Why We Need to Pay Close Attention to Kendell Marvel’s Solid Gold

"They Brought the Singer Back Out of Me," the Nashville Treasure Says

Kendell Marvel is certainly not the first Nashville songwriter to release an album. And he certainly won’t be the last.

But this? This is special.

Marvel’s Solid Gold Sounds, due out in early October, is highly anticipated on so many levels.

One, because Marvel is a Nashville treasure. His Honky-Tonk Experience residency at the landmark Exit/In is a must-see, in part because of Marvel but also because of all the guests who join him on stage. Some of his most recent include Jake Owen, Brothers Osborne, Ashley McBryde, Randy Houser, the Foo Fighters’ Chris Shiflett, Gary Allan, Cody Jinks, Tanya Tucker, Jamey Johnson, Lukas Nelson, Pam Tillis, Elizabeth Cook, Paul Cauthen, and Allison Krauss.

And two, because this album gave the sought-after songwriter a chance to let his own voice be heard. “They brought the singer back out of me,” Marvel said of his producers on this project. “I’ll always be a songwriter, but I want people to see the artistic side of me.”

And three, Marvel the songwriter always knows exactly what to say and how to say it. He hasn’t always been cool with writing radio hits, because he just didn’t need to. “As a professional songwriter, you have to get on the radio. That’s your job. There came a time when the stuff you had to write to get on the radio, I wasn’t willing to do anymore,” he said of his unwillingness to write songs he might be ashamed of. “I’d done pretty well as a songwriter up until that point, and made a few decisions where I didn’t have to put myself in that position.

“So I said, ‘I think I’ll make a record.’”

And fourth, the songs Marvel writes for himself sound a lot like the ones he’s written for other artists. Chris Stapleton’s “Either Way,” George Strait’s “Twang,” Joe Diffie’s “Tougher Than Nails,” Gary Allan’s “Right Where I Need to Be,” Jake Owen’s “Don’t Think I Can’t Love You,” “You Can Thank Dixie” and “Yee Haw,” and a long list of deep cuts with Brothers Osborne, “Tequila Again” “Pushing Up Daisies (Love Alive)” and “Drank Like Hank.”

And lastly, because Marvel himself has politely asked all of us the jam the hell out of it.

His next HTE is on Sept. 10 at Nashville’s Exit/In.

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