Monday, July 30, 2007

If I Were You

I've been listening to Chris Knight's The Trailer Tapes pretty much non-stop all day. Knight's a great, gravel-voiced folkie with a twang, Bob Dylan with a Stetson, but unlike Dylan he's considerably more plainspoken, if no less intense. He's got four good alt-country/rock albums that are well worth your time, but these trailer tapes (yep, recorded in the living room of his single-wide in Slaughter, Kentucky) are something else again, raw and plaintive and stripped down to the bare essentials, including the lyrics. It's just Chris, his acoustic guitar, and his piercing words. Here are some of them:

If I were you
I would gladly loan to me
A dollar or two
So I could eat yeah and maybe
Get just one good night of sleep
But I'm not
And I'm stranded like a castaway in this town
And you seem so unwilling to help a fellow
When he's down

If I were you
Thats what I'd do

If I were you
I wouldnt be out on these streets
The whole night through
Yeah I'd have a job
And a pretty wife that
I could come home to
But I don't
And I have twenty cents left to my name
And you're the only one left here
That I have to blame

If I were you
Thats what I'd do

Sir it's not my way
To take from you
The things I haven't earned
Wish I could go back and heed
The lessons I have learned
But I can't
So you gladly put your money
In this sack
Yes sir this thing is loaded
And I have the hammer back

If I were you
That's what I'd do
If I were you
That's what I'd do
-- Chris Knight, "If I Were You"


jackscrow said...

One of the bands I am in has been covering Mr. Knight for years.

From "It Ain't Easy Being Me":

"...There oughta be a side show act
For freaks like me
I could be the star of the show with my name on the marquee
In a room with a big red button that says ‘danger do not touch’
Twice a day I'd mash it down and you can watch me self-destruct..."

I gave a cd to Tim Peacock a couple years ago and they brought him in to Stuarts in Nelsonville.

Great writer. Big in Texas, I guess. But not in Japan.

Adventures with Us said...

I've loved all of his stuff. Another good comparison might be Steve Earle (without the political baggage). At least the first couple of times I heard "If I Heard You" I thought it was some new Steve Earle.

Andy Whitman said...

Sure, Steve Earle. And until the latest Steve Earle album (due out in a couple months, and where he starts to reclaim the old form), I would have told you that folks like Scott Miller (V-Roys) and Chris Knight were doing Steve Earle better than Steve Earle.

Scott Meek said...

I am downloading this from Emusic right now based purely on this post! I have a feeling I may have a new favorite.
I really appreciate your reviews Andy, I have discovered a few new artists thanks to your great reviews.
Most importantly, Loudon Wainright III's "Strange Weirdos." I am a new father to a little baby girl, and that album has become very near and dear!

Unknown said...

this is not so much a comment as a question: does anybody remember a Texas folkie back in the 70s named Russ Kirkpatrick? I used to see him at a club in Dallas called the Rubaiyat but have not heard anything from or about him in years. He'd be the kind of person you are writing about now if you were writing back then (huh?)