Well established and sought after singer/songwriter Kendell Marvel made his UK debut supporting Brothers Osborne at Bristol’s O2 Academy on Monday 7th May. Kendell has been on the scene since 1998 and made a huge impact in Nashville during his first day moving there when he co wrote Gary Allan’s hit Right Where I Need To Be with Casey Beathard. Having your first song cut by an artist doesn’t happen often, if at all and the hit song not only changed Kendell’s life and career but Gary Allan’s too. With the song being a top five hit, Kendell became a sought after songwriter and put his artist dream on hold whilst he concentrated on writing and family life.
Over the years, Kendell has written hits for artists such as George Strait, Jamey Johnson, Jake Owen and Chris Stapelton. This year, Kendell made the right decision to finally concentrate on being an artist and we are so glad by that choice. Having recently released his debut record Lowdown and Lonesome in the states, Kendell is set to release the record in the UK on May 18th via Snakefarm Records. Kendell’s fan base quickly grew in the UK even before he was announced as part of the Brothers Osborne UK tour so when he was announced, fans went crazy and social media started to blow up.
Fast forward to Bristol – Kendell took stage to a full venue with just his guitar. Having said to me earlier that day that often in the states the support act arrives to a half empty crowd as they are at the bar, Kendell was in awe of having a full venue to see him as well as the brothers.
Kendell comanded the stage with great presence and was so much more than a support act. Kendell was worth the ticket price alone and I know I am not alone when I say that we, the UK were treated well to have two sensational artists at a low cost ticket price of £20.
Starting the set with his original version of Chris Stapleton’s Untangle My Mind really set off a good, energetic vibe and it was pretty cool hearing it from a totally different, more hardcore vocal. Kendell’s version is on his album and is much more country, more tough and hard hitted and live is pretty dang awesome.
Kendall gave us a good mix of songs he had written for other artists as well as some of his brilliant tracks from his Lowdown and Lonesome album. The fun, high energised and honky tonk feelin’ Heartache Off My Back really got the crowd going and looking around the audience, I could see everyone was heavily invested in his music and his set.
Lots of cheers were made when Kendell announced he was next going to play Hurtin’ Gets Hard which he wrote with his albums producer Keith Gattis and Black Crowes member Audely Freed. Kendell’s traditional sound blended with a rock edge and a shot of soul was perfection and the crowd were incredibly attentive, the only people speaking were those who were complimenting him.
Tryin’ Not To Love You was a highlight for me and kicked ass acoustically. Kendell can make an acoustic set feel like a full band show as his vocals and music filled the venue in such a way that you forget he was just accompanied by his guitar.
Kendell treated us with his original version of Gary Allan’s Right Where I Need To Be which really showed what a phenomenal songwriter he is and his version of Chris Stapleton’s Either Way which was on Stapelton’s Grammy award winning album From a Room: Volume One went down a storm. Kendell also co wrote two songs off of Stapelton’s From a Room: Volume 2.
Having run out of time in Ireland to play much loved song Gypsy Woman, Kendell cut another song from the list to ensure Gypsy Woman was played to his fans. Gypsy Woman went down a treat and I heard people behind me say something along of the lines of “Yes, he is the man, what a song”.
Title track from his album Lowdown and Lonesome was exceptional live, its heavy country rock sound was a head bangin’ , fist pumping moment and was completely mind blowing and a hell of a way to end his set.
The half hour set was not enough, it was just a taster but the good thing is it made us crave more.
There is so much room for Kendell to make regular visits to the UK and we hope that he takes advantage of that. Kendell is the real deal, he is what Country music is all about and quite possibly one of the nicest people in the business. Kendell needs to not just come back but come back and do acoustic shows as well as full band shows so everyone can experience both. This guy is electrifying, he can country rock the hell out of a joint and make you appreciate the true meaning of the genre. I highly recommend getting a copy of his album Lowdown and Lonesome and to catch a show whenever you can. If you love country music, if you love well written, well crafted songs then Kendell is your man.
Set List – Bristol O2 Academy – May 7th 2018
Untangle My Mind
Heartache Off My Back
Hurtin’ Gets Hard
Tryin’ Not To Love You
Right Where I Need To Be
Lowdown and Lonesome