Saturday marks the long awaited return of the Kenny Mehler Band to Rutland. Kenny Mehler is no stranger to the area, as he’s been playing it since 2001 and he’s been a regular in the Killington scene in the winter. Now, you get a fall bonus: a first time appearance at The Local on Merchant’s Row, Saturday at 9 p.m.
Kenny Mehler is a hard working, singer-songwriter from Hartford, Conn. The Kenny Mehler Band, though a far cry from Nashville, is an up and coming alternative country act currently reinventing the standard for solid home grown music, unforgettable live shows and northern hospitality. By blending the smooth yet catchy sounds of some of country’s most successful acts, The Kenny Mehler Band has come up with a musical recipe that is sure to offer something to any lover of well-crafted songs, rich harmonies and undeniable hooks. They have a brand new CD, “Cornbread & Whiskey,” set to drop by the end of the year. The new band is unique because all members sing giving each song a nice blend of harmonies.
Mehler, born and raised in Glastonbury, Conn., took guitar lessons for three years starting at eight years old. He got bored with it and focused on soccer, being his Dad was a coach. He played soccer throughout high school and went on to play at James Madison University. While attending JMU, he formed the Groove Holmes Band. Upon graduation, he really focused on writing music. With the Groove Holmes Band he released his first album in 1997, “Paid Mornings.” GHB would later become Five Wise. Since 1999, Kenny Mehler has garnered the attention of thousands of college students as the lead singer and guitarist of Five Wise. The band toured up and down the East Coast captivating the university scene. Releasing three albums and averaging over 250 shows a year, his music spread fast. They sold over 25,000 units independently.
From 2001-2005 Mehler’s band, Five Wise was a regular staple at the Wobbly Barn playing their blend of high energy roots rock. After the summer of 2005, Five Wise took a break from touring and Mehler found himself in a small tourist town: Playa del Carmen, Mexico. The band was on hiatus, so he decided to stay for a while. After eight months and two hurricanes in the Yucatan, he was now armed with some of his best material and a brand new approach to his music career. He released the album, “Now” shortly thereafter. The album incorporates rock, blues, and a fun reggae texture that is ready to surf the radio waves from the first note. Taking cues from Jack Johnson, Rob Thomas, and fellow Connecticut native John Mayer, “Now” is filled to the brim with energetic guitar riffs, catchy choruses, and melodic harmonies. After releasing “Now,” Mehler started a grass roots internet marketing campaign to get the album into as many hands and heard by as many ears as possible. His effort was greatly rewarded, with almost two million plays on Myspace alone. The Kenny Mehler Band was formed in 2007 and has been traveling and defining their musical style ever since.
Mehler is a hard-working, constantly touring singer/songwriter that now plays over 300 shows a year. He has played up and down the east coast from Maine to Florida, the mid-west with Ohio and as far west as Denver. He even has found time to play in Guam and Toronto. Mehler has played at nearly every college, university, and bar where music makes the party. The band’s popularity has led them to some big recent gigs: They opened for Train and played to 10,000 people and they sailed on the Rock Boat from New Orleans to island of Cozumel and shared the bill with Sister Hazel, Stephen Kellogg & the Sixers and Vertical Horizon. The band is no stranger to touring with national acts as they’ve also performed alongside of 311, Cake, Everclear, Bare Naked Ladies, Dispatch, War and more.
After the Kenny Mehler Band played the Pickle Barrel in 2009, owner Chris Karr said “Kenny is the best front man I’ve ever seen.”
In 2010 the band released “Now and Then,” a re-mastered version of the 2007 release “Now” but with five additional bonus tracks. That CD was the roots rock that has given him the success he’s had for years plus adding some pop, folk, reggae and even a little country. It was the country that interested Mehler the most so he started writing some new tunes with a country edge.
Mehler said of the new record. “Finally after nearly four months in studio, we finished the new album. I can’t even tell you all how excited we are to have you take a listen. This new record is by far our best work to date. Now it’s out of our hands and currently resides in Nashville, bouncing around the desks of some of Country music’s biggest record labels. This is the most exciting part of the process, and also the most frustrating. We know without a doubt that we have something special here, but all we can do is sit tight and wait for the label to release it…We hope you enjoy this new record as much as we enjoyed making it.”
Don’t miss this show on Saturday, it’s a reward for you.