Chris Knight (born June 24, 1960) is an American singer-songwriter from Slaughters, Kentucky. In addition to releasing solo records of his own material, Knight has had a successful career writing songs that have been recorded by Confederate Railroad, John Anderson, and Randy Travis among others.
Knight grew up in the small western Kentucky mining town of Slaughters, Kentucky. He grew up in the country, had a lot of cousins who all lived in the same area of Kentucky. Knight has three brothers and a sister. His father was a pipe liner. Knight said that both his grandfather and great grandfather were farmers who had big farms before the Depression, but that they just couldn't hang on to them.
When he was three years old, he asked for a plastic guitar for Christmas. At 15, he became serious and began teaching himself John Prine songs on his older brother's guitar.
Knight earned a degree in agriculture from Western Kentucky University. He worked for ten years as a mine reclamation inspector and as a miner's consultant for the Kentucky Department of Surface Mining.
Knight started writing songs when he was 26, but didn't start performing until he was 30. He got his first record deal when he was 37.
In 1986, he heard Steve Earle on the radio and decided to start writing songs. After six years he came to Nashville and won a spot on a songwriters' night at the Bluebird Cafe.
He attracted the interest of music producer Frank Liddell, who signed him to a contract with Bluewater Music. When Decca Records hired Liddell for an A&R position, Knight received a contract and in 1998 Decca released his self-titled debut. Knight still lived in a 10'-x-15' trailer on 90 acres (360,000 m) in Slaughters when the album was released. Decca folded at the end of the 1990s, only two years after Knight joined the label. After a couple years without a label, Knight signed with Dualtone Music Group.
Knight licensed his music to Dualtone Records for two records, then decided to release his music independently with the help of his manager. Knight said that "after the two records we decided that we could do anything an independent label can do, so we kind of cut out the record company. We cut out the third party 'cause we had access to everything - publicity, distribution, everything. There was really no reason to go on a smaller label whenever we could do it ourselves."
Knight is well known in Texas for writing the hit Montgomery Gentry song "She Couldn't Change Me" and because of his particular fame in Texas, was named an "Honorary Texan" in 2006 by Texas Governor Rick Perry.
He recorded his first demo tapes, bootlegged--and then self-released--while living alone in a trailer on his property outside Slaughters. Called The Trailer Tapes, and officially released in 2007. They were one of the best-selling records of Knight's career.
Like its predecessor, the twelve songs on Chris Knight's "Trailer II" were recorded in 1996 inside of his sweltering single-wide in a field just outside of Slaughters. Trailer II is far more than just a sequel to "The Trailer Tapes." The tapes were produced by producer/engineer Ray Kennedy (Steve Earle and Lucinda Williams).
It took Knight four years to release Little Victories in 2012. Knight's former Decca labelmate, Lee Ann Womack, collaborated with him on "You Lie When You Call My Name." Long-time musical hero John Prine sings on the title track.Buddy Miller plays guitar and sings on two tracks: "Missing You" and "Nothing on Me."
Knight's music has been described as "four-minute novels, mainly about his native Kentucky upbringing and characters he knew." Knight said, "It was interesting to me, growing up in a rural area in a big family in a small town. So, I got a lot of inspiration."
About his hometown, where he still lives, Knight says in Slaughters "there is not a whole lot going on. There are five or six churches. They just closed the grade school down. There used to be a high school, but they shut it down this year. There is one little store. They've torn the downtown down. When I was kid, my mother bought our school clothes in downtown Slaughters, but there is really nothing there now. A post office, churches and about 200 people."
When asked to talk about the darkness of his work, Knight said: "I never thought my first album was dark. I don't think any of them are that dark. I mean, people that like to read, I write songs like I would write books if I was a novelist. It's never been something that is that big a deal to me to write a story song with something real happening in it, but everybody got off on all this dark business."
Text from this biography licensed under creative commons license