Private press slice of country rock from 1980, released by a man named Kenny Knight. Crossroads is his only LP and has been rescued from obscurity, in the way that these things are, by the Paradise of Bachelors label. Knight has just the right level of resignation in his voice, and some great little arrangements: worth picking up.
LP £20.99 POB018LP
Reissue LP on Paradise of Bachelors.
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CD £11.49 POB018CD
CD on Paradise of Bachelors.
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Bless this man. Can I leave it at that? The narrative around Kenny Knight’s ‘Crossroads’ is as heart-melting or eye-rolling as your tolerance of PR allows, but for me, it’s a sweet old cliche: man makes album, the general population proceed not to give a shit, until suddenly!!!: someone out there cares, and they make us philistines listen to it. For a lot of people, random reissues of old, forgotten albums might seem cynical, but there’s something tenacious and touching about it to me, at least in this case: shout at people about the music you love until some asshole gives it a 7/10.
I’m an asshole, but I’m not that asshole, because this record makes me swoon. Knight’s infatuation with twang is over the top to the nth degree, as if willing country hallmarks into existence. It’s an immediate signature of the time and place this album was written in, as well as the frame of mind: Knight uses pedal steel and whistling guitar affectations as an immediate expression of grief. His lyricism isn’t strong, but its sadness is hard won, with those minute country melodies seeping in for the perfect words: on “All My Memories” he rolls in a modest, resigned guitar riff over admissions that “changing things wouldn’t mean anything”. It sounds like rainy clouds slotting into place along a grey sky.
It’s the first three songs here that really individuate Knight as a country songwriter, one who pours on the tropes but speaks his personal truths. From there, you can hear hints of a brilliant folk traditionalist, one who has heard Tim Hardin inside out and can replicate him totally -- “Carry Me Down” sounds like it could have existed on ‘Tim Hardin 1’, and the darkly comic “Whiskey”, which details Knight’s immense fear of dying, recalls old country outlaws who stay healthy by being badass. In another world, Knight might have been the one we'd be comparing new artists to. I hope he finds love now, at least.
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