As the Gateway to the West, the promise of leaving St. Louis was built into the prospect of arriving here; her arch functions as an ironic symbol of something to pass through, that which you don’t look at but look beyond. But for those who stay, like the five-piece punk-blues wrecking crew Kentucky Knife Fight, this unswept city itself finds a voice in their sound. Like the dark side of a postcard, unfamiliar unless you live there, their newest songs are inhabited by the city’s criminals and carrion – its lonely, displaced, and desperate. Their city is poised on the precarious edge between southern hospitality and northern cynicism, between bourbon in a pitcher and lukewarm beers that you have to open yourself.
Kentucky Knife Fight have grown along with the city, returning after relentless touring with an increasingly acute perspective of the hardships inherent in St. Louis life. Like the scene itself, they have seen their own youthful angst become introspection and insight; what were once accidental riffs have become anthems; and opening for national acts have yielded performances that were not only memorable, but mattered. Their music is world-weary but hopeful; grace is never enough to save the unsavory; and just because you love something doesn’t mean that it’s good for you.
“Imagine the Replacements suffering through sweltering Midwestern summer nights instead of cold Minnesota winters, and infused with a little less punk and a little more dirty twang..."
~Christian Schaeffer , River Front Times
“On their new single, ‘Misshapen Love,” Kentucky Knife Fight sweat and swagger through horn-drenched, guitar frenzied Soul Punk anthem that should have been the soundtrack to every road trip this past summer. Aptly named Jason Holler possesses a set of pipes that sound like Alice Cooper right about the time he was yowling about being 18, and the rest of the band burns like bourbon, sometimes as a drink in a glass to smooth out the rough spots and sometimes on rags and boxes as an accelerant in an insurance arson. Kentucky Knife Fight will raise a hot blister on the most jaded Punk ass.”
“St. Louis has long been a breeding ground for both punk and blues. The two genres are in our city’s blood, all the way from Petey Wheatstraw to the Conformists. In the last ten years, a younger generation has begun to merge blues and punk with a distinctively brazen, trashy and twangy St. Louis style. Led by singer Jason Holler, Kentucky Knife Fight comes well armed with fist-jabbing rhythms, blown-out vocals, snarling guitar, purring organ and a vintage sensibility that’s neither quaint nor hipster. This gang makes dark music for dark rituals in the shadows of the honky-tonks, but the band ultimately worships the blues, in both urban and rural forms, and it kicks the shit out of hillbilly music to boot.”
Roy Kasten, 88.1 KDHX