Richard Knott – Long Story Short
Solid Thumb Music
CD: 13 Songs, 54:49 Minutes
Styles: Contemporary Acoustic Folk and Blues, All Original Songs
Remember the old days of the Internet, circa 1995? At the very beginning of the digital age, Netizens who had a lot to say made individual websites, then blogs, then vlogs. Now there’s YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and all sorts of postmodern media that can help one get one’s message across. With that in mind, it’s best to think of Long Story Short, the new CD from the UK’s Richard Knott, as a musical blog. A good guitarist and sly satirist, Knott knows how to expound upon various subjects (e.g. love, politics, and the solitude of online life) through acoustic finger-picking. That’s his strength, along with an aptitude for songwriting. His weakness? Singing, pure and simple. He converses his way through thirteen original tunes, only stretching his vocal cords on the last selection’s refrain (listed below). Truth be told, this album contains far more folk than blues, and purists will know it from the very first notes. Some might compare Knott to Arlo Guthrie or Jimmie Rodgers, however – a high compliment.
According to his corner of cyberspace, “After many years spent mastering the intricacies of fingerstyle blues and ragtime guitar while holding down a heavyweight day job, Richard Knott decided it was time, as he puts it, ‘to give up being respectable for a living.’ Going on to study in the UK and USA with guitar masters like Woody Mann and John Miller, he took up songwriting, adding a broad new set of influences to his music, ranging from Guy Clark to Steely Dan. The result is a unique blend of word-smithery and…guitar magic, coming at each song from an offbeat and often thought-provoking angle.”
Performing along with Knott are co-producer Ian Cleverdon on handclaps and mandolin; Colin Oakes on electric guitars; Hilary Morel on lead female vocals; Phil Caffrey on piano; Grant Dermody on harmonica; Dave Dailey on fretless bass; Stuart Cleverdon on handclaps, and Jane Knott on background vocals for track twelve. Richard himself performs on lead vocals and various guitars, including resonator, nylon-strung, acoustic and electric.
The following track contains the best summary of the biggest query plaguing folks today.
Track 11: “The Question” – According to this jaunty little number, there are “seven billion on the planet.” Nevertheless, our narrator laments, “Why do I feel so alone?” He gets tons of junk mail and e-mail attention from Russian models (true story; check out the liner notes for proof). The catchy finger-picking, handclaps and hook will get audiences singing along in a hurry.
To make a Long Story Short, Richard Knott’s latest is full of fantastic songwriting!