this outside a rest stop on the Ohio Turnpike. A uniquely strange experience in and of itself, but throw a dash of eastern Kentucky songwriting, and you got a full blown existential crisis on your hands. Whenever traveling to and from shows I find some of the most creative thinking I'm capable of comes to me. It's just a shame that since I'm driving I can't grab a pen and paper to write the thoughts down. But nonetheless some thoughts stick with me.
I listen to a random playlist of music DJ'd by the Spotify app. on my phone. It's pretty convenient. Whatever I want to listen to is there at my finger tips. It's a luxury a lot of us take for granted. So with this in mind, I decide to turn on a Chris Knight Playlist. Now it's been years since I've consistently listened to this mans music, but his impact on me is ever present. As a teen I attempted to emulate his playing style, and memorized every song I could. One of my dad's favorite is still "Hard Edges", and my mom enjoys his music so much, she accompanied me to see him play in Cleveland. To put it bluntly, Knight has a rustic voice which exudes nothing but backwoods and emotion. An eerie sense of delivery through the characters he describes haunt the listeners and makes you wonder if Knight is speaking from first-hand experience (Which could be terrifying depending on the story). These characters are often extremely relatable to our own personal lives, and seem as authentic as they are vivid. However, the true power in Knight's songwriting comes from the perspectives of these characters. Chris Knight does not write about heartbroken cowboys riding off into imaginary sunsets. He writes about housewives turned doormats by abusive husbands. About children growing up in dysfunctional households. About late night parties gone wrong and family feuds taken too far. He writes about kids forced to marry in lack of favorable options and mothers to young to be called women.
These stories touch on sensitive topics, and are often classified as "sad songs". It makes some people wonder why anybody would ever listen to this music. I can't speak for them. I can speak only for myself. These songs are written like novels. They offer experiences that we need to know about. Events that are often looked down upon in "tight-knit" communities. The people forgotten. Knight paints them as heroes for being human and living. In a day and and age where suicide rates are rising, we should all be proud of getting up in the morning and living. Life is too hard not to appreciate the simple effort that others put in to just try and make a life for themselves. That's why I listen Chris Knight. That's why people come home after work and listen to Chris Knight. It helps them with the day to day trials we all grow accustomed to. And even more powerful is that Knight writes for everyone. Man, women, child, lover and loner. Chris Knight has songs that sound alike, but the stories are never the same. As a musician, I cannot express how much I appreciate the discovery of this mans music. He helped me form my own philosophy on writing and playing in a way that no artist ever could. And he did it with words and simplistic playing at it's finest. If you don't believe me check out the first volume of "The Trailer Tapes". If you've read this entire post, that's your reward..
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