Chris Knight (musician)
Chris Knight at WVHEDW Soccer Club in Amsterdam (2 February 2007)
|Birth name||Chris Knight|
June 24, 1960 |
|Years active||1998 – present|
Drifter’s Church Productions
Chris Knight (born June 24, 1960) is an American singer-songwriter from Slaughters, Kentucky. In addition to releasing solo records of his own material, Knight has had a successful career writing songs that have been recorded by Confederate Railroad, John Anderson, and Randy Travis among others.
Knight grew up in the small western Kentucky mining town of Slaughters, Kentucky. He grew up in the country, had a lot of cousins who all lived in the same area of Kentucky. Knight has three brothers and a sister. His father was a pipe liner. Knight said that both his grandfather and great grandfather were farmers who had big farms before the Depression, but that they just couldn't hang on to them.
Knight earned a degree in agriculture from Western Kentucky University. He worked for ten years as a mine reclamation inspector and as a miner's consultant for the Kentucky Department of Surface Mining.
Knight started writing songs when he was 26, but didn't start performing until he was 30. He got his first record deal when he was 37.
He attracted the interest of music producer Frank Liddell, who signed him to a contract with Bluewater Music. When Decca Records hired Liddell for an A&R position, Knight received a contract and in 1998 Decca released his self-titled debut. Knight still lived in a 10'-x-15' trailer on 90 acres (360,000 m2) in Slaughters when the album was released. Decca folded at the end of the 1990s, only two years after Knight joined the label. After a couple years without a label, Knight signed with Dualtone Music Group.
Knight licensed his music to Dualtone Records for two records, then decided to release his music independently with the help of his manager. Knight said that "after the two records we decided that we could do anything an independent label can do, so we kind of cut out the record company. We cut out the third party ‘cause we had access to everything – publicity, distribution, everything. There was really no reason to go on a smaller label whenever we could do it ourselves."
Knight is well known in Texas for writing the hit Montgomery Gentry song "She Couldn't Change Me" and because of his particular fame in Texas, was named an "Honorary Texan" in 2006 by Texas Governor Rick Perry.
He recorded his first demo tapes, bootlegged—and then self-released—while living alone in a trailer on his property outside Slaughters. Called The Trailer Tapes, and officially released in 2007. They were one of the best-selling records of Knight's career.
Like its predecessor, the twelve songs on Chris Knight's "Trailer II" were recorded in 1996 inside of his sweltering single-wide in a field just outside of Slaughters. Trailer II is far more than just a sequel to "The Trailer Tapes." The tapes were produced by producer/engineer Ray Kennedy (Steve Earle and Lucinda Williams).
It took Knight four years to release Little Victories in 2012. Knight's former Decca labelmate, Lee Ann Womack, collaborated with him on "You Lie When You Call My Name." Long-time musical hero John Prine sings on the title track. Buddy Miller plays guitar and sings on two tracks: "Missing You" and "Nothing on Me."
Knight sings about the lives of the folks he knows and grew up with who depend on themselves and each other to survive. The characters who inhabit this album don’t trust “Uncle Sam” and aren’t naïve enough to give any credibility to political sound bites. The theme of persevering in hard times is an almost singular theme on this album. The lyrics on the songs are so personal that I felt as if I was actually living within each song as I listened. The relevance of these songs is not confined by geography. You don’t have to be from Kentucky coal mining country to understand what it is like to struggle. Economic troubles are painful whether your collar is blue or white.
— Chip Frazier, Twangville
Knight's music has been described as "four-minute novels, mainly about his native Kentucky upbringing and characters he knew." Knight said, "It was interesting to me, growing up in a rural area in a big family in a small town. So, I got a lot of inspiration."
About his hometown, where he still lives, Knight says in Slaughters "there is not a whole lot going on. There are five or six churches. They just closed the grade school down. There used to be a high school, but they shut it down this year. There is one little store. They’ve torn the downtown down. When I was kid, my mother bought our school clothes in downtown Slaughters, but there is really nothing there now. A post office, churches and about 200 people."
