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Chester Knight Standing Strong with new album

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Naomi Gordon, Sage Writer, Saskatoon







Page 18

Chester Knight and his band the Wind have played the festival circuit across Canada and the United States, performing at such diverse venues as the Hopi Pueblo Celebration in Arizona and the Grammyfest in Los Angeles. And when they aren't on stage pumping out their unique sound of First Nations rhythm-a little dash of country and a whole lot of rock and roll-to dancing fans, Knight has been in the studio, capturing that sound for posterity.

Knight has recorded three albums so far, Freedom, released in 1996, Falling Down, released in 1999, and his latest, Standing Strong, which was released last year. Currently Knight and his band are working on a fourth album entitled Road Warrior, the second album in a two-record deal with Sound of America Records (SOAR).

Each of Knight's albums so far has been recognized with Juno nominations in the Aboriginal Recording of the Year category, and in 2000, he took the Juno home for the album Falling Down. That album also earned him the Canadian Aboriginal Music Award in the Best Group category, the Prairie Music Award for Outstanding Aboriginal Recording, and the First Nations Award in the Arts and Entertainment category.

Music critics have soaked up Knights edgy voice and powerful lyrics and continue to praise his latest album, produced by Brandon Friesen, with Juno winner Derek Miller on board as associate producer.

The difference between this album and Knight's previous works is the emphasis on a heavier rock tone. His powerful voice captivates the listener, leading them from First Nations drumming to a whining guitar. The song Shamefaced (So You Tell Me), which Knight co-wrote with his daughter Laura, is an explosive rock ballad that catapults lyrics about the trials of love into slick guitar riffs. The beat is catchy and quickly draws you in.

Cochise Was a Warrior takes a look at the struggles of First Nations people, but Knight provides a sense of hope and reason to keep fighting and staying alive by calling on stories of warriors. Fiddles and a stronger percussion beat override the rock and roll aspect of this song, lending more of a country flavor, but still managing to maintain the raw sound and First Nations essence.

Bingo Baby provides a totally different feel than the other songs on the album, with Knight playing with his lyrics, showing a more humorous side. This song is more blues than rock, with a douse of sax and snare drums.

Standing Strong is a powerful album that takes the listener on a journey. Knight projects his moody and soulful voice giving the audience 45 minutes of pure pleasure. There's something for everyone on this album-blues, ska, ballads, rock, and the quintessential blending of First Nations spirit.