The country music business has changed drastically in the 21 years since Kendell Marvel arrived in Nashville and began co-writing songs for Gary Allan, George Strait, Chris Stapleton and others. Yet the shift toward party songs targeting a younger audience hasn't stopped a country traditionalist at heart from staying true to his songwriting roots.
For instance, Marvel pairs throwback country lyrics with flourishes of classic rock and blues influences on new album Solid Gold Sounds. The album, co-produced by fellow roots music connoisseur and Black Keys member Dan Auerbach, arrives Oct. 11 via Auerbach's Easy Eye Sounds imprint.
To hear the beginning of beautiful friendship between Marvel and Auerbach, check out "Blood in the Water," premiered today by Wide Open Country.
Swampy blues, bluegrass, gospel and even funk inform this song about carnal temptation, sweetened by a special guest guitarist.
"When Dan, Big Al Anderson and I wrote 'Blood in the Water,' the song felt like it leaned a little bluegrass," Marvel says. "Then we got in the studio with the band and they really brought it to life. We called John Osborne (of Brothers Osborne) to come in and play the solo, and he just burned it down. Dan's high harmony on the intro really sets the tone for this tune. It's a little spooky sounding, and I dig that."
In an earlier interview with Wide Open Country, Marvel explained the difference between his next album and 2017's Lowdown and Lonesome.
"It's way different than my last one," Marvel says. "It's still in your face and gritty, but just the sound is more '70s. Dan, everything he does over there in his studio, every piece of gear is vintage. So, it's not like we're trying to sound vintage. It is, you know. My last record was more ZZ Top meets Waylon. This is more Charlie Rich meets Waylon."