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Getting to The Heart and Soul of Country

Kendall Shaffer


Anyone can put the cowboy hat on

…and if you love country music enough to do it, then God bless ya. Now it’s another thing to exude country from every fiber of your being, from the blood in your veins to the dirt under your fingernails. When you listen to Kendall Shaffer, the difference can’t be ignored. His 2018 EP The Traditional Revival opens with a sample of Ed Bruce’s 1976 classic “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys.” Clearly, the sample seems to declare, you’re about to listen to the work of an artist who appreciates a vintage country sound. But When Kendall and his band kick in with “Honky Tonkin’ (Whoever Said It Was Easy),” it becomes strikingly apparent that he isn’t stuck on getting to the heart and soul of country by trying to make his music sound like it was made half a century ago. That’s because he doesn’t have to put on airs.

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