Now that the New Year is upon us, and Groundhog Day is past, it feels apropos to revisit the reissue strand of the PoB curatorial campaign with Kenny Knight’s Crossroads, a record that has become a sentimental favorite here in recent years.
The first-ever reissue of the private-press country-rock rarity by Colorado auto body painter, Marine, and garage band lifer Kenny Knight—he played in the original ’60s Black Flag—Crossroads recalls a homebrew American Beauty-era Grateful Dead in its world-weary, low-key mood and indelible songwriting. Faded, anxious, melancholy, and beautifully woozy, this out-of-time document belies its 1980 release date. Produced in cooperation with Numero Group, it features liner notes by writer and collector Michael Klausman and Kenny himself. Highly recommended if you like The Youngbloods, Gram Parsons, Gene Clark, Lawrence Hammond, F.J. McMahon, pedal steel guitars, and Leslie speakers.
The deluxe LP, pressed on 150g virgin vinyl, features a heavy-duty reverse board jacket, detailed liner notes, and a download coupon; the CD is housed in a gatefold jacket. Pre-orders include an immediate 320k MP3 download of the first single, “America,” which you can listen to here thanks to our friends at Aquarium Drunkard, who write of Crossroads:
An understated Colorado country rock gem. Blending the dusty acoustic rambles of the Dead circa 1970, the world weary ache of White Light-era Gene Clarke and Knight’s own brand of faded Americana, the ten tracks here offer up a shot of pure, private press pleasure. While the pedal steel and warm backing vocals are as lovely as a Rocky Mountain sunrise, there’s an intensity and melancholy seared into every moment here.
– Tyler Wilcox, Aquarium Drunkard
We anticipate shipping pre-orders at least a week in advance of the May 12 release date.
To celebrate our second reissue by a U.S. serviceman, our Vietnam-themed Red Rippers reissue (PoB-05) will be discounted in all formats ($5/cassette; $8/MP3; $8/CD; $12/LP; $20 LP+CD) until May 12.
There’s a very singular combination of world-weariness and hope running throughout Crossroads, a still timely grappling with the realities of getting by in this country. You can hear it most clearly in “America,” which is at turns a paean to this nation, as well a plea to it: “don’t lock me out.” This juggling of sophisticated dualities extends even to his love songs, as on “One Down” (possibly the album’s finest track, and one which could sit comfortably next to American Beauty’s best), where he asks, “how much can one heart take?” while still acknowledging that he’ll “stay in love forever more.”
– Michael Klausman