A while back, I got a chance to perform at the American River Music Festival in the California Gold Country, just a few miles upstream from where the first nuggets were discovered at Sutter’s Mill. The line-up that Friday night leaned heavily towards the folk & Appalachian tradition. I was definitely an outlier with my blend of indie pop, roots rock and alt-country. But inspired by what I heard, the first glimmers of this song emerged as I drove home in the wee hours, singing softly into my iPhone, and following the course of that silt and gold laden river down the mountains to the San Francisco Bay.Ways to Listen
Here’s a magic trick of sorts... I was getting ready to replace my “scratch” vocal with a “keeper” track when this guy walks into MarinWest Recording and quickly realizes he’s there’s on the wrong day. The engineer, Jimmy Hobson, gives me a nudge and says, “You know who that is? That’s Jef Labes, he played piano on all those classic Van Morrison albums like of Moon Dance. You should ask him to play on your song.”
So Jef listened once, said he liked the song, and immediately laid down 5 takes, each awesome in its own way. And I never did replace the “scratch” vocal because I liked how it sounded once I heard how Jef worked his piano around it and all the other parts in the song. And that’s the work of a real magician in the studio.Ways to Listen
"Damned If I Know" was just named a Finalist in the Great American Song Contest, thanks to another terrific production by Sinclair. About 5000 songs were entered in this year’s contest with entries received from 42 countries.
"Damned If I Know" hasn’t been released yet but you can check out the Grand Prize Winner of the 2014 contest, "This Might Get Loud." :-)Ways to Listen
Got some good news while horseback riding at Sylvan Dale Ranch near Rocky Mountain National Park (surprisingly good internet reception atop Eagle Ridge)... “Southbound Train” took 1st Place in the West Coast Songwriters International Song Contest. What could be more Americana than a train song atop a horse in the Rockies?
If you can listen to all 95 seconds of this garage-pop wonder without smiling, I’ll send your money back along with a puppy to help melt your cold, cold heart, you joyless bastard!
Recorded live to ADAT during band practice in my basement. The backing vocals were added later that night. It was just supposed to be a reference tape but came out too wondrously awful not to share. Enjoy!Ways to Listen
From Jackson Square to the bayou, from funeral marchers to St Louis Cemetery #2, this humorous voodoo tale takes you on a drunken tour of New Orleans in search of the beguiling femme fatale, Ms. Odine. Though legend says her beauty can stop a man’s heart, few can resist the chance to lie with her “in love’s sweet decay.”
Co-written with long-time friend & lead guitarist, John Foster, I hope you enjoy hearing "Ms. Odine" half as much as we enjoyed summoning her.Ways to Listen
"I Yield" pushed its way up to #34 on the European country charts according to Dixie McCorkell of the European Country Music Association. Although country is definitely a niche market in Europe, it’s great to see “I Yield” slapping high fives with “All Down for Austin” (#29) and "Shouldn'" (#26) as my third minor hit in as many years. For this I say, “Danke, Merci, Grazie!” (And Ačiū for my fans in Vilnius, Lithuania)Ways to Listen
Our take on Cracker's beautiful, bittersweet masterpiece... slower, stripped down, with the band recorded live-in-studio. The lead vocal was added later, recorded in the semi-finished basement space beneath my kitchen, which currently doubles as my kids’ rumpus room. I like how the Lo-fi setting gave the vox a bit of gritty sepia-toned ambiance.
Years ago, the booking agent for Monsoon Moon & Tea Leaf Green heard us soundcheck with this song and immediately offered us a gig. And that led to a whole series of gigs. Funny thing was, the booker couldn’t stay for our show that first time but hearing the soundcheck was enough. I’ve always loved this song and hope you enjoy our version as much as we enjoyed playing it.Ways to Listen
I got a nice birthday present when Muzique Magazine published an interview today. They asked about my latest single, “I Yield,” and other topics like "Who are the best singers & why?"Read More
Jammerzine also gifted me with a feature on the “I Yield” music video and a lengthy profile in their “Daily Dose” section. Have a slice of cake, fellows—you’ve earned it!
A long-time favorite of my live shows, Bonnie Hayes produced this revamped version of “I Yield,” adding hints of Arcade Fire and U2 to its country pop arena rock. The video by Andre Welsh features footage from the mountains and deserts of Southern California creating a great visual interpretation of the song.Watch Video
Several songs in my catalog were picked up by Pandora earlier this year for their Premium, Plus, and Radio subscriptions. Led by the popularity of “All Bleeding Comes to an End,“ more than 25,000 plays were streamed in the 1st quarter. Thank you to everyone who added KB songs to your playlists!Follow & Share on Pandora
Country Artists Magazine ran a lengthy feature capped off with a close look at the making of my latest single, “I Can’t Hang with You Anymore.” The article was also re-printed in its sister publication, Indie Artists Magazine. My songs tend to fall somewhere between alt country and indie pop-rock, so double thanks to Randy Lockhart, Editor-In-Chief of the two magazines, for saying, “Ah hell, just put him in both!”
"I Can't Hang with You Anymore" is the first release of five songs that Bonnie Hayes produced for me. Bonnie's an amazing talent. She produced a Grammy-nominated album (Steppin' Out by Gospel Hummingbirds), wrote two hit songs on a 5X platinum Grammy-award winning album (Bonnie Raitt's Nick of Time), toured as a keyboardist/vocalist with major acts (Billy Idol, Belinda Carlisle, Springsteen), and scored a college radio hit which was featured in the Valley Girl movie ("Shelly's Boyfriend").
