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First Listen: The Kintners "Life Ain't Worth a Song"
Americana songs for a long drive to anywhere
The Kintners, a Wichita Falls duo comprised of singer/songwriters Kelly Kintner and his wife, Keri, have released a new four song EP, “Life Ain’t Worth a Song,” and Kelly characterizes it as “Americana music you can drive to.”
I spent a morning listening to “Life Ain’t Worth a Song” and found it very relaxing, and Kelly’s lyrics inspire mental imagery with every verse. Kelly’s voice contains notes of Willie Nelson and the atonal delivery of Bob Dylan or Tom Waits, and the simple approach lends itself to a broad sound for the Kintners — the lyrics and the message take center stage in a powerful way.
By contrast, Keri Kintner’s voice takes me back to 1990s college radio and artists like Suzanne Vega. Track two on “Life Ain’t Worth a Song,” a downtempo number called “Maybe” with Keri on vocals, strikes me as Fleetwood Mac’s Landslide if Lisa Loeb had been singing lead.
Track four, “Too Good,” features autobiographical lyrics that chronicle life on the road as a working musician.
“One day this interstate is gonna drive me crazy
If I’m not there already
Too good for rock & roll and all this pain it’s bringin’
But I can’t keep from singin’”
I asked Kelly about live shows in the Falls and he said “We have a hard time getting shows, to be honest. Was even harder living in Henrietta, where we lived up until a few months ago. We’re all original and largely acoustic, mostly unknown, so live music is a journey for us.”
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On top of difficulties in booking gigs, mental health has also been a challenge. Kelly, who has been very open about his struggles with bipolar, says he is in a much better place today.
“It’s not like it was, for me. Hopefully we can stay on top of it, but now I seem to be able to write and perform when I want,” Kelly told me via DM. “When I started out acknowledging my bipolar, this was not the case. I couldn’t function. I didn’t care about music, it was life or death. As if in pain. I just don’t live that way anymore. Thanks to modern medicine.”
The struggles of being a working musician and guarding your mental health while navigating the realities of love, marriage, and music show themselves in a thoroughly enjoyable way on “Life Ain’t Worth a Song.” As it did the first time I heard the James Cook Band play, I find my own musical taste widening with each listen to The Kintners. Check out one of their prior singles, “Fear” and you’ll understand why. The Kintners are the real deal.
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