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Roger Knott - Echoes in Time

  by Malcolm Carter

published: 18 / 7 / 2017

Roger Knott - Echoes in Time
Label: Leg Room Records
Format: CD


Eleventh album from British country artist Roger Knott which reveals some change of direction

Every once in a while a new album arrives from our very own country artist Roger Knott. Knott’s eleventh album, ‘Echoes in Time’ was recently released and it’s an essential purchase not just for those who have already been smitten by Knott’s previous albums but for any country music fan. Initially it appears that Knott hasn’t taken any major diversions from what has gone before but why fix something when it’s not broken? The set was produced, as were Knott’s earlier albums, by Thomm Jutz in Nashville. While Jutz had no hand in writing the songs on ‘Echoes in Time’ (the majority are Knott originals, the remainder by Gordon Irvine), his guitar playing and production skills are all over this album. Knott’s inviting vocals and his ability to write attractive melodies are the perfect companions to his storytelling and shouldn’t be underestimated but in Jutz, who has worked with Nanci Griffith, Mary Gauthier, Otis Gibbs and Jason Ringenberg, Knott has the perfect producer for his work. It appears that Knott recorded his vocals in the UK while Jutz did his thing in Nashville which makes the results even more impressive. Songs like ‘Dig Infinity’ (a co-write between Knott and Irvine, which is one of the most country-influenced songs on the album with some of the most astute lyrics) sounds like the band are playing live in the studio together. That Jutz can suggest a band making music together in an intimate setting while an ocean separates those concerned is further proof of his talents. Although there’s no denying that Knott has been heavily influenced by country/bluegrass music and it’s not something he tries to hide, some of the best songs on ‘Echoes in Time’ are when the track is shorn of any shade of country music and Knott’s gentle vocals along with Jutz’s guitar playing are the main focus. The love song ‘Strange Powers’, basically just acoustic guitar and voice with few embellishments is one of the most powerful songs on offer here. While the opening cut ‘The Bridge’ has more of a group sound that song, although given a slight country lilt courtesy of Jeff Taylor’s accordion, also shifts Knott out of the country circle. The song is blessed with one of Knott’s gorgeous melodies; his vocals display yearning that isn’t always noticeable in his vocals and like much of the album touches on the passing of time. It’s a brilliant start to the album; if the album had kicked off with the following song, Irvine’s ‘Corduroy Road’ which is pure old country there’s the feeling that in these days of the short attention span newcomers will have had Knott down as a country artist and, therefore. missed out on some of his best tunes. While Knott has travelled that country path many times through the years and done so successfully the songs on this latest collection on which his country traits are subtly used, like on the title track, are the most satisfying. Despite the presence of fiddle and banjo on the track, it’s not that overtly country that it’s going to only appeal to the country crowd. As the title would suggest ‘Turn Back the Clocks’ is another looking back song, a radio-friendly tune that again shows Knott’s skill with lyrics we can all relate to set to a memorable melody. ‘Evening Song’ by contrast looks towards the future, and, written by Irvine, it’s another song that shows that Knott isn’t just another country performer. Eleven albums in and while not making any drastic changes musically Knott can still hold the listeners attention and still has plenty to say. Looking forward to the next album, especially after the trio of songs which close this thirteen track set, all of which were written by Knott and place him in more of a folk setting than a country one and also happen to be some of the most interesting songs we’ve yet heard from this talented performer.

Track Listing:-
1 Bridge
2 Corduroy Road
3 Echoes In Time
4 Drop Of Whisky
5 Turn Back The Clocks
6 Dig Infinity
7 Strange Powers
8 Evening Song
9 Oakenshade
10 Halfway There
11 Swallows Are Leaving
12 Soldier
13 So Be It

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The Field and the Sky (2012)
Classy combination of country rock and pop on seventh album, which was recorded in Nashville, from Hertfordshire-based singer-songwriter, Roger Knott
Big News from a Small Town (2010)
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Step Out Into the Sun (2007)

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