As Murfreesboro, Tenn.’s most sought after 90s country band, members Doug Douglason, Marty Ray Roburn, Trevor Travis, Monte Montgomery, Barry Van Ricky and Russian-born Terry Dvoraczekynski have crafted an action-packed album filled with instant classics. The guys make all the right moves on The K is Silent, which stands as a cleverly written package serving up several LOL-worthy moments.
The rambunctious crew exhibits expert musicianship throughout the project, alongside Douglason’s swooning voice that’s powerful enough to bring their target audience of woman 60+ to their knees. And though they may currently play to crowds of single digits, you can bet with this new material, the Knights will be headlining arenas in no time.
The group greets fans with a vibrant theme song that opens the project, introducing them as free-spirited, fun-loving guys who provide an unnecessary lesson on how to spell their namesake, which we wholly expect to have the same impact on pop culture as Gwen Stefani did when she chanted “B-a-n-a-n-a-s” in “Hollaback Girl.” Antics aside, the feisty fellas prove themselves to be sentimental balladeers on “Asphalt” that has all the makings of a tender-hearted tale. Douglason’s soulful voice shines as he explores his connection to the open road and the women he can’t leave behind, no ifs, ands or butts about it.
One of the perks of the project is that it features welcomed appearances by fellow 90s icons Travis Tritt and Terri Clark. Tritt lays claim on “Pick Her Up” where the band offers sage advice on how to be a countrified ladies man, the honky-tonk friendly melody immediately making you want to spin around the dance floor with Tritt’s powerhouse voice and HCK as your background music. Meanwhile, Clark makes it hard not to fall in love with the sensual seduction of her duet with Douglason on “You Make it Hard.” The twosome serenade one another with passionate words about a love so strong they’d be hard-pressed to let it go, creating a timeless duet akin to Johnny and June’s “Jackson” and Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers’ “Islands in the Stream.”
One of the album’s standout moments arrives with “Then it Rained.” Don’t be alarmed if the melody sounds eerily similar to Garth Brooks’ “The Thunder Rolls.” It’s not a rip-off of the legendary hit, but purely a celebration of life’s remarkably mundane moments in accordance with precipitation. Roburn rises to the occasion in his glory moment, taking lead vocals as he sings of finding loose change under the couch cushion, stopping at a car wash on his way home from work and running late for dinner plans before the rain starts to pour. While it may seem like a bland concept, make no mistake, you will be fully enthralled in this series of ordinary events by song’s end.
The Knights are often misrepresented as a washed up, outdated band who can’t seem to break out of the Murfreesboro music scene. But what they lack in professionalism they make up for with clever lyricism, like “Mull it Over.” Don’t fall victim to believing this is merely a tribute to the troupe’s trademark hairstyle, for underneath the mullet innuendo, you find a tear-in-your-beer lyric about heartache and a man begging the woman he loves to come home. One can’t help but feel slightly empathetic for Douglason, his pain accented with the sound of a crying steel guitar as he pleads, “Baby maybe you should mull it over / From front to back / Think it through / ‘Cause the long and the short of it is I love you,” making for a reflective moment on the project.
But the Knights show their true colors as the album ends on a high note with the five-minute ode to America, “The USA Begins With Us.” An impassioned speech from Douglason noting how his underwear used to be American made, a fumbled rendition of the “Pledge of Allegiance” and the infamous clip of Bill Clinton refuting claims of sexual relations are all part of the melting pot that makes this song grand. What also sets it apart is the message of unity that honors the communal bond that America thrives on. “The USA begins with us / A freedom dream / Born with blood / Together we can stand as one,” Douglason delivers with vigor – a fairly sophisticated concept coming from a man who Purells his nipples.
With The K is Silent, one must applaud Dierks Bentley for turning his satirical side hustle with his equally talented band mates into a full-blown masterpiece. The Knights are the missing piece to the country music puzzle, filling in the cracks with laughter, joy and perhaps a dash of genius (or debauchery, we’ll let you be the judge). As the world hangs in the balance of the unknown amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the Knights are arriving at a time when we need them most – making it so we can’t help but champion these Hot Country Knights.