The songwriter only tells stories he can believe

In a recent conversation with down-to-earth and hard-line American singer-songwriter Chris Knight, it’s not so much a question that arises as a simple observation that there don’t seem to be too many happy endings. in his songwriting. It’s not in his nature, confirms Knight, to write about a lottery winner and all of those who live happily ever after.

“I think it’s just survival, and, you know, toughness. Mental toughness – whatever direction they take,” he says of his reluctance to place his characters in a fantasy.

It’s a no-frills philosophy born out of its Kentucky roots – growing up in the woods six miles outside of two small towns before later working in the mines as an inspector and reclamation consultant. . Slaughters native, Ky. – population 238 – is “a storyteller in the best traditions of Mellencamp and Springsteen,” USA Today says, and only sings the types of stories he himself could believe.

That said, somewhere along the way, Knight gained a reputation for only writing “someone kills someone” stories, he says in his website bio.

“I guess if I have to kill someone in a song, that’s what I’ll do,” he admits. But, “It just depends on the song. If I think I can get out of a song without killing someone, I do. Must happen.”

Over two decades of recording his own music and songwriter passion, Knight believes he has told just about every story there is to be told. And he certainly told the story we are all living now.

“March 16, [2020], I think it was a Monday, and I just came back from Austin, Texas. I did my last show on the 15th and I stopped at a Walmart to buy something, and a guy and his wife was walking over there, and he looked at me and he said, ‘You’d think that’ a country singer would write a song about that stuff. ‘ And I told him, I said, “I’ve written this song five or six times before,” Knight remembers. “And I said to another guy, there’s nothing in this mess that makes me wanna write a song about it. Because I think I wrote enough of this stuff to get my point across. . “

So, for now, Knight will continue to tour on his 2019 record, “Almost Daylight,” which was his first release in over seven years. The record fell in October before the pandemic hit, but even now its timeless stories of loneliness, through heartache, turmoil and melancholy lean more into matters of the heart than murders. This may be exactly what some people need to get them through this time, but Knight admits he might see it the other way around as well.

“I think people have had enough; that’s what I think,” he says if he plans to use the past 18 months for inspiration from writing. “It’s like everyone’s been beaten up long enough. I even find myself in the middle of songs when I’m on stage now and I’m like, ‘Man, I wish I had something else to sing about. “It’s just my [perception], but that may not be the reality. They might want to hear it as much as they ever did. “

It’s for an ironic twist that Knight is back on the road touring an album he was determined not to write acoustic songs for. He “wanted everything to look edgy and raw, but to feel great at the same time,” he shared in the “Almost Daylight” press release. But with continued security restrictions and a lower audience count, it doesn’t make financial sense to bring the band out in full for most of their recent dates. Fortunately, this race – which includes a September 30 stop in Fort Smith – brings the whole group together.

“People always tell me that they’ve never been to a show, that they’ve never heard of me before, but someone told them about me so they thought they would come see it. . It’s been going on for a long time – it started with an audience of around 10 when I started there and then it just built up, ”Knight said of how fans found him at the over the years.

Going forward, Knight plans to continue. His brutal honesty and Americana-fueled, backcountry-grown fusion of folk, country and rock has never appealed to everyone, but it suits fans who find it, and it’s enough.

“John Prine, he just did what he did. Tom Petty did what he did,” Knight said of one of his songwriting influences. “Nothing he’s done has ever been like, ‘Oh, that’s completely different. I do not like it.’ This thought never crossed my mind. Stick to what you know. “

Chris Knight is not very talkative during shows unless the audience of an acoustic set seems particularly inclined to listen. But he usually lets his songs tell the story. “I don’t really have any new stories. I make up stuff off the top of my head sometimes when it’s a good listening crowd, but I don’t stray from it. If that feels natural to me, I do. Otherwise, I don’t see the point, ”he shares. “But I’m not a great artist either. I don’t shout and I don’t bring the crowd up, shit like that; point to people in the audience and sh **. It’s not what I do, and it’s fine with me. [I’m not] wearing a fake smile around. People with fake smiles look pretty sorry anyway. (Courtesy photo)

Chris Knight is not very talkative during shows unless the audience of an acoustic set seems particularly inclined to listen.  But he usually lets his songs tell the story.  “I don't really have any new stories.  I make up stuff off the top of my head sometimes when it's a good listening crowd, but I don't stray from it.  If that feels natural to me, I do.  Otherwise, I don't see the point, ”he shares.  “But I'm not a great artist either.  I don't shout and I don't bring the crowd up, shit like that;  point to people in the audience and sh **.  It's not what I do, and it's fine with me. [I’m not] wearing a fake smile around.  People with fake smiles look pretty sorry anyway.  (Courtesy photo)

Chris Knight is not very talkative during shows unless the audience of an acoustic set seems particularly inclined to listen. But he usually lets his songs tell the story. “I don’t really have any new stories. I make up stuff off the top of my head sometimes when it’s a good listening crowd, but I don’t stray from it. If that feels natural to me, I do. Otherwise, I don’t see the point, ”he shares. “But I’m not a great artist either. I don’t shout and I don’t bring the crowd up, shit like that; point to people in the audience and sh **. It’s not what I do, and it’s fine with me. [I’m not] wearing a fake smile around. People with fake smiles look pretty sorry anyway. (Courtesy photo)

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Faq

Chris Chevalier

With the wild blue

WHEN – 7:30 p.m. Sept.

O – The Majestic, 817 Garrison Ave. in Fort Smith

COT – $ 20 – $ 25

INFO – 551-2424, majestueuxfortsmith.com, chrisknight.net


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