Archive for the Top 5 Category

Friday Top 5: Chris Knight

Posted in Chris Knight, Top 5 on September 5, 2008 by AmericanaPulse

Chris Knight played Knoxville last night with The Hackensaw Boys. I was, unfortunately, unable to attend due to this thing I have called a job. Nevertheless… Chris Knight’s appearance in Knoxville last night, coupled with the release of his new CD, Heart of Stone has inspired me to revisit my Chris Knight collection this week.

For this week’s Top five, I will be dipping into Knight’s back catalogue… nothing from the new CD is on the list. It’s still a little too fresh right now for me to really tell if anything will crack the list. There are several contenders, though… I posted a few of them in my review of the album here

“Love and a .45,” “It Ain’t Easy Being Me,” and “Framed” come from Knight’s self-titled debut album from 1998. “Becky’s Bible” can be found on 2001’s A Pretty Good Guy while “The Jealous Kind” is the title track from Knight’s 2003 release.

All of these songs are very representative of Knight’s writing style in that they all tell a story of someone who is desperate or down on their luck. The jilted lover of “The Jealous Kind” could easily be the same unjustly(?) accused killer from “Framed.” In “Becky’s Bible,” a poker game gone wrong leads our hero to look for salvation while running from the police. The protagonist from “It Ain’t Easy Being Me” just can’t seem to make the right choices, while the cop from “Love and a .45” makes a questionable choice himself.

The characters in these songs are mostly unlikeable. They are killers, prostitutes, dirty dealers, and jealous lovers… people you would probably distance yourself from in real life. In Knight’s hands, though, you can feel empathy for their situations and hope for them to come out on top. That’s not an easy thing to do, but Knight does it with ease.

Chris Knight: The Jealous Kind (Buy Album)
Chris Knight: Love and a .45 (Buy Album)
Chris Knight: It Ain’t Easy Being Me (Buy Album)
Chris Knight: Framed (Buy Album)
Chris Knight: Becky’s Bible (Buy Album)

Friday Top 5: Kathleen Edwards

Posted in Kathleen Edwards, Top 5 on August 29, 2008 by AmericanaPulse

It’s time to introduce a new feature here at AFCLAAWB. The Friday Top 5.

Every time my wife and I take a long car trip together, we inevitably end up playing a game we like to call “Top 5.” The rules are simple. One of us comes up with a category and the other has to name their five favorite things that fall under that category. She may start by asking me my five favorite Cincinnati Reds (E. Davis, B. Larkin, J. Rijo, S. Casey, T. Browning). I’ll counter by asking her to name her five favorite Washington Redskins (M. Rypien, D. Green, A. Monk, G. Clark, C. Portis), and we go on from there.

Eventually, the topics will always turn to music… and that’s when things get tough. Ask me to pick my five favorite R.E.M. albums, and I’ll agonize over the decision for hours. Ask me to pick my five favorite R.E.M. songs? It may take weeks… months even.

The point is that picking my five favorite songs from any artist isn’t always easy, but I’m willing to make the tough choices here every Friday. R.E.M. will have to wait a few weeks after I’ve actually narrowed things down to my top 50.

Today… it’s Kathleen Edwards.

Kathleen Edwards is a Canadian singer songwriter who now has three albums under her belt: 2003’s Failer, 2005’s Back to Me, and 2008’s Asking for Flowers. Probably the best way I could describe Edwards’ music to someone who had never heard it would be to tell them to imagine what Lucinda Willams’ and Tom Petty’s daughter might sound like if she grew up listening to Neil Young records.

In chronological order… My five favorite Kathleen Edwards songs are “Six O’Clock News” from Failer, “In State,” “Back to Me,” and “What are You Waiting For?” from Back to Me, and “Asking for Flowers” from Asking for Flowers.

“Six O’Clock News” was the first Kathleen Edwards song I ever heard, and the one that drew me in to her music.

“In State” is a sort of prequel to “Six O’Clock News”… Edwards’ failed attempt to avert the impending tragedy.

“Back to Me” was an immediate favorite of mine for the veiled sexual innuendo in the chorus and the Petty-style guitar solo.

“What Are You Waiting For?” delivers the quintessential Kathleen Edwards lyric roughly 1:45 into the song. If you wondered why she publishes her songs under the name Potty Mouth Music… wonder no more.

“Asking for Flowers” is, I think, one of the best songs Edwards has written. It chronicles a relationship gone south through the eyes of a woman who is tired of having to ask her man to be nice to her.

So many songs could have gone here… but there is only room for five. I stand by these choices.

Kathleen Edwards: Six O’Clock News (Buy Album)
Kathleen Edwards: In State (Buy Album)
Kathleen Edwards: Back to Me (Buy Album)
Kathleen Edwards: What Are You Waiting For? (Buy Album)
Kathleen Edwards: Asking for Flowers (Buy Album)