2020 was supposed to be a transformative year for Kendell Marvel. It took from him the opportunity to tour in support of his greatly successful sophomore album Solid Gold Sounds, released in October of 2019, and a chance to hit the road with Chris Stapleton.
Solid Gold Sounds came as Marvel’s response to Lowdown & Lonesome, a record filled with more “twang,” but met with the same positive reception from his fans; something Marvel says he is grateful for and proud of.
“Those records sound so different from each other, which was cool to me, but I wasn’t sure what the diehard Lowdown & Lonesome fans would think about toning down the twang,” says Marvel. “Turns out they dug Solid Gold Sounds just as much, if not more. I’m proud of both records, and SGS has definitely brought a lot of new fans to the table.”
While the control of many aspects of his artistry was taken away, Marvel is focusing on one of the things he can control; keeping the momentum he earned with Solid Gold Sounds rolling with the release of “Houston,” originally recorded by Lee Hazlewood in the 1960s that was put on his radar by his producer, Dave Ferguson.
“Ferg sent me this song the night before we started tracking Solid Gold Sounds. I heard Dean Martin’s version of it and it was real big band loungy sounding, but I dug it and said ‘I will cut it if we do it like Waylon would’ and by God that’s what we did,” says Marvel. “I wasn’t real familiar with Lee Hazlewood at the time, but dig into his songs and man, what a writer that dude was!”
Marvel went full-quarantine style while filming the music video for his new single, which was capped off with a winning scenario for both himself and the videographers.
“We shot it at the same house as we did the ‘Hard Time with the Truth’ video. It’s where my daughter and her boyfriend live,” says Marvel. “It was fun to just hang in the kitchen and whip up breakfast and not have to venture out to other places like I normally would. And the guys who did the video got to eat while they worked, so it was a win-win.”
And while 2020 has thrown a wrench into Marvel’s big plans for 2020, he’s grateful for the time he has gotten to spend at home and the extra time he’s been given for creativity.
“2020 has been a real downer in a lot of ways. Touring completely stopped and we were supposed to be out on the Chris Stapleton tour right now, so that really sucks,” says Marvel. “But it has been nice to just be at home for a while with the family and the dogs. I’ve been pretty creative and doing quite a bit of songwriting and spending a lot of time at our little beach cottage, which we haven’t got to do much of since we’re normally on the road. So that’s probably what we will continue to do until we can find ways to safely get back to work.”
Additional comment from Kendell Marvel: “This virus has been hard on everyone, especially touring musicians, and I know people are ready to get back out and hear live music, so bear with us as we try and navigate these crazy times and figure it all out.”
*All images by Alysse Gafkjen