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Chris Knight

THE JEALOUS KIND (Dualtone) • Chris Knight

Everybody loves Chris Knight, the same way they love Steve Earle or Fred Eaglesmith. For that very reason, I was slow to catch the wave. Once I did, it didn't take any time to hear what the buzz was all about. I've crossed paths with a couple of his co-writers this week, and they shake their heads in a similar way when they say it, "Cat writes great songs."

He's the kind of man's man that the women love, so he's got it goin on. He's a farm and a family man, the roots poet laureate of Slaughters, Kentucky. This is his third record, and sure to raise his profile on the national level. It won't be long before he lands a bunch of songs the way that he and Nicholson did for Montgomery Gentry with "She Couldn't Change Me" in 2001. He's writing classic songs with hot properites: Gary Nicholson, Chuck Prophet, Stacey Dean Campbell, David Leone, Austin Cunningham, and Nashville angels Matraca Berg and Christy Sutherland, both of whom sing fabulous backup tracks on their respective songs.

The production and the player roster also set the disc apart. Renegade Dan Baird from the Georgia Satellites and the notorious Joe Hardy co-produce a true grit vibe that does the artist proud. It's a frickin beautiful thing to hear Greg Morrow and Keith Christopher lock up on bass and drums, that's rock and roll. And when it's Bob Britt and co-producer Baird on guitar and Tony Harrell on keys, you got it pretty well kicked in the ass at that point, with songs and a singer like this. But there are more fantastic players, and the notes don't say who's on what (though we think they should). Ty Tyler plays guitar and bouzouki, Chris and co-producer Hardy play acoustic, Tammy Rogers plays violin and viola, Dan Dugmore plays electric and steel. And on "The Border," it's Dave Pomeroy on bass, Biff Watson on acoustic, and Shannon Forrest on drums. It's a gritty who's who.

It's a tribute to both artists to say that to me Chris sounds like the American answer to Fred Eaglesmith, one of our favorite songwriters (see our interview with Fred). They've written some mighty fine songs together, including "A Pretty Good Guy" and "Blame Me," both on his previous disc, also on Dualtone Records, the little label that showed em all.

Ain't seen him live yet, but now I'm fixin to. This is a great album, one that belongs in the collection of all Americana fans and lovers of a good country song. Listen for yourself on the clips page, and buy it here. • FG

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