Chris Knight: Almost Daylight
Almost Daylight features nine, brand new, original songs and two covers. The album was produced, mixed and mastered by Grammy-winner Ray Kennedy, who is best known for his thirty plus year creative partnership with Steve Earle as well as producing Chris’ Enough Rope (2006), Trailer II (2009), and Little Victories (2012) albums. Almost Daylight is Chris Knight’s ninth album, and his first new recording in over seven years. Dan Baird, founder of the Georgia Satellites and two-time album producer, provides the sizzling guitars, and background vocals by Chris Clark, Siobhan Kennedy, Lee Ann Womack, and John Prine appear on the record. Almost Daylight is different than any Chris Knight album in his discography, but yet, done in that same uncompromising way that Knight has made music throughout his twenty-year career.
The first song on the album, “I’m William Callahan,” was released as a single on August 1st, 2019. The tune has gotten a lot of airplay on SiriusXM radio, Outlaw Country, and is the biggest earworm on the entire record. Knight told Rolling Stone Country, “There were good parts in the original version but other parts didn’t suit me. So, I pulled it back out about a year ago, changed a few lines, and rewrote the melody. It’s about a couple of lives well-lived. I think it’s my favorite on the record.” Ours too, Chris. It’s one hell of a catchy tune.
The second song to highlight off an album full of great songs is “I Won’t Look Back.” This tune has a heavy guitar riff in the background throughout, as Knight sings about tales of small-town despair. This is a song that shows that Chris Knight has a common connection with his fan base. Knight writes about real shit that happens in rural America to good, hard working people. The tune is about hard luck, tough times, and moving on without looking back. It’s edgy, with the heavy electric guitar, and the harmonica in the song breaks add to the Appalachian factor in Knight’s music.
John Prine’s 1973 classic, “Mexican Home” appeared on his third studio album, Sweet Revenge. Knight says, “I kept playing around, changing the vocal key and finally landed on the spot. I’ve been singing it in my kitchen table for the last few years, and when we were down to the last song, I knew this should be it.” The tune is a “holy shit” cover as Prine and Knight go back and forth in a dueling duet style throughout the song. “Mexican Home” is the perfect song to end what just might be the best Chris Knight album yet.
We hope that it isn’t another seven years until we get another Knight album. But, if that’s the case, then this album assures us that it will be worth the wait. In the meantime, we can enjoy songs like “Send It On Down” featuring Lee Ann Womack, a damn fine breakup song in, “Everybody’s Lonely Now,” and “The Damn Truth,” a song that takes a hard and sobering look at our cultural divide. Chris Knight is out on the road now performing these great tunes from Almost Daylight. The native son of Slaughters, Kentucky, has again proven why he is highly regarded as one of the best songwriters of this generation. “I haven’t suited everybody, but every time I get a new fan it tells me I’m doing something right. I think my previous records have set a precedent, if only for me at the very least. I just want people to think this one stands up to everything else I’ve done.”