Chris Knight

The Jealous Kind

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Chris Knight's third album, The Jealous Kind, is of a piece with his first two, Chris Knight and A Pretty Good Guy. Once again, Knight sings in a throaty tenor with a Texas twang, a voice that will remind many listeners of Steve Earle. Doubling that resemblance are Knight's songs, which run to midtempo country-folk-rock arrangements of tunes with lyrics about a variety of ne'er-do-well lowlifes who struggle with controlling their drinking, holding onto their jobs, getting back their girlfriends, and committing petty (and sometimes not so petty) crimes. A typical effort is "The Border," co-written with Christie Sutherland, in which a couple, Jim and Loretta, hook up in a dive in Brownsville, party there and in Mexico, and, when their money runs out, rob a liquor store. "Carla Came Home" tells the story of a father's murderous revenge against a son-in-law who abused his daughter, while "Long Black Highway," performed as an acoustic dirge, is a ghost story about two young men who party through the Midwest and, when their money runs out, rob a gas station. Knight occasionally turns more thoughtful, as on "A Train Not Running" and "Broken Plow," which deal with rural economic desperation, and "Hello Old Man," a meditation by a son on his father. But his focus always remains on scruffy, down-and-out types, getting in trouble due to a combination of circumstances and their own weaknesses. "We all do some things we come to regret," he sings in "Staying Up All Night Long," "We get forgiven but we can't forget." It's those "things" that interest Knight most as a songwriter. (The CD features a music video of "Oil Patch Town" from A Pretty Good Guy, accessible via computer.)

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