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Family Affair

John Christopher Knight Family
to perform at O.C. Arts Center

Knight left suburbia
for primitive farming lifestyle with family

By Levi King
Staff Writer


In 1988, 35-year-old John Christopher Knight was leading an ordinary suburban life in Knoxville, Tenn. Knight enjoyed his job as a representative for an electrical manufacturer, had a nice house and cars and was married with five children.

John C. Knight Family

Photo provided

John Christopher Knight family’s CD
of original acoustic songs was released
last year to the delight of critics and fans.

Knight played soccer and coached his kids’ teams. While taking a goal shot, Knight broke his ankle, requiring a set of screws and pins and plenty of rest. In the ensuing four months, Knight spent most of his time in bed, thinking and reading the Bible. He began to re-evaluate his priorities, and made a decision to drastically change his life.
“When I told them that I had a plan to quit my job, sell our cars, buy land in Kentucky and live without electricity, my wife and my parents both thought I was insane,” Knight, 52, remembers.
His wife, Laura, and their five kids reluctantly conceded, and the Knights bought a farm and moved to southern Kentucky. Knight and his son tore down the old farm buildings by hand and used the materials to build the family’s barn and house. They hauled all their water in buckets for two years before building a gravity flow system. The family worked with a Mennonite community for years, and in exchange learned to farm with horses.
Today, the family still lives on the farm without electricity or indoor bathrooms. They make and wash their own clothes by hand, use wood to cook and heat their house and farm with horses to provide much of their own food. They also train border collies for income. The Knights had four more children since their move. The two oldest, John Jr. and Joshua, have moved off the family farm, but the rest are content with the basic lifestyle.
“We don’t try to push them one way or another,” Knight said.
The Knights began playing music on their farm years ago. While camping at a border collie event in Georgia, a man overheard the Knights playing and offered to take them to a friend’s recording studio. Initially, Knight declined, but called the man back later. Accompanied by several of his children, Knight recorded a CD last year, titled “Way Down Inside.”

John C. Knight

Photo provided

John Christopher Knight

The disc contains all original songs, combining folk, rock and pop into an eclectic mix that appeals to a variety of listeners. “We’re not world class musicians, we’re just farmers with instruments,” Knight said. The title refers to Knight’s decision to follow a little voice inside himself.
“I think people are identifying with something that’s gone. We offer them a connection to something they want do but have been afraid to try. People said we couldn’t change our lives like this, but we did and we’re happy. You have to be willing to follow your dreams.”
Knight has released and promoted the CD completely independently, without an agent or publicist. Even so, the album hit 44 on the AMA radio charts, lodging between Tracy Chapman and Bruce Springsteen. The Knights began touring last year, booking their own shows around the farming season and traveling in a converted school bus.
The Knights were covered in a segment on CNN and “The Today Show,” and a recent article in the magazine Mother Earth News sparked a flurry of interest in the family’s music and lifestyle.

• John Christopher Knight & Family will perform at 2:30 p.m. on Oct. 2 at the Oldham County Arts Center in Crestwood, Ky. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children. For information, call the center at (502) 241-1006. For tickets, call 1-866-811-4111.

Back to October 2005 Articles.

 

 

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