What happens when you get the perfect combination of blues and Southern Rock? You get The Kenneth Brian Band. And if you’re looking for an album to take with you on your next road trip, look no further than the band’s fourth studio release With Lions.
The album’s lead single and opening track, “You’re Not Mine,” really sets that driving tone to the record and in a recent discussion with frontman/lead guitarist Kenneth Brian, there’s a good reason why:
“It’s funny when you write things. When I wrote that song, I was driving up from Decatur, Alabama to Nashville. I was working in a studio with Johnny Sandlin, who produced all the Allman Brothers’ stuff and everything in North Alabama and I was living just outside of Nashville. And that song when it came to me was not what it ended up being at all. It was sort of a mid-tempo, maybe a sort of a soul song. It ended up to work and move a lot more than I had it in my head, so it turned out to be a pretty rockin’ song…I don’t think there was any other choice at what was going to be first on the record, y’know what I mean?”
Another standout track from the album is “Beautiful Storm,” which is a tribute to former bandmate keyboardist Isaiah “Ikey” Owens, who passed away in 2014 while on the road as a member of Jack White’s backing band. As far as how the track came together, Brian detailed the fateful night that he wrote “Beautiful Storm”:
“My ex-girlfriend played fiddle with Jack White and Ikey played keys with Jack. That’s how I met Ikey, and we became really fast friends…He started playing on the road with us when he wasn’t on the road with Jack, and then unfortunately, he passed away. He had a heart defect and he passed away on tour. That night I was in Alabama at the studio, and I didn’t know any of that, of course, and I woke up in the middle of the night and I had a couple line from ‘Beautiful Storm’ in my head and just sat there and wrote the whole thing. It was something that kinda hit me all at once, and then I woke up the next morning and had a call from my girl at the time and she told me what happened. It was crazy, because it was right around the same time he passed away that I wrote that song, so that’s always…he’s always in my mind when I’m singing that.”
The Kenneth Brian Band only have two show dates scheduled for the rest of the summer, but they’ll surely be back on the road soon enough. They have been touring regularly for the past four years providing support to some of music’s biggest names, including ZZ Top, and when you’re on the road, you’re always bound to collect a few, like this hilarious tale about Billy Gibbons:
“He’s just super cool. He’s walking around San Francisco with no security, just walking around looking like Billy Gibbons. I mean, he’s not dressed up any different. I was like, ‘Hey Billy…you alright man?’ And he’s like, ‘Yeah, I’m gonna go to the art supply store, man. You need anything?’ [laughs] He was sorta just being himself. And then Travis came upstairs in the theater and said, ‘You gotta come downstairs, man’ Walked downstairs, and Billy’s walking around in really nice sear-sucker pajamas with sage smudging the theater. I was like, ‘Oh my, God!’ It was one of those moments where it was like you can’t make stuff like this up! There’s Billy Gibbons in sear-sucker pajamas walking around getting evil spirits away from the music.”
With Lions is available now in store and digitally. For all the latest about the Kenneth Brian Band, head over to TheKennethBrianBand.com.
Erica Banas is a rock/classic rock blogger. The first man she ever loved was Jack Daniel. (True story.)