B.Knox announces new LP, Far From Folk, out April 8

Article Contributed by Baby Robot Media | Published on Friday, November 26, 2021

"I like sad songs," says Canadian songwriter B. Knox, whose second studio album — the tellingly titled Far From Folk — blends cosmic Americana, left-field honky tonk, rugged country-rock, and woozy roots music into its own melancholic mix. Far From Folk roots itself in the modern struggles we all endure, replete with vignettes about romance, estrangement, and the long journey toward hope. There are sad songs here, to be sure, but there's also an overarching sense of optimism, with B. Knox moving past the breakup songs that filled his debut — the acclaimed Heartbreak & Landscape — and focusing on something brighter.
A former schoolteacher, who has since turned to music to deliver life lessons, B.Knox hasn’t forgotten his roots. Even his stage name pays tribute to the family members who shaped him  - particularly his grandmother, whose maiden name was “Knox”, and his grandfather, Billy, who loans his first initial to the moniker - and his early years on the eastern shores of  Newfoundland clearly permeates his work. “I grew up in an area that was entirely Irish Catholic,” he laughingly explains, “before the age of ten, I didn’t know that anything other than Irish traditional music existed. That Celtic spirit is fairly rebellious, and they have these long ballads with sad narratives and undertones.”
Even so, Far From Folk expands beyond the singer/songwriter's folk foundation. Released on the heels of B. Knox's 2020 debut, Heartbreak & Landscape, and his four-song live EP, Hindsight is 20/20, the album makes room for electric guitar, organ, and swooning strings, with collaborator Aaron Goldstein pulling double duty as the record's producer and pedal steel player. From the sampled loops that run throughout the opening track, "Messy," to the blues-rock riffs of "Bullets Blades and Rope," Far From Folk embraces both electricity and experimentation, with B. Knox still anchoring each track in nuanced song craft. "Little Wars" mixes Telecaster twang, fiddle, and bar-band bombast with sharp insights about the human condition — "We all wanna live forever, we all wanna write our name in the stars, we all wanna play the hero in our little wars," he sings during the anthemic chorus — while "If I Break" finds him weighing the desire to succeed against the potential cost of failure.
These are rallying cries for those who, like B. Knox, are in the trenches, battling their way toward a brighter horizon. "If you made it through the first album alive," he writes in the album's liner notes, "my wish is that this one finds you less bitter and leaves you with a little hope." Playing an integral role in the album's hopeful tone is Aaron Goldstein, whose production adds ambiance and atmosphere to the songs B. Knox originally wrote alone in a cottage on Georgian Bay, Lake Huron. Raised roughly 2,000 miles east of Georgian Bay on the Atlantic coast, Knox developed an appreciation for the sea at an early age. He salutes that longtime interest in "Coastal Poetry," whose pounding chorus not only channels the feeling of waves against the shore, but doubles as a more carnal metaphor.
Double meanings run throughout Far From Folk, whose very title nods not only to the album's genre-crossing sound, but also its creation during the social distance regulations of the Covid-19 era."Let's try and be civil, let's try and be friends / If that doesn't work, let's burn it all down and start over again," Knox sings during "Only Words," a love song whose lyrics apply not to a relationship, but also to a society in need of a serious reboot.
Although largely recorded by Knox and Goldstein, Far From Folk makes room for horn players and background singers, with an outside rhythm section apearing on two tracks, as well. The result is an album that channels the lush, layered sound of a full band, while still emphasizing B.Knox's singer/songwriter sentiments and literate lyrics. Appropriately, everything comes to a close with an acoustic reprise of "Only Words" that channels the sparse sound of 2020's Heartbreak & Landscape. The song serves as both a nod to B.Knox's past and a reminder of just how far he's grown beyond his folk roots, highlighting an artist in eclectic evolution.
Far From Folk is out April 8, 2022.