The Kernal – “U Do U” (Official Video)

My introduction to The Kernal came with the release of the most recent single “U Do U,” primarily through the cover art depicting a man in purple robes and a fedora floating in space above a sea of adoring photoshopped fans. To behold such an image was more than enough to pique my interest but I had no idea what pandora’s box of intrigue was actually being opened.

Unbeknownst to me, The Kernal had previously released multiple albums dating as far back as 2011. He contains a wealth of Nashville history within his orbit that blurs the line between real person and put-on persona. His father played in the Opry and handed down a solid red Nudie style suit that The Kernal adorns when performing; a bit of flash to accompany his blend of jangly twang.

Going down the rabbit hole of Kernal mythology is an afternoon well spent; particularly for the context that it lends to the aforementioned new single. The Venn Diagram describing this music seems to have always contained a myriad of overlaps but “U Do U” is ushering in new shades of exploration. While Classic Country is the bedrock from which The Kernal was built, he’s evolving and exploring territories that sound more akin to 70s Southern Rock without the baggage of Southern Pride or anywhere near as much focus on searing guitars. “U Do U” has a swinging beat, swirling guitars and refried gospel organ resulting in something utterly familiar and entirely unique.

The accompanying official video (directed by Joshua Shoemaker) manages to provide a layered narrative to the track while still maintaining the carefree, breezy and “hey man, I’m just having a good time” vibe of the song. On one viewing you could see a silly inflated outfit paired with some nonsense footage shot around the neighborhood. On another viewing you may see an allegory about an outsider trying to fit in, or on another viewing see a story about the compassions kids have over adults.

One thing is for sure, The Kernal contains multitudes and “U Do U” is opening up another door to explore. I look forward to stepping on through.