If Kendall Shaffer planted a firm base with his 2020 album Rowdy to Righteous, he looks set to build on it in spades.
The Louisiana native closed 2022 with a 30-week number one single, “Waterin’ Hole,” under his belt, and opened his 2023 with a tear-in-your-beer single, “After the Fall,” that’s stone cold country gold.
With a new single slated for release in the next few months and plenty more down the line as well, Shaffer notes that he’s excited to showcase his songwriting growth since the release of Rowdy to Righteous, all the while, keeping things country as hell.
We caught up with Shaffer to talk all about his successful 2022, new music, his favorite George Jones and Keith Whitley songs and more!
Pro Country: The last time we talked, you had just released your album Rowdy to Righteous. In the time since, you’ve earned some of your greatest streaming numbers to date with the singles that followed the album. How encouraging has it been for you to watch those stats grow and to continue to catch that momentum?
Kendall Shaffer: It’s exciting! I’m an old school guy; being consistent with social media and keeping up with all these new ways to get music is kind of tough on me, so to see the numbers grow like they’re growing is very humbling. I’m seeing a huge surge of “traditional country” music fans all over the world and it’s great.
PC: Your 2022 single, “Waterin’ Hole,” was number one in Louisiana for more than 30 weeks and peaked at number six in Texas. What was it like for you to see the life that “Waterin’ Hole” had as it continued to reach those heights?
KS: When me, Jeffery Allen Imler and my guitar player, Rustin Romano, wrote “Waterin’ Hole,” we knew it was something special. Yes, it’s your normal “get off of work and get a beer” song, but it’s a song that we’ve lived, and still do. It’s an anthem for the blue collar folks. I wanted to write something for folks who needed a fix after dealing with BS from 9-5 every day.
PC: “Waterin’ Hole” was also nominated for Song of the Year at the Texas Internet Radio Awards. What did it mean to you to have your song nominated for that distinction from within the industry and to be nominated with some of the biggest acts in the Texas country genre?
KS: It’s always been an honor for me to be in the Texas country music industry. We’ve charted quite a few singles and have done well, but have never been nominated or anything at an awards show, so I’m really thankful for the folks that made that happen.
PC: Your newest single, “After the Fall,” was released earlier this year, and serves as your first ballad release in nearly three years. How much did you enjoy slowing things down and offering a tear in your beer song with “After the Fall”?
KS: I’m a sucker for ballads. If I had it my way, I would play nothing but ballads, but there’s a formula to what’s successful now days. “After The Fall“ is a song me and Jeff wrote about our wives. We tend to have a little too much fun, and it’s not an easy thing to deal with on their end. I felt like a lot of folks could relate to it, so it was a no brainer on releasing it.
PC: You’re set to release a new single, “Broke Down,” in the next few months. Why did you feel “Broke Down” was the right follow up to “After the Fall”?
KS: I’m kind of in a mode right now where if I think it’s good and it’s country as corn bread, I’m putting it out. This song tugs on me because I’ve been there before. I’m a happily married man now, but there was a time in my life, before my wife, where that wasn’t the case [laughs]. This song is for anyone who’s being led on and anyone who feels like they’ve been taken advantage of. To hell with all that tell ‘em kick rocks. That’s what this song says. Jeffery Allen Imler and Jacob Howard painted a great picture of burning rubber with a middle finger in the air to someone you’re “done“ with. I can’t wait for y’all to hear it.
PC: Along with “Broke Down,” you’ve mentioned on social media that you have a new batch of songs that you’ll be releasing as well. What information, if any, can you give about your upcoming releases? What can people expect to hear?
KS: I’ve written a lot since Rowdy To Righteous. I feel like I’ve grown a lot as a writer and as a man since then, so there’s some material you’ll hear that we haven’t hit on before, but it’s still stone cold country. I plan on releasing a few every couple months, and then moving on to writing an album. We’re still putting out real country music!
PC: Along with releasing new music, what do you have planned for 2023?
KS: I plan on just playing as many shows as I can and putting out as much music as I can. Each year gets better and better, and I’m not gonna short change this one. It’s already off to a good start.
PC: Before we let you go, your website mentions Keith Whitley and George Jones as major influences. What are your favorite Whitley and Jones songs?
KS: There’s a lot in, but no particular order: Jones would be “Wood & Wire,” “The Grand Tour,” “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” “The Race Is On,” “The Door,” “If Drinking Don’t Kill Me,” “Bartender’s Blues,” “When The Grass Grows Over Me” and “Still Doin’ Time.”
Whitley would be “I Don’t Know You Well Enough To Say Goodbye,” “I Never Go Around Mirrors,” “The Birmingham Turnaround,” “Sad Songs & Waltzes,” “Going Home,” Miami, My Amy,” “Tennessee Courage” and “It Ain’t Nothin’.”
*Kendall’s music is featured on The Best of Pro Country playlist!*
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