Chris Knight to bring storytelling songs to live audience

Singer-songwriter Chris Knight will perform from his most recent album Almost Daylight in an acoustic concert at First Avenue Club this weekend.

Abby McCusker, Arts Reporter

Chris Knight left a reliable job as a strip mine inspector in Kentucky behind because he had stories to tell. Knight became a singer-songwriter full time after landing a record deal with Decca Records and released his first album in 1998.

Knight will perform songs from his newest album Almost Daylight at the First Avenue Club at 8 p.m. on April 17 as part of his tour for the album. Knight and a guitar player will play an acoustic performance.

The singer-songwriter has been casually playing and writing music since high school. He said songwriting was something he always held an interest in but had focused at first on college and landing a reliable career. Knight kept his job as a strip mine inspector even as he was pursuing a record deal and a music career, primarily writing songs during his free time.

“I’d get up in the morning early and get a song started, you know sit down with a cup of coffee before I went to work, and then you’re driving from mine to mine and there’s time to think about it and add a little bit to it,” Knight said. “You know, just always thinking about the song and the next song and just get better and better at it.”

Knight has now released eight albums, including most recently Almost Daylight in 2019. There was a seven-year gap between his most Almost Daylight and Little Victories, released in 2012. Knight said he waited to release new music until he had an album that made him proud.

RELATED: Penny Peach Jr. performs new music as part of Englert’s ‘Stages’ program

“I just wasn’t in a big hurry to do it. I don’t think it’s a big deal, myself, but a lot of people say, ‘seven years,’” Knight said. “I just don’t want to put out stuff that I don’t believe in, stuff that I don’t like, that I won’t play. I don’t want to put out something that I think is mediocre.”

Knight doesn’t consider himself an entertainer, but he said that he tends to interact with the crowd a little bit more during acoustic shows.

“I never felt like I was very good on stage, but I did it for my first few records and then eventually you just get more comfortable. Sometimes you’d be getting ready to do it all day and then when you get on stage all of that stage fright or whatever it was just goes away,” Knight said. “I don’t feel like I’m a real entertainer. Sometimes, I get really engaged with the audience, normally during acoustic shows, you just have to feel the audience out and see if they want to hear some stories.”

According to his website, Knight’s songs tell stories of desperation, survival, and depictions of rural characters. When Knight performs, he said he wants the audience to feel as if the stories he sings about are his own. The singer-songwriter said he thinks that the performances where everything goes smoothly, and the audience takes in the stories he’s telling, are the most enjoyable.

“It’s almost like I want people to think that I’m the guy that I’m singing about. That’s one of the things that I like about doing it,” Knight said. “I enjoy it, especially with a band when we’re rocking good and we’re tight and solid, it makes it a lot more fun.”