Chris Knight,
A Pretty Good Guy
(Dualtone, 2001)

Chris Knight's A Pretty Good Guy is a pretty good CD. In fact, it' s a darn good CD.

Knight's rough-edged voice is like a hybrid of early Bruce Springsteen and John Cougar Mellencamp, and it's perfect for his songs, a gritty series of slices of life. Knight is a powerful songwriter; his poetry is lean and edgy and he has a great ear for matching music and language.

Whether his subject is a man who finds himself running from unexpected trouble in "Becky's Bible," a trucker with a broken heart in "Highway Junkie," the eponymous character in the title track or one of the neglected and forgotten people in "Send a Boat," Knight has a knack for placing himself squarely in the story he's telling and making it his own. Each song has a different sound, making Knight difficult to pigeonhole -- not that pinning his music down to a category is necessary.

"Down the River," a knife-edged song of murder and revenge, seethes with understated tension. Tammy Rodgers' viola is an unexpected element and adds a rich dimension to a powerful song. The viola returns in "North Dakota," giving additional emotional shading to the haunting spare imagery.

Songs such as "If I Were You" and "Blame Me" twist at the end but do so in such a natural and graceful way that the surprise packs an extra punch. Knight closes the CD with "The Lord's Highway," gospel funk with a strong beat that begs you to sing along, whatever your religious persuasion.

Fresh, original and riveting, A Pretty Good Guy is great listening, and Chris Knight is a singer-songwriter to watch.

- Rambles
written by Donna Scanlon
published 27 September 2003

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