When asked to talk about the darkness of his work, Knight said: "I never thought my first album was dark. I don’t think any of them are that dark. I mean, people that like to read, I write songs like I would write books if I was a novelist. It’s never been something that is that big a deal to me to write a story song with something real happening in it, but everybody got off on all this dark business."
|Title||Album details||Peak chart positions|
|A Pretty Good Guy||
|The Jealous Kind||
|The Trailer Tapes||
|Heart of Stone||
|"—" denotes releases that did not chart|
|"It Ain't Easy Being Me"|
|2001||"Becky's Bible"||A Pretty Good Guy|
|2002||"Oil Patch Town"|
|2003||"The Jealous Kind"||The Jealous Kind|
|2006||"Cry Lonely"||Enough Rope|
|2012||"In the Mean Time"||Little Victories|
|"It Ain't Easy Being Me"|
|2002||"Oil Patch Town"|
|2006||"Cry Lonely"||Milton Sneed|
|2013||"In the Mean Time"||James Weems|
Songs written or co-written by Knight
- "A Pretty Good Guy" - Fred Eaglesmith
- "A Train Not Running" - Stacy Dean Campbell
- "Becky's Bible" - Jason Savory
- "Heart of Stone" - Dan Baird
- "Highway Junkie" - Randy Travis, Gary Allan, The Yayhoos, The Von Ehrics
- "I Don't Want to Hang Out With Me" - Confederate Railroad
- "It Ain't Easy Being Me" - John Anderson, Jason McCoy, and Blake Shelton
- "Love and Gasoline" and "She's Leaving This Town" - The Great Divide
- "Love at 90 Miles an Hour" - Ty Herndon
- "She Couldn't Change Me" - Montgomery Gentry
- "The Hammer Goin Down" - The Road Hammers
- "Lonesome Highway lines up a treat with Kentucky Chris". Edinburgh Evening News. January 19, 2007. Retrieved 24 October 2013.
- Banister, C. Eric (October 23, 2008). "Something to Keep Me Going - A Conversation with Chris Knight". AmericanRoots.com. Archived from the original on January 26, 2009. Retrieved 24 October 2013.
- Mayshark, Jesse Fox (Sep–Oct 2001). "Kentucky straight • Chris Knight has no tall tales to tell, but his characters speak volumes". No Depression. The Long Way Around (Feature) (35). Retrieved 24 October 2013.
- Tarradell, Mario. "Interviews: Chris Knight". Lone Star Music. Archived from the original on April 15, 2007. Retrieved 24 October 2013.
- Wahlert, Brian. "Chris Knight - Biography - All Music". Allmusic.com. All Media Network, LLC. Retrieved 2 November 2013.
- Lynch, Bill (July 17, 2013). "Chris Knight makes music on his terms". Charleston Gazette, The (WV). Retrieved 2 November 2013.
- Nichols, Patrick (July 20, 2006). "Album Review: Chris Knight, Enough Rope". this is texas music. Archived from the original on July 3, 2007. Retrieved 24 October 2013.
- Frazier, Chip (September 21, 2012). "Chris Night - Small Victories". Twangville. Retrieved 24 October 2013.
- Dickens, Tad (November 16, 2009). "Chris Knight has won over fans". Roanoke Times, The (VA).
- Chancellor, Jennifer (September 14, 2010). "Chris Knight sets Cain's Ballroom show date". Tulsa World (OK).
- Dauphin, Chuck (September 21, 2012). "Chris Knight Scores 'Little Victories,' First Album in 4 Years". Billboard. Retrieved 24 October 2013.
- Shelburne, Criag (September 21, 2012). "Chris Knight Takes Pride in Little Victories". CMT Edge. Retrieved 24 October 2013.
- Harrison, Alan (September 20, 2012). "CD Review - Chris Knight "Little Victories"". No Depression. Retrieved 24 October 2013.
- "CMT : Videos : Chris Knight : In the Mean Time". Country Music Television. Retrieved January 9, 2013.