Songs you hear by your favorite artists just don’t appear out of thin air. As we all know there are songwriters who make it all happen. To the disbelief of some, not all artists write their own songs, which is not a bad thing nor does it make them less of a talent. Enter songwriter Kendell Marvel who has been a long time Nashville staple in the songwriting community, and has now taken that daring leap to create and present his own stellar album, ‘Lowdown & Lonesome.’
The Illinois native left home in 1998 moving to Nashville to begin his career. During his first days he penned the first Top 5 hit for Gary Allan, “Right Where I Need To Be.” His hard work did not stop there as he went on to write such hits as “Tougher Than Nails,” by Joe Diffie, “Twang,” by George Strait, “Don’t Think I Can’t Love You,” by Jake Owen just to name a few. He has also penned songs for Trace Adkins, “Whoop A Man’s Ass Sometime,” off ‘Cowboys Back In Town,’ and “Gotta’ Quit Drinkin’,” for Ray Scott off his 2012 album, ‘Rayality.’
As his reputation as a songwriter grew, he continued hitting the highway on a yearly basis, crisscrossing the country —Alaska to Florida to the Virgin Islands — on his own solo tours but never losing sight of the vision of his solo career. Now as he embarks on that solo album effort it proves how hard work, determination, time and patience have paid off.
Being an independent artist in this genre is an undaunting uphill climb, especially for a songwriter. ‘Lonesome & Lowdown,’ puts Kendall out there at his best with his grit, and his soulful thought process with story-telling of heartbreak and vice. Mixed with some rock and Allman Brothers type vibe it pulls you in from the first song, which is the title track, to the last song, the Charlie Daniels classic, “Drinkin’ My Baby Goodbye,” featuring Charlie himself along with Jamey Johnson.
On one of the tracks released early, “Hurtin’ Gets Hard,” Kendell stated; “I wanted a song that felt like “Good Time Charlie’s Got the Blues” — something that had that retro, ’70s-country feel … I love this one because everyone’s been there. Everyone has had heartbreak and put up a good front, been the life of the party, until you get home at night and all you have then is yourself. The best songs, to me, are ones that are relatable.”
The entire album is relatable in one way or another, conveying things we all may have experienced in our lives. Kendell co-wrote nine of ‘Lowdown & Lonesome‘s,’ 10 tracks with the help of Randy Houser and Chris Stapleton. That right there tells you it’s a winning combination.
Kendell has a “Honky Tonk Experience,” residency at the legendary Exit/In, in Nashville, where you can find him once a month. “I wanted to create a gathering for lovers of music- cowboys, bikers, hippies and everyone in between,” he states. “We play songs from my upcoming solo record mixed in with all the classics- Waylon, Willie, Hank- we play it all and we have a lot of fun doing it.”
Special guests are not a rarity on these nights. Alison Krauss, Jamey Johnson, Randy Houser, Jon Pardi and Brothers Osborne have all belted their favorite classic country tunes on stage with Kendell at past shows. “You never know who will show up, but you can bet it will be one hell of a show,” the singer/songwriter explains. Marvel is backed by an anything but ordinary band including producer/guitarist Keith Gattis and a rotating roster of legendary musicians like guitarist Audley Freed, and harmonica icon Mickey Raphael.
I met Kendell once a few years back at a songwriter’s night, “Nashville Unplugged” out in California. I admired his talent, his down to earth temperament and gained a new respect for the songwriter. Since then I have followed his endeavors and cannot stress enough that once you have listened to ‘Lonesome & Lowdown,’ you will have the same affect. It’s solid, it’s raw and it’s real.
To purchase the new music and keep up with Kendell head over to his website. You can also download the album off of iTunes or Spotify. If you ever get the chance, stop by the Exit/In one month, it is a night of great music with a few surprises added in. The singer/songwriter has earned respect and has given respect, he is someone you should know.
Lowdown & Lonesome Track Listing:
1. Lowdown & Lonesome (Kendell Marvel, Keith Gattis, Randy Houser)
2. Gypsy Woman (Kendell Marvel, Keith Gattis)
3. Heartache Off My Back (Kendell Marvel, Keith Gattis)
4. Watch Your Heart (Kendell Marvel, Keith Gattis)
5. Untangle My Mind (Kendell Marvel, Chris Stapleton, Jaron Boyer)
6. Tryin’ Not to Love You (Kendell Marvel, Chris Stapleton, Casey Beathard)
7. Hurtin’ Gets Hard (Kendell Marvel, Keith Gattis, Audley Freed)
8. Closer To Hell (Kendell Marvel, Keith Gattis, Chris Stapleton)
9. That Seat’s Saved (Kendell Marvel, Keith Gattis)
10. Drinkin’ My Baby Goodbye featuring Jamey Johnson (Charlie Daniels)