Richard Knott's dexterous guitar work, rooted in the styles of his early blues and folk fingerpicking heroes like Stefan Grossman, Leo Kottke and Ralph McTell, is coupled with whip-smart, wryly observed songwriting to create a fresh and entertaining take on the traditional singer/songwriter format.
Never one to stand still, Richard has recently released his first full length 13-track album, Long Story Short. Augmenting his own playing and singing with contributions from a number of guest musicians, including US harmonica maestro Grant Dermody, the album adds new flavours to his music without losing any of the intelligent and carefully crafted songwriting that has become his trademark.
'Wow, what can I tell you...some of the sexiest chord sequences we've ever heard, some of the nimblest guitar playing we've ever had, and some very, very clever words...'
- Ian Reynolds-Young, songwriter and host of Bury Songwriters' Circle
After many years spent mastering the intricacies of fingerstyle blues and ragtime guitar while holding down a heavyweight day job, Richard Knott decided it was time, as he puts it, "to give up being respectable for a living". Going on to study in the UK and USA with guitar masters like Woody Mann and John Miller, he took up songwriting - adding a broad new set of influences to his music, ranging from Guy Clark to Steely Dan. The result is a unique blend of wordsmithery and fingerstyle guitar magic, coming at each song from an offbeat and often thought provoking angle.
"Unpredictable and fresh"
- Woody Mann, international blues, jazz and American roots musician
Using anything from blues to bossa nova and roots to ragtime styles, Richard creates driving and infectious guitar rhythms and then adds deft wordplay to create quirky and often witty songs, with stories that engage both the heart and the mind. With numbers covering some of the more perplexing aspects of modern life - from how it's possible to feel alone in a world where so many Russian models seem to know your email address, to the perils of falling in love with your psychiatrist - Richard has earned favourable comparisons with artists such as Loudon Wainwright, Chris Smither and Eric Idle.
"Like a cross between Stephen Bishop, Roy Book Binder and Tom Lehrer"
- Phil Hare, leading UK acoustic guitarist, songwriter and performer
Richard can regularly be seen playing live in acoustic, folk and guitar clubs at venues around Greater Manchester, Cheshire and Derbyshire. Further afield, he made his US debut at International Guitar Seminars in New York, while back home he has opened shows for a number of internationally known blues and folk artists such as Geoff Muldaur, Steve Tilston, Mark Harrison, Woody Mann, John Doyle and Tony McManus.
"A very, very sweet guitar player"
- Blues In The Morning, CFUV101.9fm, Vancouver
Richard Knott's musical achievements include winning a place in the semi finals of the Nashville based International Songwriting Competition, and working as leader of the Songwriters' Circle at the Euroblues Promotions annual Blues Week camp. His music has also been used for demonstration purposes by National Guitars (USA) and Busker Guitars (UK). Closer to home, he offers informal fingerstyle guitar lessons to people who say they want to play like him!
"A superb singer songwriter with a wonderful guitar technique"
- Sale Folk Club
His debut EP, Reboot, received a very positive welcome on release, clearly demonstrating the breadth of Richard's talent - blending the bluesy instrumental title track with the romantic, Brazilian flavoured This Lullaby, plus a humorous exploration of the life of a lottery winner in the track Zero, which has become a firm favourite with audiences at his live gigs. His latest album, Long Story Short, is now available and has been getting airplay on Jazz FM, BBC local radio, and a number of independent blues and folk programmes.
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