Chris Knight's last recording, "Little Victories," was released in 2012, which makes the seven year wait for "Almost Daylight" seem uncommonly long.
Clearly Knight was in no hurry. A resident of rural Kentucky, he has a laid back attitude that's perfectly in sync with his rural roots. Not surprisingly, he was a late bloomer as well. He earned a degree in agriculture from Western Kentucky University, and after graduation, he spent 10 years as a mine reclamation inspector and a mining consultant. He began composing his own material at age 26, but it was another four years until he started performing, and another seven years after that before he landed his first recording contract. To date, he has eight albums in, all worthy of notice.
Given his laid back persona, it's little wonder that his weathered, rural narratives have won favorable comparisons to the likes of John Prine, Guy Clark, Willie Nelson and other artists known for their homespun sensibility. In addition, he's written songs for others, among them, John Anderson, Randy Travis, Confederate Railroad and Lee Ann Womack.
His reticent attitude aside, "Almost Daylight" ought to be the album that brings him front and center, and if it's not, it's certainly not due to any lack of determination on Knight's part. From the gruff sounding opener "I'm William Callahan" and the turgid and tempestuous "Crooked Mile," "I Won't Look Back" and "The Damn Truth" and through to the songs featuring vocal contributions from Lee Ann Womack and John Prine - the resolute "Send It On Down" and the rocksteady refrain of "Mexican Home," respectively - it's evident that Knight is in top form, and, it should be added, as irascible as ever. Decidedly defiant, "Almost Daylight" is Knight's most emphatic effort yet and one that affirms the fact that indeed, it's always darkest before that daylight dawns.
Lee Zimmerman is a freelance writer and author based in Maryville, Tennessee. He also expounds on music on his web site, Stories Beyond the Music - Americana Music Reviews, Interviews & Articles. His book - "Americana Music - Voices, Visionaries and Pioneers of an Honest Sound" is available from Texas A&M University Publishing.