Stacie Hestand – Raised Rowdy Contributor
Earlier this month, outlaw country singer and Illinois native Kendell Marvel released “Hard Time with the Truth,” the first single off his upcoming album Solid Gold Sounds. While this song is part of his second album, Marvel is hardly a stranger to the music scene. He’s spent decades in Nashville writing songs for artists like Lee Ann Womack, George Strait, Jake Owen, and Gary Allan (that’s just to name a few).
From the moment you press play on “Hard Time with the Truth”, his voice pours through your speakers like a honey-dipped steel beam – warm and rich but with a strength that leaves no doubt that Marvel is the real deal. The track, which Marvel wrote with Dan Auerbach and country legend John Anderson, offers a decisive “it’s not you, it’s me” to a jilted lover, explaining why he can’t stick around: “wasn’t nothing that you did or didn’t do/just always had a hard time with the truth.” The guitar and drums combine perfectly to set a gentle and rolling, yet slightly ominous, tone and pick up the pace to heighten the impact as Marvel launches full-throttle into the chorus.
Elaborating on his own failings as the song continues, Marvel’s vocals rumble “when I look into the mirror/ sometimes I don’t like what I see/it’s like I’m looking at the devil staring right straight back at me.” The caliber of Marvel’s talent is perhaps best highlighted by the fact that he delivers these lyrics with such matter-of-fact honesty that a listener doesn’t question the sincerity of what he says, even in a song centered on lying.
Ultimately, Marvel’s outlaw-country-rock sound feels familiar to fans of Chris Stapleton and Jamey Johnson, as it should. He’s written songs and played shows with both of them, and is currently set to open for Stapleton on some of his upcoming All-American Road Show tour dates. If “Hard Time with the Truth” is any indicator, the October 11, 2019 release of Solid Gold Sounds is a date you’ll want to keep on your radar.