Chris Knight lives his life with the same approach that he takes with his music.
Simple and honest. Yet, the more you listen to his lyrics, the more you listen to the feel of his music, you begin to get a sense that there is depth in that simplicity.
That's because Knight, who's set to appear at the Rex Threatre in Pittsburgh on Friday, Sept. 27, is the genuine article.
SINGER?SONGWRITER?Chris Knight, is coming to Pittsburgh on Friday, Sept. 27 at 8 p.m. for a show at the Rex Theatre. The opening act will be Tom Breiding. For more information on Knight, check out his website at www.chrisknight.net
He and his family still live on their 40-acre farm in Western Kentucky, not because it gives him country credentials but because that's who he is.
Born in 1960, Knight got a late start in the industry, not release his first album until his self-titled debut hit the airwaves in 1998.
His first foray into the industry came a few years earlier as others were having success with the songs he'd written.
Knight admits that if all he ever would have done was to be an accomplished songwriter, well that would have been fine by him.
"That was my original intention," Knight said.
"The goal was to get people to record my songs but I kind of fell into this record deal business."
He was discovered, like many others, during a songwriter's night at the famed Bluebird Cafe in Nashville. Since then, Knight has turned out eight albums including his most recent, Little Victories, in Sept. of last year.
Knight is a gifted storyteller. The lyrics of his songs tell of real life, its ups and downs, the struggles to get by. Simple but powerful. The same could be said for his sound.
Knight's voice is gritty and rough but it's a perfect complement to the tales he spins in song.
The music, too, is far from overproduced.
It's not a complicated arrangement. In fact, Knight draws just as big a crowd when performing his acoustic.
A man, with nothing but a guitar, mesmerizing an entire audience with truth and feeling.
who still lives on his 40-acre farm with his family in Western Kentucky, is the genuine article.
Knight's music could be described as alt-country, Americana or even just country. It's certainly far closer to a traditional sound than the majority of tunes getting airplay these days.
For that, he's never achieved the commercial, chart-topping success man feel he deserves. His most recent album peaked at 148 on the Billboard Top 200, which happens to be the only album of his to crack the list. Little Victories and 2008's Heart of Stone were the only two to crack Top 40 on the country charts.
He admits the lure to pen a more commercial friendly song was there. He could just never bring himself to do it.
"It was always in the back of my mind, to write a hit song a radio song but it never worked out that way," Knight said. "I was never able to do that. I need to be able to believe what I'm singing."
It's obvious he believes it. The same can be said for his audience.
Despite lacking the chart-topping success, despite not getting major national airplay, Knight's shows across the country are packed with loyal fans who are drawn to the authenticity.
They certainly aren't coming for the floor show. Knight admits he's not the most social person in the world. He's more of the quiet type.
There are times when he's run through his entire set while barely speaking more than a few words total between songs.
There are no laser light shows; no smoke either. No, it's the music that keeps fans coming back.
"I'm not Garth Brooks. I'm not a big entertainer type of person. I'm not a great guitar player or a showman," Knight said. "But I feel like I have some pretty decent songs and I know how to deliver them and get them across."
And he does so between 80-100 dates per year.
Knight loves his music, but he's no road warrior when it comes to cramming in concert dates each year.
Knight and his wife were dating when he began performing and married around the time he got his record deal.
They eased into the touring process together, dealing with the time spent away from home.
But home is where Knight's heart is. He loves his music and his fans, but he didn't sign 200-plus stops per year out on the highway.
"I couldn't imagine that being my whole existence," Knight said. "I don't know how people do it.
I have 40 acres, horses, dogs, three kids, a wife, a sawmill, tractor all the kids are playing sports, that's life right there."
And that's the truth of it when it comes to Knight. You can't fake that type of authenticity and it's evident from the first few bars of whichever of his songs you listen to.
People appreciate that and it shows.
For more information, visit www.chrisknight.net and check out his discography.
Hughes may be reached online at firstname.lastname@example.org.