Since their first album release in 2009, the Kenneth Brian Band’s modern Southern Rock and Americana infused style, timeless song-craft, layered with Kenneth’s gritty vocals and guitar prowess have helped earn them a loyal fan following and the respect of fellow musicians. The quartet’s musical styling and dynamic live performances also attracted the attention of some of their mentors like Lucinda Williams, Billy Gibbons and current bandmate Steve Ferrone of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Since 2013, they spent two years touring with multi-Grammy winner Lucinda Williams, who describes them as “somewhere between Lynyrd Skynyrd and Drive-By Trucker”, before joining ZZ Top in 2016 for several dates. Whether in intimate Honky Tonks or stately, sold-out theaters (with Lucinda), they continue to captivate audiences with resonating harmonies and a tight rhythm section.
Their fourth studio album With Lions, released in May, includes 11 songs all written by Kenneth and pays tribute to their musical mentors as well as their musically rich Southern heritage. The single “You’re Not Mine” is an edgy anthem with heavy-hitting guitar solos and their signature harmonies. “Beautiful Storm” is an emotionally evocative track that showcases Kenneth’s spellbinding competency with a slide.
Rock ‘n’ roll royalty Steve Ferrone (Drums, Tambourine, Shakers) and Scott Thurston (Keyboards, Piano) of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers don’t just lend their talents for the album but, Ferrone sits behind the drum kit when he’s not touring with Tom Petty. Travis and Steve met a couple of years ago at a gathering thrown by a mutual pal. Not long after, they needed a drummer for a Hollywood gig and Steve sat in with the band. He worked with the guys to hone their sound and helped them find the right players. And as they say, the rest is history.
Handpicked by Steve, drummer Chris Cano plays with KBB when Ferrone is on the road with the Heartbreakers. Popular session bass guitarist and Disresputable Few member, Paul ILL, joined the band at Steve’s urging and perfectly rounded out the Kenneth Brian Band sound. “Those two were the perfect combination for what we do,” said Kenneth Brian. “Their influence has helped elevate our playing and just being around Steve is a master class on how to be a successful artist and a decent human being,” he continued. In true KBB form, the sound of the new album honors their distinctive blend of Southern Rock that is both progressive and rooted in tradition.
While they both currently reside in Los Angeles, they hail from the South. Kenneth was born in Virginia but spent most of his formative years in Alabama before his family settled in a small town just north of Gainesville, Florida. Travis was born and raised in Charleston, West Virginia and spent summers with his dad in Nashville. From a very young age, they realized their passion for creating music and have pursued it with vigor. Travis started on the piano and Kenneth penned his first country song on an old guitar at the ripe age of 4.
After moving to Nashville in 2001, founding members Kenneth Brian (Lead Vocals, Lead Guitar) and Travis Stephens (Harmony Vocals, Rhythm Guitar, Piano) met while playing the local scene and struck up a fast friendship, which led to a creative collaboration in 2009. Travis describes the camaraderie that comes from being part of this band. “We both understand the underlying spiritual groove that we are forever trying to stay dialed into for ourselves and our fans. And that comes before egos or opinions,” he said.
With Lions, out May 19, 2017 on Robo Records, was recorded at Dave’s Room Studio in Hollywood, California. David Bianco (Bob Dylan, Lucinda Williams, Tom Petty) produced, mixed and engineered the album. It was mastered at legendary Capitol Studios in Hollywood, California by mastering engineer Kevin Bartley.