Chris Knight

Chris Knight
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“It took me a while to accept people’s reaction to the first Trailer Tapes,” says Chris Knight. “At first I didn’t see the appeal, but that’s probably because I was way too close to it. While everybody seemed to respond to the rawness of those performances, I heard every little thing that I’d wished I’d done differently. But now I’ve grown to like it as something that’s worth something. I guess that means,” he says with a laugh, “it’s gonna take a while for me to warm up to Trailer II.” Trailer II is far more than just a sequel to The Trailer Tapes. Where the majority of the first album were songs that had never appeared on any subsequent Knight disc, Trailer II features original versions of what would become many of Chris’ most popular tracks. Songs like “It Ain’t Easy Being Me”, “Love And A .45”, “Send A Boat” and “The River’s Own” crackle with the unprocessed honesty of a young singer/songwriter finding – and delivering – his own startling voice. “In a sense, this record is the second part of a classic field recording,” says producer Frank Liddell. “It’s the rest of the story of a place in time where you first hear one of the most truthful artists in music today.” Like its predecessor, the 12 songs on Trailer II were recorded in the summer of 1996 inside Knight’s sweltering singlewide in a field just outside of Slaughters, Kentucky (population 238, including Chris). Knight, then an unknown singer-songwriter still months away from recording his major label debut album, had begrudgingly agreed to record a batch of solo acoustic tracks on his own terms. For a week, Knight, Liddell and engineer Joe Hayden crowded around two microphones and laid down thirty of Knight’s original songs on ADAT tape. Over the next ten years, the stark and stunning recordings - via a combination of bootlegs, leaks and legend - would become one of the most talked-about sessions of the decade. The tapes would eventually find their way to renowned producer/engineer Ray Kennedy, a long-time Knight fan best known for his work with Steve Earle and Lucinda Williams. Kennedy spent months painstakingly cleaning, but never sweetening the tracks to their raw purity. To the surprise of many - especially Chris - the official 2007 release of The Trailer Tapes would become one of the best-selling and acclaimed albums of Knight’s entire career. Critics hailed it as everything from “as stark and brutally honest as Springsteen’s Nebraska” (The Philadelphia Enquirer) to “the sound of Hank Williams with a gun and a Vicodin ‘script” (The Houston Press). “Chris Knight’s not-to-be-missed Trailer Tapes lets nothing get in the way of a great singer and his songs,” wrote Ben Sisario in The New York Daily News. “This is a record no lover of great American music should miss.” Almost immediately, fans and critics alike began asking about the remaining tapes from the trailer sessions. “When I first heard Chris at a songwriter’s night at The Bluebird Cafe,” remembers Frank Liddell, “I thought I was hearing John Prine and Steve Earle rolled into one. Here was this coalmine inspector from rural Kentucky who was writing these incredible songs. I started to spend time with him in his hometown, getting to know the people and places where his music was coming from. When I signed him to Decca Records, I knew his life was going to change forever.” Liddel, a former publisher, A&R exec and producer today known for his Grammy-winning work with Lee Ann Womack and Miranda Lambert, forewent the traditional pre-production process to instead focus on something more than mere demos. “I wanted to get all these songs on tape literally where they were written,” he explains, “to record who and what he was before anything influenced him in Nashville. What you hear on Trailer II are the performances that convinced us we’d captured a once-in-a-lifetime moment.” “I think I was hard on myself when it came to putting together Trailer II,” Chris admits. “I’ve been playing most of these songs every night on the road for the past 12 years. I know I sing them way different now than when I did then. What you’re hearing is a guy who had written those songs at his kitchen table and barely knew how to sing them into a microphone. Still,” he says, “there are moments where I can hear the beginning of what I do now.” What comes through on Trailer II is more than just an early snapshot of one of the most uncompromising careers in American music. Stripped to only voice and guitar, young Knight performs with a hunger, intensity and emotional complexity that is pure, passionate and powerfully real. And while nine of the album’s twelve tracks are among the most popular of Chris’ catalog - “It Ain’t Easy Being Me”, “Bring The Harvest Home” “Love And A .45”, “Summer Of ‘75” and “The River’s Own” from his 1998 self-titled debut, “Send A Boat”, “Highway Junkie” and “Blame Me” from 2001’s A Pretty Good Guy, and “Old Man” from 2006’s Enough Rope - these early versions reveal a stark emotional core that revisits and renews their impact like never before. Additionally, the early Chris originals “I’ll Be There”, “Speeding Train” and “Till My Leavin’s Through” are quietly shattering in their poetry of the taciturn and tender. Heard here for the first time anywhere, they are - like the rest of the album - nothing less than the sound of a burgeoning artist in a rusty trailer, yearning, learning and discovering the frontiers of his own extraordinary talent. “I still think about those sessions,” Chris says today. “It was hotter than hell and we had to turn off the noisy air conditioner when we hit the record button. I know (engineer) Joe Hayden was concerned about the birds chirping under the awning and the cows outside the door. I couldn’t sing with headphones on, and I kept banging the guitar into the microphone. I hadn’t performed live much and rarely sang or played a song the same way twice. To this day, I’m trying to figure out why people find any of this interesting.” But for one of the most restless and hard-nosed artists in American music, Trailer II is an essential look back at a career that keeps moving forward. Most of all, its allowed Chris to finally embrace the time, place and songs that have returned to strike a new nerve among the Knight faithful. “For the longest time I thought ‘I can play these songs so much better now.’ Eventually I realized that’s not the point. I lived in that trailer for eleven years. It’s where I wrote my first songs. I won’t ever go back there, but I like knowing that something has lived on. I guess I had let go and let these tapes sound good to me again. Pretty soon,” he says with a hard-won final smile, “they may just sound real good.”
