Lonesome Highway lines up a treat with Kentucky Chris

SPECIALISTS in bringing the very best alt.country and Americana artists to the Capital, Lonesome Highway hits 2007 running with the eagerly-anticipated appearance of Kentucky singer/songwriter Chris Knight.

Knight grew up in the small western Kentucky mining town of Slaughters. Which is rather apt, as his songs explore the darker side of life - murder, death, fights, boozing and slipping around. You know, the usual.

Confederate Railroad, John Anderson and Randy Travis have all recorded his songs, but it's Knight's own interpretations that make the biggest impact.

He writes brutally honest material and his music exudes emotive imagery. His sound is acoustic, but it rocks with some great electric lead and slide guitar.

His songs are four-minute novels, mainly about his native Kentucky upbringing and characters he knew.

Hillbilly music lives and thrives in the hard-working hands of Knight. Most Nashville singers would wish that they could impart half of the emotion he does.

While working on his fourth and latest album, Enough Rope, Knight admits that he had one ambition in mind - to write and record at least one solitary song that would get him on the airwaves and transmute into mainstream success.

"I kind of had the idea of doing something that was gonna be a little bit outreaching to the general public," says Knight.

"You know, give me a little boost, a little bump. Something like a hit, something that might get played on the radio was the original intent." Finding the hit single lark easier than he had anticipated - it took him just one attempt - Knight then went full circle in his thinking and decided to go back to making the sort of music he had done since his 1998 self-titled debut album.

"After the first recording session, I just said, 'That ain't me. I'm gonna do this the way I want to do it', " he remembers. "That's what I did for the rest of the record. I'm too close to the music and I can't record a song that I don't like or don't believe myself when I'm singing it.

"I've found if I try to do that, it don't work. If I lean toward cutting a song that country radio might be interested in, I don't give a s*** about it, and I don't have any faith in it."

As is the norm with singer/songwriters as they mature, Knight says that the sort of thing he is inspired to write changes the older he grows. "When I started, I had my whole life to write about," he says.

"I had a real good raising growing up. It was interesting to me, growing up in a rural area in a big family in a small town. So, I got a lot of inspiration.

"Now, it's harder to dig and find those things to write about because I don't want to keep rewriting ideas.

"It's the here and now - I gotta look out the window and pick something to write about. Things that inspire me now are the everyday things.

"And I can write a song around a hook now, which I didn't used to be able to do."

• Chris Knight, The Pleasance Cabaret Bar, The Pleasance, Tuesday, 7.30pm, 10, 0131-220 3234