Often, the best singer songwriters tend to have experienced peripatetic lives--wandering by circumstance or choice. This rambling and sometimes chaotic lifestyle can foster a desire to observe, to listen, and to attempt to comprehend experiences through other people's perspective--and paradoxically , often can create an equally strong desire to establish roots--and to be of a place--not just from a place.
Kenny Hotopp is a damn near perfect example of this premise.
Hotopp was raised in a small farming town in Illinois, with an early passion for music evident as he immersed himself in his parents’ early rock & roll and country records, and fell in love with the roots of the country & rock & roll legends.
An outstanding athlete from an early age, Kenny's love of music was often competing for attention thanks to an basketball career that took him from high school through college in Los Angeles and then propelled him into a multi-year career playing in the European Basketball league.
Having spent much of his youth traveling for sports, and redefining himself in various locations around the world--Hotopp gained a perspective that transcended his Illinois youth--but also compelled him to return to a place that he was inescapably of--not just from.
Ultimately settling down outside Milwaukee, WI., Kenny's mid-western upbringing resonates with emotion through his own unique world traveled perspective on fatherhood, marriage, family, meeting the love of his life and searching for an inner balance that many who wander often struggle to find.
His debut release on Philville Records, Truth Be Told, is a perfect encapsulation of his current approach to songwriting, highlighting stories and characters that feel like they were overheard between drinks and jukebox spins in a Midwestern roadhouse.
The tracks deftly bounce from genres and influences that touch on bluegrass, to R&B, blues, and hints of psychedelic country--but retain a through-line consistency that links them all together as a collection of short stories or vignettes.
This is the first collaboration between Matthew R. Sayles and Hotopp. Sayles produced, engineered, mastered, and played nearly all the backing instruments on the album, with exception of up-right bass & saxophone being performed by Sayles's studio collaborator Jerod Kaszynski, and the debut of Gloria Howerton singing backing vocals on "Little White Lies." Hotopp and Sayles are already gearing up for another project slated to be released in 2024, and both are very excited about the July 2023 limited pressing vinyl release on Philville Records of Truth Be Told.
Photos: Chad Hensiak
Pre-Order 140 Gram Vinyl through May 28th for discount! (Click on Images Below)