Album Review: Kent Vodden’s Hot Chicken Sandwich

Posted October 24, 2018 by

Kent Vodden stood at the bar, holding his excitement back behind his spectacles, under his wool flat cap.  He was talking to the bartender about his lengthy musical endeavours.  The bartender, turning toward me said, “You should probably talk to Bryan, he’s been involved in music promotion for a long time.
Kent came over and introduced himself and went into his love of East coast punk, Celtic punk, his musical influences like Corb Lund and the Hurtin Albertans, and his Nova Scotian music peers such as Halifax Country Rockers  The Stanfields, East River Rats, Machete, and The Bombed Solid.
After chatting with Kent for awhile about his 30 years of writing music, his last 10 years spent in Nova Scotia, and his brand new 5 song debut EP, he asked what I could do for him.  So I gave him a MusicLives card and I asked him to write me a bio, and said I’ll write a review if I like his music, and we’ll see if we can’t get Kent  some attention from promoters.  Boy, was I going to be surprised…

“I’ve been writing songs since I was 15.  Towards the end of high school I started putting together songs and lyrics with friends.  With one friend in particular, I collaborated on what grew to an hour and a half of original tunes by the time we were in our early 20’s.  For some reason, I never had much faith in myself and so joined the working world.  This was a terrible idea on the one hand.  The epic way in which this screwed up my life has led to a deeper, more nuanced writing style.  While I’ve been writing songs for 33 years, I only picked up an instrument 8 years ago with the intent to perform.
This happened after I moved to the beautiful and economically depressed town of Pictou, Pictou County, Nova Scotia.  Work in the winter is scant at best and I had time on my hands.  My first instrument was a 40 dollar soprano ukulele and my first goal was to turn the giggling into a bit of respect.  My song writing output went through the roof.  I got better ukes, practiced, played and wrote for hours every day.  I felt confident enough to start hitting the open mics.  Something you should know about Nova Scotians…they love and support music, especially local music unlike anywhere I’ve been before or since.
My initial foray into the open mic scene was intimidating to say the least.  A grown man playing a tiny ukulele to hard nosed fisher-folk, ship builders, sailors and a motley assortment of other, hard drinking salts of the earth; strengthened my backbone.  It gave me a challenging bunch to write for.  I thrived at this.  My skin tingled, my hair stood up, I broke into cold sweats but I did it.  Much sooner than expected, I was welcomed into the fold by musicians and my audience as well.  This is a Nova Scotia thing.  The people were simply beautiful to me.  I was invited to play with musicians far above my pay grade, I was playing 2 to 3 shows a week.  I was getting the ‘nod’ whenever I went for a stroll.  Music gave me access to people young and old for conversation, jamming, writing and 2 way mentoring in a plethora of disciplines.  In short, I found home and if I have my way, I will die there.
If I didn’t have a mostly open schedule in the winters, I may not have progressed so quickly.  If I didn’t have employment insurance, I wouldn’t have had the peanut butter, Wonderbread and tea that kept me alive.”

Kent Vodden‘s sparkly, earnest personality was precursor to me opening an email titled, “Guy at the Jimmy Jazz” and while sitting for delicious peameal and eggs at The Augusta Louise Cafe & Bistro I listened to Kent‘s Hot Chicken Sandwich EP and after 3 songs, I knew he had something extra special and I hope to see him gigging around town, and even further!  “Dry Little Cracker” opens the EP and sets the tone with its almost Hawaian ’60s surf-rock ukulele sound.  Playful “Far Out” follows with a fun Uke diddy about reflecting on his far-fetched aspirations.  Album title track “Hot Chicken Sandwich” is a fun, foot stomping blues track played on his electric tenor guitar.  “Me Neither” darkens the mood and shows Kent’s a dynamo, with his sultry darkness yet amusing lyrics.  “Tonto Lamento” is a broody, heartbreaking ballad which really shows Kent Vodden‘s layers.  If this is what he puts together for a 5 song EP, look out Canada!

Kent is looking for gigs, so be sure to friend him and add him on your shows.

Download Kent’s 5 song EP

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Check out Kent on Bandcamp

*”That’s exactly the sound we’re looking for on Smokestack Lightnin'”*
– Norman Thompson WUCF 89.9 FM – Orlando, FL, USA

*”Brilliant EP!”*
– John Scott – Spark FM 107.0 FM – Sunderland, UK

*”Outstanding music, made me happ!”*
– Lucien Knapen Radio Ariane 107.6 FM – Belgium

*”5 out of 5″*
– Art Menius WCOM 103.5 FM – Carrboro NC USA

*”Love Kents voice and lyrics. Definitely an EP to be had by any music loving person. Going on my playlist this week”*
– Mike Stewart 100.3FM Sydney Australia

*”Hungry for some fine tunes then get stuck into this HOT CHICKEN SANDWICH Glorious!!!!”*
– Tom Hamilton Celtic Music Radio – Scotland

*”Feeling good after hearing this. Five songs well worthy of adding to my playlists! “*
– Trevox Argyll FM, 106.5 FM, Campbeltown, Scotland

*”Very good ana original songwriting!”*
– Massimo Ferro RadioVoceSpazio (RVS) FM 93.8 – Alessandria, Italy

An earthy roots Folk & Canadiana with traces of Psychobilly-esque undertones. Simon & Garfunkel meet Stan Ridgeway.

From the three rivers of Pictou harbour in the Canadian east of Nova Scotia emerges KENT and his the debut release “Hot Chicken Sandwich”.

KENT’s lyrics weave an introspective look at life and community in rural Canada. From the self-examination of lost possibilities (Everyone who knows me, knows I could do better…but me) in “Dry Little Cracker” to the mournful self portrait of “Tonto Lamento” that speaks of anguish “his heart it is a wind swept plain” KENT offers up a revealing personal portrait his own story and life.

Pictou was a receiving point for many Scottish immigrants moving to a new home in northern Nova Scotia and Cape Breton Island following the Highland Clearances of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Consequently, the town’s slogan is “The Birthplace of New Scotland”; the first wave of immigrants is acknowledged to have arrived on September 15, 1773, on the Hector.

credits

releases November 9, 2018

Kent Vodden-vocals, tenor guitar, cigarbox, ukulele, percussion.
Jesse King-bass, guitar, keyboard, percussion. Most importantly recording, mixing, and mastering.
All songs written by Kent Vodden.
Photographs by Christine Whelan-Hachey.
Photo manipulation by Benjamin Muntz.

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