Kenneth Brian cut his musical teeth in metal and punk bands here in Florida. About a decade ago he decided he needed a change of scenery, so he packed up his bags and left for Nashville, Tennessee.  When I first wrote about him back in 2007 he was playing Texas swing/roots country music. Well, a couple of weeks ago I noticed that Kenneth had released a new cd, Fallin’ Down Slow, so I ordered it up.

I was expecting more of the same when the cd showed up, and in one way it is. It’s still pure Texas country music coming out of Nashville, but on the other hand this is a much more mature effort than his previous releases. Tracks like “Southbound” probably couldn’t have come from Kenneth three years ago, but I’m glad they have now.

Kenneth Brian – Fallin’ Down Slow
Kenneth Brian – Southbound
Kenneth Brian – Wide Open Spaces

Kenneth Brian’s Official Site, Kenneth Brian on myspace, Buy Fallin’ Down Slow


Denton, Texas’ Pinebox Serenade are on the roster of one of my new favorite labels, Devil’s Ruin Records.  Last month they announced that they have begun the process of recording what will be their third, as of yet untitled, album. That announcement coincided with me hearing their second album, Let The River Take Them Home, for the first time.

The Pinebox Serenade are seven musicians; Chris Welch, Patrick Newkirk, Holly Manning, Tyler Adams, Chris Ott, Nick Foreman and Jeff Barnard playing every single instrument you would expect to find in a roots-meets-bluegrass-and-goes-goth band. If I had to describe their music in a single word I would use ‘tense’. Listening to the album doesn’t make you feel tense, but you can tell there is an underlying intensity to these dirges of desperation and despair. While I type that there’s another side to it all. Those same songs are these full, multi-layered beautiful songs that are absolutely perfect for getting my undivided attention during a session with a glass of warm bourbon and a pair of noise-cancelling headphones. Had I known of this album last year it would have easily found it’s way onto my year-end top 10 list, and even now I’ve gotta say it’s Essential Listening.

Keep this band and record label on your radar folks. They’re doing good things.

The Pinebox Serenade – Woven Arms
The Pinebox Serenade – Neches River
The Pinebox Serenade – Bottle and Rusty Blade

The Pinebox Serenade’s Official Site, The Pinebox Serenade on myspace, Buy Let The River Take Them Home