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Roger Knott - Been Down That Road

  by Malcolm Carter

published: 27 / 9 / 2008

Roger Knott - Been Down That Road
Label: Legroom Records
Format: CD


Catchy and sunny-sounding country rock recorded in Nashville on impressive fourth album from British singer-songwriter, Roger Knott

This fourth album from country singer Knott follows the same pattern as his previous release, ‘Step Out Into The Sun’, in as much as it was again recorded in Nashville, which is appropriate, but this latest collection is without the production talents of Clive Gregson; this time Knott has opted for Thomm Jutz to take the producer’s chair and he has made a pretty good job of following in Gregson’s footsteps. I felt that ‘Step Out Into The Sun’ was very much a game of two halves. It appeared that Knott felt more at home with the more up-tempo songs he opened that album with but it was the slower songs where his vocals really shone and there was many a time when I programmed the CD player to skip some of the faster songs in favour of songs such as the slower ‘The Sound Of Your Name’. On this collection of twelve originals either I’ve become more accustomed to Knott’s up-tempo country tunes or he has slowed down the tempo considerably overall as, like even on the opener, ‘Been Down That Road’, the songs feel that they have more depth, more substance and while that title song is certainly in Knott’s sing-a-long country style which predominated his last album I have the feeling that these songs are going to be played a lot more than those up-tempo songs on ‘Step Out Into The Sun’. It’s either Knott’s sweet melodies working their way into my head or, and I believe this is more accurate, that on this album he has toughened up his sound a little and it is all the better for that. Maybe putting Jutz in the producer’s chair was an inspired move. Jutz, of course, played guitars on the last album and takes guitar duties here too so overall the sound is similar but there is definitely something about these twelve songs that are going to make them appeal to more than the die-hard country scene than his previous album did. One of Knott’s greatest assets has been his vocals, as soon as you hear him sing it’s undeniably Knott. Making comparisons is fruitless and to find someone with an original voice in the type of country music Knott makes these days is rare. Coupled with that, Knott has lost none of his talent since the making of ‘Step Out Into The Sun’ of creating long-lasting melodies of the type that within no time at all you want to sing along to. As with his last collection of songs Knott’s songs have the ability to bring a little sunshine into even the darkest of days; the feet start tapping without you realising, you’re singing along before you know it and Knott has lifted those clouds that were darkening your day. The great thing about Knott’s work is that it makes no demands on the listener, his melodies wrap around you, there’s this familiar, cosy feeling to the tunes, like you’ve heard them before somewhere but you know you haven’t and his warm vocals are well suited to this type of country music. ‘Been Down That Road’ contains some of the best songs Knott has yet put down on tape, ‘When Love Comes Around’, ‘Sudden Rain’ and ‘Autograph’ will, some time in the future surely grace a ‘Best Of Roger Knott’ album. As with his last album Knott has some star names helping out ; besides Thomm Jutz, Pat McInerney ( who has worked with Nanci Griffith) is back on drums and LeeAnn Etheridge makes a welcome return on backing vocals ; all this shows in these songs and the fact that they were recorded in Nashville only makes the sound more authentic. When reviewing ‘Step Out Into The Sun’ I said that Knott’s music would not appeal to a wide audience, but I’m going to have to retract that with this latest collection, although his songs are firmly rooted in that good old country soil because of his vocals and melodies this album will be interesting to anyone who enjoys pop / folk music too. I also said in that review that Knott wasn’t going to change the world with his music. Maybe not, but with ‘Been Down That Road’ he will take you to another world for just over 40 minutes. ‘Been Down That Road’ is the best pure country album I’ve heard all year.

Track Listing:-
1 Been Down That Road
2 Crazy Rules
3 Sudden Rain
4 Bring Me Back A Souvenir
5 When Love Comes Around Again
6 Moment In The Sun
7 Uncle Charlie's Baton
8 From The Streets
9 Only On Loan
10 Autograph
11 Go Back To Dream
12 Rolling Oceans

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Echoes in Time (2017)
Eleventh album from British country artist Roger Knott which reveals some change of direction
The Field and the Sky (2012)
Big News from a Small Town (2010)
Step Out Into the Sun (2007)

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