Labeling Chris Knight has never been easy. Trying to capture the blazing grace and gut-punch power of his music has often been the least easy of all. Yet over the course of five years and two acclaimed albums, critics and fans alike have taken the one-of-a-kind ride with Knight though a singularly vivid landscape of stark musical honesty. The bottom line remains the truth: Chris Knight is one of the most compelling singers, songwriters and performers in America today. And with his new album, The Jealous Kind, he brings it all together like never before.
“This album may not be quite as personally intense as some of the earlier stuff,” Knight says of the The Jealous Kind, “but they’re still all songs without compromise. There’ve always been different personalities in my songs and it was time for some of them to come out. It’s a completely different thing, but it’s still all me. I’m really proud of what they do.”
Anyone thinking that Chris Knight may have ‘lightened up,’ is in for some startling surprises. Chris still tells to-the-bone stories of losers, lovers, and real people cut on the sharp edges of life, only this time he delivers them with an energy and kick that cuts deeper than ever. There’s a happy-to-be-alive joy in the knucklehead hero of “Banging Away” and goodtime wild side guitars for the outlaw couple of “The Border.” “Staying Up All Night Long” drives on with a dreamy steel defiance. And on the album’s title track, Chris sings a coming-home-to-my-baby love song whose feel-good vibe is tempered only by a high-speed police chase. “This album has a lot more freedom and the songs are more varied,” says co-producer Dan Baird. “The last album was built around the central character of “the pretty good guy.” But The Jealous Kind isn’t theme-oriented other than that these are all just damn good songs.”
Damn good songs are what Chris Knight has always done best. “Knight seems like the last of a dying breed,” wrote Rob Tannenbaum in The New York Times, “a hard-nosed iconoclast, a taciturn loner who hunts on his own land, a grownup Huck Finn with an acoustic guitar as well as a college degree. Chris Knight writes songs that place him the company of Johnny Cash.” The Boston Phoenix called him “a man in complete control of his creative faculties going against the roots-rock grain and toward a country spirit as an instinctive act of refinement.” For Chris Knight, honesty is purely instinctive. “Chris evokes emotions in people,” says co-producer Joe Hardy. “There’s no pretense. The songs he writes are honest. The way he sings is honest. Everything about him is real, and that really comes across. Chris Knight rings true.”