Every session with Bonnie was a gift filled with laughs & lessons to learn. Alas for me, Bonnie left the Bay Area to be Songwriting Chair at Boston's famed Berklee College of Music, so I can't hang with her much anymore. The photo captures Bonnie and me sharing a laugh backstage before a gig at Berkeley's Freight & Salvage.Read More
"Won't Be Alone" was licensed for possible use in a Canadian TV program by Washington Street Publishing. The Nashville-based publisher specializes in "cutting edge indie music for film, television, commercials, trailers and video games."
The Sinclair-produced track caught the ear of Nancy Peacock (CEO/Founder) at the West Coast Songwriter's Conference back in September. Their catalog includes a recent #1 song and tracks by an Academy Award winning songwriter.
"Shine" and “This Might Get Loud” were licensed for exclusive use by Triple Scoop Music. The Los Angeles-based publisher is "the leading music licensing service for a wide range of clients around the world,” including photographers, videographers, filmmakers, small businesses, and Fortune 500 companies. Google, Lego, Nikon, Adobe, Square, TED (talks), Microsoft, Harley-Davidson, Canon, and Adidas are all corporate clients.
TSM Artist Representative, Alberto Albis, was a judge of the International Song Contest when “This Might Get Loud” was named a semi-finalist in two categories out of more than 18,000 entries received. TSM’s catalog includes music by Grammy, Emmy, Juno and Telly Award winning artists.
"All Bleeding Comes to an End” is a lively California Country rocker with a reassuring take on hurt and healing. It’s also a great example of things coming together just right in the studio to produce a track that’s probably better than the song. My long-time collaborator, Kevin Harris, did a fantastic job with the arrangement and production.
The video is a big departure from prior efforts. 18 designers across 5 continents contributed artwork to a DAY OF THE DEAD themed interpretation of the lyric. Andre Welch edited their designs into an gruesomely fun storybook style video.Watch Video
"All Down for Austin" has climbed to #29 on the European country charts and is getting air play on ~600 stations according to Dixie McCorkell of the European Country Music Association. "Shouldn'" reached #26 last year so it's fun to see a couple of minor hits overseas.Watch Video
On the air in Bridgend, Wales... I was featured on Bill Everatt’s program today with a 10-minute interview sandwiched between spins of “Forty Acres” & “All Down for Austin.” Celtica Radio gets 2.5 million listeners/year. Thanks, Bill! And thanks to Stu Forman for being my Skype engineer.
"All Down for Austin" tells the story of my band's wild adventure traveling from Northern California down to Texas to perform in Austin for the first time. With 3000 bands converging on the South by Southwest Festival, few things went as expected but we still had a blast playing there. This song was born the night we gigged in a dive bar down on 6th Street and could barely hear ourselves over the roar of the party outside.
But that evening in Texas turned out to be serendipitous as we got to meet popular New Orleans roots rocker, The Iguanas, and legendary drummer, Brady Blade (Dylan, Emmylou, Dave Matthews). We get home and lead guitarist, John Foster says, "Kevin, we gotta write a song about this." So a year later, we're back in Austin, this time sharing a bill with Brady. We ask him if we could give a shout-out in our new song. To our surprise, he not only agreed but said, "Hell, I'll play drums on it if you want me to!" And he did.
Andre Welsh, who directed my last three videos, took the various video and photos shot during our three consecutive trips to SXSW and put it all together in this music video which I think you'll enjoy.Watch Video
This feel-good Americana rock features the first use of harmonica in one of my songs and a Southern gospel inflection that sounds like it could have been recorded at Muscle Shoals. It's probably the best example of where my current sound lives, though it was awfully fun visiting indie pop-rock and faux redneck anthem with my last two singles.
"Forty Acres" was released on iTunes today and the music video is out on YouTube.
The video stars the amazing Berkeley home & garden of Simon Wartzburg. I think Andre Welsh & Mitch Costanza topped their two prior efforts in putting together this story that wanders in and out of Simon's Arts & Crafts home, along the wild winding blooms of his garden pathways, and even to the top of the large California Serpentine boulder that command the heights of his neighborhood. Andre's still photo shows Mitch (blue sweater) amidst the cast as we celebrate the wrap of a long day of shooting.Watch Video
Q. "Any words of wisdom?
A. "The surest advice I can offer is 'glove in the dirt!' but that’s only really helpful if you’re coaching Little League."
Honored to rubbing elbows with the writers and playwrights who've been interviewed by author & creative writing college professor, D.J. Adamson (I've read three of her books!)
The Story Behind the Song
A novel generally has 70,000 words. A script is composed of 96 pages. A song? Award winning songwriter, Kevin Beadles discusses songwriting.
Remember when SpinalTap hit it big in Japan?... well, Shouldn' has climbed to #26 on the European country charts and is getting air play on 617 stations according to Dixie McCorkell of the European Country Music Association.
"Kevin, you did VERY well for the first time out of the chute--most new artists never get anywhere NEAR the charts that first time."Watch Video
Just got the good news that "Shouldn' " has been announced as a semi-finalist in the ISC Music Video competition. Big thanks to Mitch Costanza & Andre Welsh, the creative team who made it happen.Watch Video
Whether it's Hoyt Axton's "Boney Fingers," Hank Williams, Jr.'s "Family Tradition," or Gretchen Wilson's "Redneck Woman," redneck anthems have always occupied a place of honor in the country music pantheon.
To this, I humbly submit my shameless salute to the genre.
"You can tell me that I shouldn'… but I ain't shouldn' on myself!"
The single was released on iTunes today and the music video is out on YouTube.
The same creative team (Andre Welsh/Mitch Costanza) that made the music video for "This Might Get Loud" re-united to create a hilarious parody of "Young Country" videos in all their tasteless glory. They also cast a certain Berkeley-based singer-songwriter for an uncredited cameo.Watch Video