Sounds Like: The middle ground between Nashville's Music Row hitmakers and Americana's rule-breaking rebels, with songs that mix the familiar – acoustic guitars, handclaps, super-sized choruses – with quirky turns-of-phrase and unexpectedly poppy production from Brandy Clark producer Dave Brainard
For Fans of: Will Hoge, Dave Barnes, Brothers Osborne
Why You Should Pay Attention: Like the name suggests, All American Mutt rejects purebred twang in favor of variety. There's husky-voiced country, acoustic roots-rock and the sort of bright-eyed, Top 40-minded singer-songwriter fare that once ruled the roost at L.A.'s Hotel Cafe. Raised in Massachusetts but rooted in Nashville, Kent has a unique North-South perspective on songs about love, liquor and the cultural glue that binds us all together. Released independently and stocked with cameos from Huey Lewis (with whom he has toured), country crooner Michaela Anne and New Grass Revival's John Cowan, All American Mutt debuted in the Top 20 of Billboard's Country Albums chart.
He Says: "Over the past year and a half, I wrote 150 songs. The year before that, I wrote 25. I've been working hard on upping my songwriting game, while playing somewhere between 150 and 200 shows every year. In a town like Nashville, where there are so many talented people, you have to work hard. Keep plugging away for long enough, and eventually the hard work will reward itself. That's been the key to this whole career."
Hear for Yourself: On All American Mutt's title track, Kent celebrates the differences that keep us unique, setting the whole thing to a soundtrack of groove-heavy guitar and arpeggiated banjo. A.L.