Saturday, February 15, 2014

St. Louis band Kentucky Knife Fight coming to Chicago

Photo by Joshua Black Wilkins


The music and energy that St. Louis band Kentucky Knife Fight creates cannot be summed up in just a few words.

The band roams through a frenetic blend of blues, rock and other genres to create a sense of excitement that would be hard to match.

Kentucky Knife Fight,, will perform Feb. 21 at Martyrs,' 3855 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. Secret Colours and The Great Crusades also are on the bill.

The show starts at 9:30 p.m. and tickets are $10, available by going to

I had the chance to talk to lead singer Jason Holler about the upcoming show.

Q - Great talking to you. Sorry to hear about your van being stolen and then being found later at a scrapyard. But I'm glad you were able to find a loaner vehicle to tour with. Were you always hopeful that the tour would continue on?

Canceling the tour was never really an option. That would have disappointed too many people. 

Once we heard the condition our van was found in, we went straight to Plan B mode. 

Q - Of course, the band is touring on its latest album, "Hush Hush." In sitting down to make the album, what were your goals and do you think you accomplished them?

We asked ourselves, "What do we normally do with a song like this or a part like this?" Then we did the exact opposite. 
Also, we kept saying, "Let's not worry about how we are going to pull this off live. Let's just make the best record we can." We definitely accomplished our goals. 

It's our best record to date. 

Q - The song "Love the Lonely" was used in the movie "23 Minutes to Sunrise" and the band spent the winter writing music that will be featured in the new PBS series "America: From The Ground Up!" Why do you think your music translates so well to other media? Do you see it as another way to get your music out to more people?

Our music has a little something for everybody. If you're into musicianship, if you're into storytelling, if you're into twangy music, if you're into moody music, or if you just want to dance. 

We've got you covered. Our new album seems cinematic to me, so it being used in movies is a natural fit.

Q - It seems like there should be a story behind the band's name. Is there? Do you think your name draws people to your music?

At this point I've lied about the origin of our name so many times I'm not sure what the truth is anymore. I do know our name sticks around in people's minds.

Q - How would you say St. Louis' music scene compared to other music scenes? How would you say Kentucky Knife Fight fits into the scene?

It's hard for me to say. My understanding of what other cities are doing might be slightly skewed. 

What I have noticed is the quality of bands in St. Louis. There are a lot of really solid bands in this city and a lot of excellent players.

Q - You've probably heard the band's music described in many ways. How would you describe your music and who are your biggest influences?

I refer to it as smoke and shadow music, but that's not exactly a section at your local record shop. A friend called it "noir-blues" which I enjoy. 

I've heard people say we're a mix of The Gun Club, The Replacements, and 16 Horsepower. I would say that's pretty accurate.

Q - Kentucky Knife Fight was named best rock band in St. Louis three years in a row by the Riverfront Times. Was that humbling? What are some other bands out there, from St. Louis or elsewhere, that you admire?

It is humbling. We've been very lucky in St. Louis. 

We have a loyal and dedicated fan base here. Some of them have been with us from the beginning.

As far as other local acts, Pretty Little Empire is a great band who just put out the best local album I've heard. Beth Bombara is amazing as well. 

She just released several sharp looking music videos. Oh, and Brotherfather! Check them out for sure. 

Outside of STL, we've been listening to a lot of Telegraph Canyon, Water Liars, Christian Lee Hutson, Savages, and Jason Isbell.  

Our drummer listens to what can only be described as "R&B for the grown and sexy" and we love him for this reason.