Overall Rating: +++-
The thing about prolific songwriters is that they tend to release more albums than they probably should, allowing for impulsive stinker songs to mix with crafted gems that could have been more patiently collected for a full, rich Long-Play savoring. Arguably, Elvis Costello hangs out in that camp; as does Lou Reed; as does the interminable Mike Knott. Maybe that's what 'best ofs' or 'greatest hits' CDs are for? Perhaps. But how much greater a piece when the best of collection is the culmination of a specific period-in-time's effort and expression. How much more enriching the painting versus the collage. There is a time and place for a landscape viewing of an artist's evolution, but such transcendence and mental juggling is for family reunions and the occasional photo album perusal. We live in the moment, and the moment is what we want, what we need to experience. The song of moment, the compilation of moments into periods that is what we need, that is what we live that is what is real. 'Best ofs' are fantasy at best. The LP, the full-length this is real, and this is what should be made excellently here, and now; not in a producer's coffer-filling retrospect. We need patient and selective album generation that represents itself with patience and selectivity.
In 2001, singer/songwriter Michael Knott released his solo album, Life of David. An artist who believes that "most bands are solo artists in a sense," Knott spent a large part of his career in various bands, including Aunt Betty's and Cush. With this release, he ventures alone into what he considers the most telling record he's ever done. Combining the styles of rock, American folk, and British pop, Knott offers throaty vocals that in and of themselves communicate passion and heartfelt sincerity. At times the music verges on gritty and raw, however, it is never lacking in honesty and artistic design. Based on Knott's own experiences, as well as the life of the biblical King David, songs include "Cast Me Away" and "Chameleon."
This is being called a "comeback" album for Michael Knott but I say he never went away. This album is a concept album about the biblical character of David but what strikes me most is Knott's honest, intimate delivery of the songs. Perhaps Knott feels like we imagine David felt, a man riddled with horrible truths as well as vicious rumors, and through it all he hopes to win the race but knows that his strength is gone.
The cd opens with "Cast Me Away" which is probably one of Knotts' best songs in his catalog. The cd from there goes on a back and forth journey musically, from alternative rock to just Mike and his acoustic guitar. "Chameleon" also really stands out as Knott declares in a raspy warble, "I love all God's creatures, all but one, this chameleon". You can't help but notice Knotts' particularly intimate delivery of this song. "Chameleon" lyrically reminds me of the human desperation of LSU songs such as "This Is The Healing" and "Shaded Pain". By the time you get to the end of the cd you have been through a myriad of emotions which ties in great to the end track "Hospital" where Knott declares humbly ""I think I need to write this song/I think I need to sing along/I think I need to quit this job/I think I need a bank to rob/I think I need another show/ I think I need to let you know/ I think I need a hospital".
To be quite honest, I wasn't sure I liked this cd at first. But after a few listens my view totally changed, this is one of Mike Knott's finest moments and I have to believe that , despite it being about the biblical character of David, it is also one of his most honest looks at himself.
Michael Knott (homepage)
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