Well-crafted pop songs are deceptive simplicity at its best. The melodies, so accessible and infectious, spill out so easily. When Corinne McKnight is the one to write and perform these songs, it’s easy to forget how much raw talent and hard work go into them. It’s also easy just to sit back and listen, and her newest album, Behind Each Kiss (released on August 21, 2015 on Over the Well) is perfect for just that.
Though McKnight is only 20, this is her third full-length album. She’s been performing for a decade already, opening for Vince Gill in the summer of 2015. Local Sounds Magazine praised her 2014 release, Take My Hand, calling the songs “exquisitely catchy” and “downright lovable”. “It’s quick to see that the girl means business”, writes Rick Tvedt. McKnight is in the business of not just music but of alchemy. She spins heartbreak and confusion into effortless confections. On “Better Than You”, her acoustic guitar pulses steadily beneath her the reluctant optimism of her lyrics. “I’ll be waiting for the time when I find someone better than you”, she sings.
Schooled in piano, voice, and guitar, McKnight started performing at eight. Recent years have shown her growing dedication to songwriting, as evidenced by her frequent writers’ nights in Nashville. Behind Each Kiss is her first album as a sole songwriter, though it certainly won’t be her last. McKnight was accepted into a highly competitive songwriting program at Belmont College in Nashville and began in the fall of 2015. Her song “Okay” testifies to the nervous excitement that comes with such change. “All my dreams are coming true, but I’m so scared”, McKnight sings. While vulnerability is integral to McKnight’s songcraft, she doesn’t rest on pathos. Rather, she deals in velvet melodies and mid-tempo rhythms that stay contemporary without capitalizing on trends.
On Behind Each Kiss, McKnight is supported by the same ensemble cast of musicians that backed her on Take My Hand. Eric Hester, Michael Brenneis, and Dan Kennedy offer instrumentation that complements McKnight’s voice, and the album’s production ensures that McKnight’s voice stays front and center. Her acoustic guitar is here, but toy piano keyboards also bolster “Another Yesterday” while muffled piano frames the contemplative “Tonight”.