Singer-songwriter Chris Knight started teaching himself guitar on his older brother’s guitar by learning the songs of country/folk singer-songwriter John Prine. So it was a dream come true when Prine heard the title track off of Knight’s latest album Little Victories (2012) and decided he wanted to sing on the record.
“He’s a legend. It was great,” Knight said. “I grew up listening to his music. I learned to play the guitar listening to John Prine.”
Music producer Ray Kennedy, who engineered and mastered Knight’s seminal record Enough Rope (2006), called Prine to see if he wanted to collaborate with Knight on “Little Victories.” Prine obliged.
“He evidently liked the song so he came down and sang on it,” Knight said. “I had met him before and I opened a couple of shows for him so it was real good. He came on down and sang and then we hung out for a little bit and talked for a little bit and then he went on his way.”
Knight has been playing some of the songs from his 2012 album for a little over two years now and said that audiences have been receiving them just like they would any of his songs that he plays live.
“I mean there are hit songs for the crowd on the record, just like the rest of them,” Knight said.
“Some people said it’s their favorite record…some people thought it was a little more political but I basically just wrote what was in my gut, what I was thinking, what I was feeling and that’s just kind of the way it is. So I’ve just been going out and singing them.”
Knight is playing the Hill Country BBQ Market this Friday at 10:30 p.m. He’s working on new material for a new album, but said that it’s unlikely he’ll play any of those on Friday. He said his live show features a few songs from each of his eight albums.
And he took issue with the idea that Little Victories is particularly political, at least anymore so than previous albums, because he just says what’s on his mind.
“I do talk about politics…I think my songs have always been political,” Knight said. “That’s probably why – I’ve got a good following, I’ve got a good career – but that’s probably why I’m so under the radar. Because a lot of people hear stuff in my songs that they don’t want to hear.”
Knight, although sometimes political, is pessimistic about the state of American politics. He said the politicians are “idiots.” “The politicians can’t even get their [expletive] together,” Knight said.
“How the hell am I going to change anybody’s mind? But that’s what inspired me to write songs about politics.”
The other inspiration for some of the material on Little Victories came from the aftermath of an ice storm that hit Knight’s hometown, Slaughter, Ky., right around the time of President Barack Obama’s first term.
“We got a new president and we had an ice storm about the same time he got inaugurated,” Knight said.
“And it just devastated our region. That was probably a little bit of it. Things were really changing and people barely survived.
“People were out of electricity for a month. We had no problem, but there were a lot of people in the towns and the cities that were really unprepared. They had nothing so they had to leave their homes and let somebody else take care of them. I wasn’t going for that – I was going to take care of myself.”
• For more information about Chris Knight, visit chrisknight.net.