“I can’t wait to take our rock-infused country music to Germany! Thanks to Global Texan Chronicles for helping spread our music world-wide!” – John David Kent
When a man is from Greenville, TX, then he certainly wasn’t born and raised in Celeste, TX. That is just one thing I learned from my recent interview with rising Texas music star John David Kent. JDK isn’t a newbie in the music world whatsoever, having signed a major label record deal as a teen with the 90’s Texas rock outfit Radish and then playing and touring with various other well known figures in the rock scene John David Kent has been bringing his brand of Marshall Tucker Band meets the 70’s Outlaws of Country sound to audiences worldwide for the past several years.. His first release found him with tracks making their mark on the Texas music charts and a hit video on CMT. All that wasn’t enough for JDK. No, he has also been running a label, touring, being a studio hound and writing some of the best southern rock flavored, country peppered with a good splash of Americana songs out there today. His new release, out 1 October 2013, is called ‘Before The Sun Comes Up‘ and finds JDK a bit more polished without losing a grain of Texas grit. An album with the open road in mind. As you’ll find out, after a good listen or twenty, is that JDK has created a one of a kind sound without straying too far off that familiar Southern highway. Another thing I learned while talking with John David Kent is that the best way to understand his brand of road songs is to just put a record on and listen.
Growing up in Celeste, TX must have been a country hoot. The wife and I moved to Germany from Cross Plains, TX and CP beats Celeste in population by about 100. What was/is your hometown like?
I grew up in Greenville, TX, and I had a great childhood. I was very lucky to be born to two people that love music and played music constantly around the house. Both of my parents are musicians (not professionally) and they played in bands when I was growing up. It was such a blessing being exposed to all kinds of music and being able to see music being played live on the weekends. I’ve had the pleasure of performing with both of them on many occasions, and it’s bean a real treat.
You’re no new kid on the musical block, what led you down this country road?
As I mentioned, my parents exposed me to all types of music, so I’m a mutt when it comes to influences, etc. Getting older and getting back to Texas really influenced the writing I was doing a few years ago, and it just came out really natural, this Americana/Country thing.
Did you worry at all about what the fans/public would say about the transition in musical style and stepping up front?
If more people knew about my band from the 90’s, Radish, it might have been more of a big deal, but that was a long time ago, and I’m super proud of the things and experiences I’ve gone through. And I’m glad country music is in a place right now that can embrace a little bit of rock.The transition has come very natural to me.It’s been a very organic transformation.
How was it figuring out what to do at the front of the stage or did it seem like that was supposed the spot for you?
It’s taken a little while to transition to the front of the stage, but it always helps having guys behind you laying it down. I’ve been really blessed to have great musicians backing me.
Almost immediately after your first EP and then debut album was released (on your own label), success was at your front door. Do you attribute that to, and I quote* “The most honest music I’ve ever written”?
I had a song on our first E.P. (which was also on my debut album), “My Girl”, and I think it really resonated with people. It really opened a lot of doors early on. I’m super proud of that song and what it means to a lot of people. Every night after the show I have people coming up saying, “man, you wrote that song about me”, etc, and that’s so cool when you can put something out there that other people can relate to on a daily basis.
Talking about your first record, The reviews could not have been much better, that must have made you grin a bit.
Yeah, I’m super proud of the first album. We put a lot of time into making it “just right”. But, I have a great team that deserves a lot of credit for getting it out there and getting it heard.
Do you think ‘honesty’ has gone missing in big label country that’s on the radio today?
I think it’s all kind of part of it, and it takes all kinds to make the world go around. I love a lot of the stuff that’s coming out of Nashville.
You’ve toured all over the States and the world, are you more of a studio guy or do you like the road and stage part of it all more?
I love to entertain. I honestly enjoy all aspects of the music business. I love being in the studio producing and being creative, and I love traveling and meeting people. And I love running a label and look forward to signing bands when the time is right.
You’re a busy man, you have a new album “Before The Sun Comes Up”, what can we expect? Any big sound/style changes coming our way?
I think it’s a feel-good album for the most part. Wanted to write from the mind-perspective of a 16-18 year old, and about all the things you experience during those primitive years. Driving, hanging with the boys, falling in love, getting your heart broken, etc.
Why did you decide to work with Dwight Baker (Kelly Clarkson/Blue October) on this one?
Dwight and I were introduced by a mutual friend and really hit it off. I felt like he was into the material and I felt like he could really push us forward commercially while keeping the raw integrity we’ve tried to live by.
The music business is an always-changing machine full of life lessons. Can you pass any on to the young up and coming artists out there?
I feel like great songs are lost a lot of times in the hustle and bustle of social media. And while I feel like that is definitely important, at the end of the day, it’s all about the song. I would tell anyone to put out the best material you can.
You’ve made mention that you like to blur genres, which is the best way to break down your sound. Would you say that the ultimate way to understand John David Kent is to listen to the music?
Yeah, I guess so, without trying to sound too pretentious. I just try to do what I do and hope people like it.
When can we expect to see you in Europe?
We just got back from France playing the Country Rendez-Vous Festival, and it was a riot. I can’t wait to get back over there, and hopefully we’ll be able to play more shows in more countries. I’ve always loved the European audiences.
Thank you for talking with us.
Thank you so much for the great questions and the opportunity to talk to you. I appreciate the support!!!!!!!!
Anytime, we’re fans of what you do. To find all things John David Kent, click HERE! JDK on Facebook, click HERE!
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