CRESTVIEW — Award-winning singer, songwriter, guitarist and storyteller Andrew McKnight will soon visit the Crestview Public Library.
The northern Virginia resident will perform 6:30 p.m. Jan. 23 during Family Library Time. The free concert will last about an hour.
McKnight's solo performances are like one-man theatre; the songs are woven together with humorous stories and poetic drama, and the musical soundscape traverses influences from Appalachia, tasteful slide and jazzy blues, feisty anthems, rustic folk, and even a little flatpicking on a Carter Family tune.
"The skillful songwriter's interest in history is revealed in songs such as the Civil War ballad ‘The Road to Appomattox’ and the soldier's elegy ‘Wind Whispers Your Name’ ... He also works in true folkie tradition, updating lyrics to classic material such as ‘Worried Man Blues’ or reworking Robert Johnson's ‘Crossroads’ to place himself mano-a-devil," The Washington Post writes.
While McKnight shares that folk lineage with Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger, fans of contemporary singer/songwriters like Darrell Scott, John McCutcheon and Richard Shindell will find much to like in his songs and stylings.
Since leaving his corporate environmental engineering career in 1996, McKnight has logged nearly a million miles touring across America. In addition to his solo career, he fronts Andrew McKnight & Beyond Borders along with founding Nitty Gritty Dirt Band member Les Thompson.
Their 2012 live CD/DVD, "One Virginia Night," and McKnight's five solo CDs have earned critical acclaim and airplay around the world as well as a number of NPR stations and several XM/Sirius satellite shows. The band is part of the Virginia Commission for the Arts Touring Artist Program.
The popular jam band Great American Taxi frequently performs McKnight’s anti-mountaintop removal ballad "Made by Hand," co-written with Thompson and Chance McCoy (Old Crow Medicine Show), particularly on NPR’s "Woodsongs Old-Time Radio Hour."
While no stranger to elite stages like the Kennedy Center, Rocky Mountain Folks Festival or the Katharine Hepburn Theater, McKnight's music seems to spread most rapidly through the diverse causes that have embraced his music.
"I suppose if you designed the ‘anti-traditional’ approach to the music business, I’ve taken it," he says.
Whether helping people living on the margins with food drives at concerts, singing for and about workers and communities displaced by mountaintop removal coal mining, or introducing children to music and creativity, he has seen the power of music help others up close.
And, in turn, his musical journey, now spanning two decades and "several hundred guest rooms," is completely dependent on those personal grassroots.
Family Library Time is designed for ages 4 and up. Adults unaccompanied by children are welcome. Registration is not required.
Contact Heather Nitzel at 682-4432 for more information.