Popular music history is rife with stories documenting an artist's meteoric rise, brief success and the supposedly inevitable crash. The usual suspects, youth, arrogance and substance abuse almost always have a hand in extinguishing the brightest lights and silencing the biggest voices.
In 1985, Matthew Knights, just a little over 20 years old, was looking at a promising music career. He signed with a Raleigh, NC management company, that also managed indie darlings Flat Duo Jets, and Accelerators, and was opening for national acts, shopping tunes, and attracting major label interest.
"We had Warner Bros, Atlantic, Chrysalis, CBS, Epic, A&M, etc...had folks flying in from LA to see me," Knights said.
His star was so bright his former manager, Dick Hodgin, passed on Hootie and The Blowfish to concentrate on Knights because he was the one who would be signed and sell "tons of records," Knights said.
Hodgin recently reminisced about Knight's burning star.
"Matthew was such a fresh alternative voice back then. I remember loving his voice and songwriting. On stage, he was a blend of old school punk attitude with a country drawl and rock star delivery. He was so engaging to watch. Multi-talented, he understood the 'engine' of rock and roll."
For Knights, everything was in place.
But, It didn't happen. Drugs happened. His career and life began to slide out of control. He began to self-destruct.
Almost 30 years later, I sat down with Matthew Knights at his County Line Recording Studio, in Chesnee, S.C. to talk about this period, his rise from the ashes, and redemption.
Video courtesy of Brian Kelly Multimedia.
For anyone interested in taking advantage of Matthew's talents, here are some details about the studio.
- 2 inch OTARI analog tape recorder
- Amek analog console
- Yamaha NS-10 monitors
- McIntosh amplification
- ProTools DA
- Assorted AKG, Shure, EV, Rode, and other microphones and headphones.
- Outboard gear by CBS, Focusrite, Lexicon, Yamaha, etc.
- Fender, Goodsell, Epiphone and Ampeg instrument amps
- Yamaha Electric Grand piano, Ensoniq synth.
- Sonor Force 3000 drums
- Gibson and Martin guitars.
- Session band/musicians available for hire.
Some musicians/bands who have recorded include: Richie Tipton, Angela Easterling, City of Spartanburg, John Edgerton, Beau Hall, The Reconstruction, Shane Pruitt, Brandon Turner, David Ezell, and many others.
Photos of County Line Studio
Courtesy of Mother Shutter