MP3 Andrew McKnight - Something Worth Standing For
If you like stylistically versatile acoustic singer/songwriters, this album will not disappoint - top-shelf singing, songcraft and musicianship really shine on these 16 cuts.
16 MP3 Songs
COUNTRY: Americana, FOLK: Modern Folk
Andrew McKnight is a changed man. In the three years since his last CD Beyond Borders was released, the singer, writer and guitarist has become a father and settled into his 40s. After a distinguished career as a solo artist, he started performing and touring with bassist Sean Kelly, only to have the partnership derailed by his friend’s yearlong battle with cancer. And like many Americans, he has grown increasingly weary and frustrated by a country that seems to have lost its way in the world.
While Borders was colored musically and thematically by many influences from around the globe, Something Worth Standing For is very much an American album. McKnight directly confronts those feelings, shared by all who believe in the American ideals taught in elementary school. At times he evokes the literate melodic darkness of Richard Shindell, at others the white blues and soul influences along the Mississippi Delta, while still sounding like the familiar rustic poet from the Blue Ridge foothills. McKnight has created a coherent and compelling musical portrait of modern America, while drawing inspiration from legendary musicians who became icons of their own difficult times.
Something reflects the maturity of a veteran songpoet and seasoned musical artisan. He focuses on threads in the American tapestry through the lens of illegal immigrants, of ordinary people clinging to lost treasures of their past, and of those praying for loved ones to safely return from war. Notable are the rollicking Cajun-meets-Clapton title cut, “Times We’re Living In,” a haunting indictment of the forces that coalesced behind Katrina, “Wind Whispers Your Name,” an a cappella elegy for a fallen soldier, and “Bridges,” a beautiful meditation on the cycles on parenthood co-written with Mary Chapin Carpenter’s keyboardist Jon Carroll. And honoring the “folk process,” McKnight updated lyrics to the traditional “Worried Man Blues” as well as to Robert Johnson’s “Crossroads,” the spooky solo slide blues that closes the album.
While not shy about highlighting social and environmental issues, McKnight studiously avoids the stridency of many socially-conscious songwriters, preferring instead to create musical vignettes that let the listener see circumstances through the eyes of his protagonists. But he recounts, “for two years every time I sat with pen and guitar it seemed that everything came out angry or trite. I finally had to let myself give those emotions a voice, without regard to how they might be received.” The result is that he has taken on many polarizing subjects in a way that transcends popular political labels.
He credits baby Madeleine with inspiring him to take the challenge. “When I look into her tiny smiling face, I think ‘what kind of man would I be for her, if I am not willing to take a stand for my beliefs?’ And yet in doing so, I rediscovered how much we Americans have in common – we want so many of the same things, we just have different ideas about how to achieve them.”
People who are interested in Richard Shindell R.E.M. should consider this download.