I’ll keep this short and sweet – Chris Knight from Slaughters, Kentucky, is the single best songwriter you’ve (probably) never heard of – and if that’s true, you should rectify it immediately. He’s a master storyteller who’s as gritty, tough, and honest as you’ll ever find. I mean up there with Jason Isbell, and that’s no exaggeration. This guy deserves better.
His catalog is packed to the gills with gems, but if I had to pick one, it’d be this incredible version of “North Dakota”:
Yeah. If you’re wondering how a guy like this is all but unheard of, while the lowest-common-denominator (LCD) machine just keeps happily stirring the burn pit shitfire that passes for current “music”, you’re not alone.
Listen: that mandolin is a time machine. Close your eyes and it’ll put you there. Tell me you can’t feel that hard, white, barren frontier. Or hear the silence in the cold, empty cabin. The woman’s tragic death in the blizzard outside is a brutal reminder that the natural world obeys its own terms. But is it the brutality of nature that’s senseless? Or is our own perception of control, intervention, and law foolish? After all, who’s rules are we ultimately playing by?
“The law couldn’t come til the weather broke/
My heart was pounding in my throat/
I searched and called her name til it was raw”
I think that about covers it.