Press Release for Andrew McKnight & Beyond Borders

TEXT PRESS RELEASE - copy and paste


HEAD: Award-Winning Songwriter Andrew McKnight & Beyond Borders to Perform
SUBHEAD: Band features founding Nitty Gritty Dirt Band member's return to the stage

PROGRAM: Concert featuring Andrew McKnight & Beyond Borders
Includes free streaming music and video plus high-resolution photos (at the Publicity Page).

Please email info at or call 540/338-3233 for an interview or for additional information, and thank you for your time.



In 20 years of music since leaving his corporate engineering career, singer/songwriter and guitarist Andrew McKnight has heard one question from fans more than any other; "when will you make a live recording?". And his answer was always, "when I find the band that I am comfortable with to capture the energy of the songs in a different way than a solo performance."

That time arrived with One Virginia Night, a limited edition live CD and bonus DVD set with his band Beyond Borders, which also features founding Nitty Gritty Dirt Band member Les Thompson.

OVN was captured in front of an enthusiastic capacity crowd near McKnight's northwestern Virginia home, and is a crisply delivered collection of concert favorites and a few lesser known gems drawn from his five solo CD discography. It includes two songs co-written with Thompson as well as their smoldering bluesy take on the traditional "Worried Man Blues" and an original each from bandmates Stephanie Thompson ("What Kind of Person") and drummer Lisa Taylor ("It Means a Lot"). The DVD contains an additional three tracks, including McKnight's award-winning "Good Things Matter," and a healthy dose of the between-song storytelling his audiences have relished.

For Les Thompson, the band and the album mark a full-fledged return to the music business that he left in 1972 after the Dirt Band's twice-platinum classic Will the Circle Be Unbroken?. He and wife Stephanie Thompson have played music informally together for many years, but he spent the bulk of the past two decades at his Cabin Studios recording many regional roots and old-time music artists.

Those projects included McKnight's two most recent solo CDs, and Stephanie Thompson sang harmony on a couple tracks on each. When they finished McKnight's latest Something Worth Standing For, he invited them to join him onstage for the CD release concerts. "I sort of surprised myself" by agreeing, Les Thompson chuckles, "but I liked everything about working with Andrew - his personality, the music, and his approach to the business too."

A longtime friend and an award-winning singer/songwriter in her own right, Taylor was just returning to performing after several years focused on raising her family. She had drummed on McKnight's 1998 release Where This River Runs, and he was elated to build the new band's sound on a foundation of her solid and tasteful rhythms.

Since their collective debut at Washington's prestigious Kennedy Center in March 2008, the foursome have developed an energetic and eclectic take on McKnight's songs that goes beyond Appalachian, beyond blues, beyond folk. Valuing the artistry of taut arrangements over flashy instrumental jams, they have earned acclaim in particular for their exquisite 3- and 4-part vocal harmonies as well as the unusual and constantly changing combinations of instruments.

After touring primarily as a solo acoustic artist for the past 15 years, with the band McKnight plays electric guitar about half the time. Les Thompson's signature clawhammer banjo is a big part of the band's sound. And while Taylor sticks primarily to the drums, the Thompsons trade instruments frequently throughout the show - upright bass, acoustic guitar, and percussion.

Perhaps more importantly, they have become family. And like all families, they have been through some hard personal times together. The band was on hiatus for many months while Les Thompson battled throat cancer. Taylor’s father passed away from cancer two weeks after the concert recording; she played his drums in tribute during the show. Supporting each other through personal hardships brought them closer to each other's families.

"I've always valued the people above the prowess" in considering bandmates, McKnight muses. "But now that I am a parent and a little more seasoned, it really hits home just how much family matters. Playing and making music with people you love is just an indescribable experience - beyond words."

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