Friday Tunes: Christ Knight at Hill Country, new Isbell single

The bulk of today's playlist is made up of Chris Knight tunes because ICYMI, my favorite Kentucky troubadour is playing Hill Country tonight at 10:30. Get your tickets here immediately. I will be attending with another erstwhile horse racing junkie and my favorite local country musician

If you're not familiar with Chris Knight, well—shame on you. This guy is the real deal when it comes to rural songwriting. There's no big-truck showboating or redneck chest-thumping about Knight. His music has always been characterized by deceptively-simple storytelling and blunt truths about the hardships, disappointments and "little victories" of low-income rural life. There's an unflinching dignity about his material that neither romanticizes nor ignores the dramas of country living. 

Knight tends to let the music speak for him rather than running his mouth to the media, but he did offer this nugget about "Little Victories," the title track of his most recent release (2012). The king of straightforward storytelling, John Prine, lends vocals to the track: 

When I was 16, I got a John Prine songbook and learned about 40 of his songs,” Knight explains. “Used to play them for the kids in study hall at school every day. About 20 years later, I finally got to meet him when I opened a few shows for him. He asked me to come out and sing “Paradise” as part of his encore, and I got to play the blonde Martin guitar that was on the cover of his first album. I sent him “Little Victories” and he liked the song enough to be on it.

In other words, get thee to Hill Country tonight. It's full band and well worth the $25 cover. 

The other highlight this week: Jason Isbell has released another single from his upcoming LP, Something More Than Free.