Tapping in to Country music’s long-time standard of story-telling, The Kernal uses southern music influences, from jazz to honky tonk, to access a sound both unique and universal. The single “Green, Green Sky”, following his debut FAREWELLHELLO, cut live at the Ardent Studios in Memphis and produced by Jeff Powell (Bob Dylan, Big Star, Centromatic, etc.,) is a tale of wanderlust and misguided ways set against the backdrop of a honky tonk rhythm and classic country vocal. The south flies through The Kernal’s lyrics, adding authenticity to the feel of the music, “But the tit for tat teaspoon’s stirring round the night moon/ Sir, that ain’t no summer breeze.”
Based in Jackson, TN, The Kernal & His New Strangers call the Downtown Tavern home and from that halfway point between two Tennessee music meccas, tour the country with their home-grown brand of Southern mystique. Tied deeply to the legacy of the wandering musician and the historic Grand Ole Opry, the Kernal, a southern gentleman with an old soul and youthful ambition, found his sound and showmanship in the greats of the classic Country music scene like Del Reeves. “My dad,” The Kernal reminisces, explaining the impetus of the band, “met Sleepy LaBeef at Limebaugh’s Restaurant in Nashville. Lonzo & Oscar were looking for a drummer and he asked my dad if he could play a shuffle beat on the table. He did and he left for a 10-day run the next day. It worked out because soon he was playing with Sleepy.” From there, his father found his way to The Kendalls, and eventually to the legendary Del Reeves, with whom he would play until Reeves’ death in 2007. His father died in September of the same year and the seed was planted. This legacy of the old country music way, of rock and roll on the fly, was not lost on the Kernal, and he took it as starting point from which to build his own contribution to the cannon of southern music.
“Tennesse Sun”, the b-side to Green, Green Sky, is a love gone wrong song in the vein of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, with a chorus best sung with a whisky in one hand and the other around your friends, “I’m lettin’ go of everything I don’t need on my way down.” It is by no means a simple drinking song, with thoughtful couplets like this moment of heart-filled reflection, “I know time can be a healer and sometimes I’ll wanna feel her too/ But the hand of the dealer decides what he’s gonna do,” The Kernal lets you feel your way through the song as he did when he wrote it.
“It’s about old fabrics on new skin, and seeing how they get along, the frontman explains; the chemistry of tension with the old guard and the young gun, but with the respect and love that can only come from the South itself.