The Kernal

REVIEW: The Kernal “Listen to the Blood”


The Kernal — Listen to the Blood

The Kernal (aka Joe Garner) has a new album out with the rollicking energy of a contemporary album by the Band.  Put on your Southern Rock hat when you turn this one up.  It’s out on Single Lock Records, and is called Listen to the Blood.

Listen to the Blood was produced by The Kernal and Ben Tanner (Alabama Shakes), as it was recorded live to tape in Muscle Shoals, with Jerry Bernhardt co-producing.  Musicians on the record are The Kernal on lead vocals, synth bass, acoustic and nylon guitars, ebow and piano; Jerry Bernhardt on guitars, vocals, bass and piano; Dominic Billett on background vocals, drums and percussion; Cheyenne Medders on acoustic, flat wound, 12 string and slide guitars; Cotton Clifton on electric and 12-string guitars and backing vocals; Zach Moulton on pedal steel; Ben Tanner on synth and vibraphone;  with Caitlin Rose on background vocals.

“U Do U” is a fast tempo song that’s the lead track for a reason — it’s high energy, with step up guitar chords designed to get your groove up and get out of your seat and out of our doldrums.  Effective.

“Pistol in the Pillow” starts with a disarming “I’ve been feeling a little anxious,” but that understatement really belies a fantastic lyrical tale.  “Hello nurse, is the doctor about?” and the story goes from there.  Without giving too much of a spoiler alert, I’ll tell you that it advises you to keep your liver off that liquor.

“Green Green Sky” features a Southern rock rhythm and wild lead electric guitar and ebow work. “The Limit” is a boogie woogie number about living in the limit for so long, too long.

“The Fight Song” features Caitlin Rose in a song with the unreasonable thoughts of a possessive man with jealous control.  The duet of vocals are really just cool.

“Super (Marijuana) Wal-Mart” is a song whose title gives you a good sense of what’s to come.  Except it won’t prepare you for the bouncy layered groove that comes with it.  It’s actually a little Beatles-esque.

This album is truly enjoyable.  Funny, empowering, raw, upbeat and real.  And The Kernal is pictured on the front cover with a red polyester suit he’s been wearing as he’s processed the family heritage.


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