While in the studio recording his critically acclaimed Solid Gold Sounds, beloved Nashville singer-songwriter Kendell Marvel was hipped to something new, something that stuck with him well after initial contact; the songs of Lee Hazlewood. During those sessions, co-producer Dave Fergusonintroduced Marvel to one particular Hazlewood tune, “Houston,” that the team—along with Easy Eye Sound founder and co-producer, Dan Auerbach—went on to record right then and there. While it didn’t make the final tracklisting of Solid Gold Sounds, Marvel knew that this recording was special, and decided to hold onto it for a later release. This week, Rolling Stone premiered “Houston” and its accompanying music video saying, “Marvel’s version of ‘Houston’ retains the breezy jangle of the original but adds some muscular rhythmic punch, woozy slide guitar, and Marvel’s warm vocals.” Fans can see the video, directed by Ryan Nadzam, hereand stream or purchase “Houston” here. Marvel’s new song can also be heard on Spotify’s New Music Nashville, New Boots, and Next From Nashville playlists, as well as Amazon Music’s Brushland playlist.
“I listened [to ‘Houston’] a few times and was intrigued by his phrasing of the song. So I listened to some more Lee Hazlewood stuff and instantly became a fan of his writing,” Marvel says. “Hazlewood was a melting pot of styles and gave zero shits about anything. He was a psychedelic outlaw way ahead of his time.” The “psychedelic outlaw” bit still comes across in Marvel’s version of “Houston,” albeit with a little more “Nashville” and maybe a little more “psychedelic”; the swirly phase-shifted guitar sound on “Houston” has long been a staple from the likes of Waylon Jennings to Pink Floyd. “This is the first time we’ve had an artist cover Lee Hazlewood at Easy Eye…it was long overdue,” says Auerbach.
Marvel was set to be on the road this summer—once again opening for Chris Stapleton—but plans changed as the live music industry ground to a halt. He recently spoke to The Tennessean regarding irresponsible concert events undermining the safety-oriented cancellation of countless shows and tours. “Look, I’m a 50-year-old independent artist that had a little momentum going,” said Marvel. “Who’s to say I will when this is over? I don’t want to have to wait even longer because some of these so-called ‘country singers’ wanna get out there and play so they can post Instagram pictures.” Marvel’s full quote didn’t make it into the article, but it was a direct message to anyone not playing by the current rules. “It’s just downright selfish and those that choose to do these unmasked, un-distanced events anyway should—by god—be called out by the rest of us who are waiting this thing out till it’s safe.”
For more information on Marvel, please visit http://www.kendellmarvel.com/.
About Kendell Marvel: Kendell Marvel wrote and recorded his newest album, Solid Gold Sounds, in a matter of days, but it took a lifetime in country music to get there. Marvel and The Black Keys’ Auerbach co-wrote nine of the album’s 10 songs, drawing on the country sounds of the ‘70s as well as Marvel’s own experiences. Their songwriting collaborators include country legend John Anderson on the album’s first track, “Hard Time with the Truth.” A native of Southern Illinois, Marvel moved to Nashville at 28, shifting his goal of being an artist to raising his family while working as a songwriter. Marvel’s writing credits include Gary Allan’s “Right Where I Need to Be” and Chris Stapleton’s Grammy-winning single, “Either Way.” Brothers Osborne, Jamey Johnson, Jake Owen, Blake Shelton, George Strait, and Lee Ann Womack have also cut his songs.