ERICA KNIGHT'S LONG-AWAITED DEBUT ALBUM IS A FOLK GEM. NOW FOR THE HARD PART

JASON SCHNEIDER - THE RECORD

Many have enjoyed hearing Erica Knight regularly perform her songs live for many years, so it was easy to forget she had yet to record any of them. That is, until now. The Cambridge-based songstress is finally releasing her first collection of material, a seven-song disc titled When You Go.

Knight says that while she has always taken her musical pursuits seriously, it wasn't until a year ago that she was able to get other areas of her life sorted out enough to be able to collaborate with Terry Rocha, owner of Frequency Studio in Cambridge.

"It's been a home-based project from the start, so most of it had to be worked in with everyone's schedules," Knight says. "Actually, when I first talked to Terry about recording, we were just going to do a three song demo, but the more songs I messed around with in the studio, the more he became interested in them. It was the first time that he'd ever worked with a female folk artist, which made it exciting for him too."

Listening to When You Go is certainly a revelation for anyone already familiar with Knight's talents as a solo performer. The addition of a backing band adds many new dimensions to her sound, evoking at times the folk-rock bounce of Natalie Merchant to the country-soul groove of Norah Jones.

"The songs on the record are the most recent ones I've written, so that was really the only criteria to picking them. But as for finding the flow of the record, I think all my songs deal with the good and bad sides of love and also daydreaming. I'm a huge daydreamer, for sure. The biggest challenge was just singing in the studio for the first time. All your little flaws and the other things you normally ignore are emphasized, so that definitely made me more conscious of how I perform."

Knight's advantage was the 13 years of experience she had going into the process, and that experience is obvious in the craftsmanship throughout the songs on When You Go. Now that she has worked with a producer and a band, Knight expects her writing to go in new directions.

"I'm definitely feeling more open to new ideas now," she says. "It was a real eye-opener to take a song that I've only played by myself, and suddenly hear it with all these different parts. It made me realize that the songs can be so much bigger in sound than I ever imagined they could be."

Knight will have a band with her for the release party, but don't expect a full-on rock spectacle just yet. "I'm going to do two sets, one solo and one with the band, because I know that there are some people who like to hear me play on my own. The band set will be the songs from the record, so I'm hoping it will be a good mix of older and newer material. I wanted it to be in an intimate setting, too. That's what I've always been about. I've never been much of a crazy rock 'n' roll-type person."

Knight should be able to make a mark in the folk world, now that she has something to promote, and she feels she's up to the task as well. "I'm having more fun playing music now than I ever have," she says. "I'd take long breaks because of other things like school, and sometimes I'd worry that I'd never get back into it. But after the last break, I picked up my guitar and realized what a big part of my life music is, so now's the time that I want to concentrate on it."

" WHEN YOU GO" REVIEW

LISA M. BELLO - INDIE INTUNE

Everything about Erica Knight is therapeutic. From her day job as a massage therapist and acupuncturist to her melodic acoustic pop songs, she brings peace and love wherever she goes. Her debut release When You Go is filled with bittersweet, well written pop songs that are all seemingly sing-a-long worthy. Most of her songs were poppy and catchy but the track that stood out to me was "Right About You". It starts out with an ode to the Negro spiritual "This little light of mine" replacing "light" with "heart" and then molds into a beautiful original song about a lover gone away and the insecurities and thought patterns that come along with that. The drums and percussion really add to the atmosphere of this beautiful song as well as the other tracks on the album. Comparable to Norah Jones and Natalie Merchant, I could definitely hear Erica Knight's music on any contemporary rock station as a heavy rotator.

Erica Knight plays mostly solo acoustic at shows but sometimes there is the rare treat of a three piece band to completely flesh out her sound.

At the time of writing this she only seems to be playing in the Ontario, Canada area so if you live nearby and want to check her out, check out her well updated myspace page at http://www.myspace.com/ericalknight.