Already an award-winning songwriter, having written hits for Chris Stapleton, George Strait, Jamey Johnson and Jake Owen, Kendell Marvel makes his solo debut with Lowdown & Lonesome, a concept album that blends his musical down home country and rock & roll roots.
Having written 9 out of 10 tracks on the album, Marvel flexes his writing chops and invites listeners on the familiar journey of heartbreak, vices and all points in between. “Gypsy Woman” paints the picture of a love that’s not chasing back while on the title track “Lowdown & Lonesome” Marvel sings about hitting rock bottom and drinking about it. Lowdown & Lonesome is reminiscent of classical country greats Waylon Jennings and Hank Williams Jr. combined with the southern rock edge of the Allman Brothers and ZZ Top. “I wrote the song “Lowdown & Lonesome” with Keith Gattis and Randy Houser a few years back and we based the whole album around that track. The songs are real, they’re gritty- a combination of hurt-like-hell heartache and rowdy rebellion.”
Born and raised in Southern Illinois, Marvel began playing his first gigs at 10 years old. “My dad would take me out to bars, and I’d play old country covers,” he remembers. “Dad would get free beer, and I’d get free pickled eggs or beef jerky. I was hooked.”
The gigs continued as Marvel grew older. In 1998, he left his home in Illinois, moved to Nashville and began writing songs. During his first day in Music City, Marvel penned Gary Allan’s first Top 5 hit, “Right Where I Need To Be.” Other hits followed, but Marvel never lost sight of the solo career he’d kicked off back in the Midwest. As his reputation as a songwriter grew, he continued hitting the highway on a yearly basis, crisscrossing the country —Alaska to Florida to the Virgin Islands — on his own solo tours.
Produced by Keith Gattis, Lowdown & Lonesome finds Marvel heading up an all-star band of sidemen and session players, including guitarist Audley Freed, drummer Fred Eltringham and harmonica icon Mickey Raphael. While the album is filled with musical heavyweights, the true stars are the songs themselves. “I’m done chasing down what everybody else is doing,” he says. “I did that for years, and this, this is something different.”