The Youtube trailer for Aidan Knight’s Small Reveal previews the album in a way far superior to sound alone.
A beekeeper by passion and waitress by practicality, Thea spends most of her time hustling tables downtown in support of a social life and the bees she keeps and farms for honey. At the end of the day she is faced with disappointment; one of her bees has died.
Is it all really worth it? How could she hurt what she loved most?
“When you are working on yourself … something has to suffer,” explained Knight, revealing that, as a touring musician, he deeply regrets the time it takes from family just as Thea laments time away from her bees. “There’s a certain sense of selfishness in making music … it pushes away healthy relationships.”
This feeling is one of many that Knight and his band of Friendly Friends try to communicate in Small Reveal. It is the confessional of the musician on the road, not just Knight specifically.
“Sometimes I’ll stop writing a line if I see that I’ve written the word ‘I’. I feel selfish being a songwriter,” said Knight. “Maybe that’s what this album is about.”
But you don’t need to have a musician-sized ego to relate. In “A Mirror,” the album’s first single and track that comes closest to indie pop, Knight’s everyman lyrics reach out to anyone with a crush. “The effortless cool way/You carry your bags/I am stocking the shelves/Hoping you’ll see me in the back.”
Though it spools out like one cohesive thought, this is not a solo record.
Small Reveal is the product of five talented artists; Knight’s soft, folky tenor and acoustics weave through back up vocals, harpsichord, piano, flute, cello, drums, horns and electric guitar compliments of multi-instrumentalists Colin Nealis, David Barry, Olivier Clements and Julia Wackal — Knight’s girlfriend.
Each track is a piece of art, and the effort to evoke human emotion through orchestral composition and movement is clear.
The quintet has played together since Knight’s 2009 studio debut, Versicolor.
“We spent about a year recording it on and off over several sessions, in several spaces, different studios and made it hard on ourselves and hauled a bunch of mobile recording gear into weird spaces,” said Knight. “There is no way this album could have been made in any other way, with any other people.”
Aptly titled, Small Reveal’s opening track is “Dream Team.”
Love for community, friends and family lie at the root of all that Knight does professionally, which is why his distraction from them is what he feels the most guilty about. He was born in a “nest” of acceptance; his family encouraged him to do whatever he dreamed and may even be his inspiration. Knight’s mother was a touring musician and hosted jam sessions on their driveway every summer; 26 years later and he’s still hanging around the corner.
“I really feel strongly that being influenced by, or having art and creativity in your life makes a confusing journey seem worth it,” said Knight.
For Knight music may, at times, lead him astray from what matters most, but it’s what brings him home in the end.
Trial track: “A Mirror”
Aidan Knight plays Le Petit Campus on Feb. 8