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09/15/2008 - Chris Knight Debuts At No 37 On The Billboard Country Album Chart - Read More
07/21/2008 - Chris Knight joins Blackfoot - Read More
09/12/2006 - Chris Knight finds Enough Rope  - Read More
07/13/2006 - One Hoarse Town: Chris Knight  - Read More
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07/01/2006 - Chris Knight Q&A - Read More
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Average Rating : 0              Total Reviews: 188

Chris Knight  05/16/2008            
Vinny The Shark
One of the 3 best artists/bands in this business. The last two times Vinny saw him at the Dog, the crowd chanted his name for him to come back onstage for an encore. That is very rare, but says alot about Chris Knight. Once was when he was doing an acoustic set with Randy Rogers and Jason Boland. Chris Knight was the name being called. Bad ass mofo right there.
Chris Knight  12/23/2007            
I stumbled onto Chris Knight by accident. Sort of. Back when Kazaa was in it's heyday, I ran a search on alt country and came up with a bunch of bootlegs I'd already heard, a few that weren't worth listening to, and a couple of Chris Knight songs...Framed & Love and a .45. He'd already released his 2nd CD by that time; I bought them both. Bought the next 3 as soon as they came out. I've turned a lot of people on to him since then, I've yet to hear anything but praise for his music (even from my know-it-all musician friend who thinks EVERYBODY sucks). Who says bootlegged music is bad for the industry? If it costs Garth Brooks a few bucks...cry me a river. If it gets more artists like Chris some much needed exposure, I say bring it on. Not that I wouldn't have caught on to Chris Knight by now anyway; I'm really just tired of having to pay good money to check out the latest "alt-country" artists, most of whom collectively amount to a bunch of talentless crap merchants. My allottment of time on the soapbox has expired, so...Happy Festivus, homies. BTW, my know-it-all musician friend who actually admitted he likes Chris Knight? He's a big Roger Clyne fan, you might want to check him out if you're not familiar with him...he's worth a listen.
Chris Knight  11/20/2007            
westexas hunter
Funny thing about Chris Knight, I had never heard of this guy and video of Framed came on CMT (they don"t have Texas Music Television). I left the second it was over and drove from record shop to record shop to buy the first album and it has been on my top 5 ever since. That had to be around 1997 or 1998. In my opinion Chris Knight, is the John Cash, of today, it's just that the Nashville scene sucks so bad that mainstream folks have never heard of him. He is raw talent and I am glad he keeps puttin' out good music. Chris Knight is a living legend.
Chris Knight  11/13/2007            
Lui, je l'adore !!! quelle originalité dans ce milieu et quel guitariste !!!De superbes mélodies, rien à jeter dans ses CD !!!C'est le top du top !!! j'ai hate de voir arriver le prochain CD !! peut être un DVD ??? Thanks & good luck Chris !!
Chris Knight  11/13/2007            
Lui, je l'adore !!! quelle originalité dans ce milieu et quel guitariste !!!De superbes mélodies, rien à jeter dans ses CD !!!C'est le top du top !!! j'ai hate de voir arriver le prochain CD !! peut être un DVD ??? Thanks & good luck Chris !!
Chris Knight  11/08/2007            
mick stanton
it does NOT get any better.
Chris Knight  09/05/2007            
William's Son
Chris Knight  09/01/2007            
Sorry, I meant singer-songwriter.
Chris Knight  09/01/2007            
Is there a better songwriter out there?
Chris Knight  08/30/2007            
Did you even read the cover. This album was created literally with a microphone and a recorder in his trailer. That comment is about as bright as complaining there is audience applause on a live albumn. As for more of the same. This album was recorded ten years ago. So it is kind of funny to say that it is rehashed. There is a huge differnce between enough rope and the first three albums. Any way. Chris is great. Nothing else needs to be said.
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