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Chris Knight 

With G.S. Harper. Thursday, August 24, at the Beachland Tavern.

With his husky drawl, working-man's poetry, and rugged country-rock sound, Chris Knight's music draws inevitable comparisons to Steve Earle -- but the young Nashville upstart of Guitar Town, as opposed to the post-prison rabble-rouser of Jerusalem.

On the heels of a trio of major-label albums that produced a fervent following but not success, Knight moved to an indie for his latest release. Not surprisingly, Enough Rope stands as his strongest overall effort, with a memorable mix of raucous "cinder-block juke-joint" roots rock and quieter country heartbreak.

The Kentucky native's vividly detailed tunes traverse a landscape of repossessed farms and ghostly rural routes inhabited by small-town folk who know that not all dreams come true. A terrific storyteller, Knight is equally eloquent with introspection. In "To Get Back Home," he calls the musician's life "the only way I know to pay the bills," wearily lamenting that "sometimes I'd rather be chopping wood/Or rolling rocks up a hill." His deep catalog of finely rendered moments suggests that he made the right decision.

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