I was down in Oklahoma this past weekend. It being my first time there, I was excited to check out some Red Dirt. Checked the local venues, didn’t see much in the way of the regular Red Dirt crowd, but I did see that Chris Knight would be in town. I am always down to see Chris again, even if it is for the seventh time in the fourth different state (once in NC, twice in Virginia, three times in Texas, and now once in Oklahoma).
It was well worth it. I saw him in a little listening room. Listening rooms are usually good for, well, listening, but the crowd was rowdy as hell. Chris was right—never should have gave Oklahomans real beer. I never heard Chris tell a story of more than a sentence before, but he talked for full paragraphs more than once between songs. He also stuck around after the concert, and I got to bullshit with him for a bit while I finished the last of the beers my seatmates pressed on me. I felt bad for taking his time and grateful for it, so I wound up buying another shirt and bought a physical copy of The Trailer Tapes for him to sign (a traditionalist at heart, I never thought to ask him for a selfie).
Little Victories may be my favorite Chris Knight album (and my favorite album of the last decade), but The Trailer Tapes have a special place in my heart. Taped in a trailer and gaining near mythical status as they were passed around as bootleg copies, the tracks on it are as good top to bottom as anything he wrote. He maybe only played one song from the album that night, but House and 90 Acres is a great one. It has so many elements of a great country song from the heyday of poets for the working man like Merle Haggard. It has farming, hard times (and not just economically), sheer cussedness, the bank as an antagonist, and a deep connection to not just the land but a particular acreage.
“My roots are anchored solid. I ain’t machinery I’m a man. I’ll be here in the morning, come pouring rain or sun. This house and 90 acres, what’s said is good as done.
House and 90 Acres is off The Trailer Tapes.