Kendell Marvel is a songwriter whose songs you may have heard even if you didn’t realize it. His songs have been recorded by artists like Chris Stapleton, Blake Shelton, and Lee Ann Womack, among others. Marvel is still very much an artist that writes earnest country songs. However, there is a difference between Solid Gold Sounds and his previous albums. Namely, that Dan Auerbach co-wrote and produced this album.
“Let It Go” is a slow and pensive song about being brokenhearted. Marvel delivers the hard truth that “Sometimes it’s best if things unravel. Sometimes it’s best to let it fall apart.” Stuart Duncan (fiddle), Russ Pahl (pedal steel), and Bobby Wood (organ) really lend to the sadness you can hear in the vocals.
You can hear some Waylon Jennings throughout this album. You can hear it first in the melody and vocals of “Hard Time with the Truth”. However, it really comes through in “Blood in the Water”. Between the bass line by Dave Roe that is sure to get you dancing and the guitar with just enough of a rock sound, this sounds a lot like classic Waylon.
Lots of songs have been written about driving. Marvel adds to the canon with “Cadillac’n”. He sings about getting into a car with a 454 engine and a drop top and listening to the solid gold sounds on the radio. You can hear a bit of Dan Auerbach’s fuzzy blues sound in the guitar. There is also a guitar riff that sounds a lot like Eric Clapton in Cream.
Similarly, a lot of songs have been written about people that drift from one stop to the next. Generally the subject of those songs is a man. In this one, the drifter is a woman who will “love you like the devil, then she’s gone.” This song is driven by the slow steel guitar while Marvel’s vocals are just as smooth as George Jones.
The title of this album is certainly apt. It is a country album filled with solid gold sounds that filled the airwaves in days gone by. If you’re a fan of classic country, this is an album you should own. Solid Gold Sounds (Easy Eye Sound) will be available everywhere on October 11. Score your copy here.