John Prine, Steve Earle Help Chris Knight Score a Few Little Victories
He didn't get any face time with the singer until years later, so the way he got those lessons was by sitting next to the record player all the while trying to pick out the chords and notes of Prine's songs by ear. Some of the Prine songs Knight was trying to best were "Sam Stone," "Saddle in the Rain" and "Paradise." Knight eventually got to where he could play more than 20 of Prine's songs.
"I've been listening to John Prine since I was 13 years old," Knight says. "I introduced a bunch of people to his music. I'd be playing his songs in study hall or on the street corner and these kids would be like, 'Where do you get them songs?'
"You know they had never heard any songs like that," he adds. "They were into Kiss but I started converting them to John Prine."
One of the highlights of Knight's career occurred recently when Prine came in to record with him for Knight's latest release, Little Victories, which is scheduled to be released today. Knight had opened a few shows for Prine, so he was familiar with Knight's work.
The one who really made the connection with Prine concerning the project was the album's producer, Ray Kennedy, who suggested Prine would be a good fit for the album and for Knight.
Kennedy is well-known for his 1991 hit country single "What a Way to Go."
"I've opened a few shows for John Prine so it wasn't like he was unfamiliar with my music," Knight says. "It was great to have him come down and sing on it. It was pretty cool."
Knight, who earned a degree in agriculture from Western Kentucky University, spent the next ten years as a mine reclamation inspector. When he was 26, Knight heard a sound coming through his AM radio that was a Bluegrass-meets-country-meets-hard-rock sound. The song her heard was Steve Earle's "Guitar Town." The vibe Earle had nailed together hit a chord in the upstart songwriter.
"It lit a fire under me, Knight says. "It made me really want to start writing songs and living that life."