Simon Patrick Kerr has made a name for himself as the frontman for blistering Nashville power trio The Wans, whose brand of 60’s psych rock has landed them on bills alongside Queens of the Stone Age, Jack White, Pearl Jam and more. But Kerr isn’t the kind of artist to be filed neatly into a box. On his forthcoming solo LP, Doldrums (out July 20), Kerr returns to a more stripped-down approach to his songwriting, crafting intensely personal Americana and indie-folk songs inspired by Nashville-outsider heroes like Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark, while chronicling one of the more tumultuous periods in his life.
Kerr’s acoustic shift on Doldrums may come as a surprise to longtime fans of The Wans, but for Kerr it was a logical step. “I played in The Wans for six years and we were touring pretty heavily the last four,” he says. “In between tours I was writing songs that didn’t really fit the mold of the band—they were less party friendly, definitely more on the folkie side. On our last tour in 2017, I asked [Wans drummer] Mark [Petaccia] if I could come in and record a few songs at his studio, and it ended up becoming a full record.” Of this more bare-bones approach to writing and recording, Kerr says, “I never want to get to the point of being comfortable as a songwriter. So I wanted this album to be as vulnerable as possible.”
Doldrums wastes no time establishing itself as Kerr’s most personal album to date. This is evident from the album’s lead track “Strung Out Again”, which we are excited to premiere on Glide. The song finds Kerr grappling with returning home after four years of heavy touring feeling exhausted, rattled and lost. “I only like me when I get stoned / I fell in love with a sinking stone / Talking to myself at night / Strung out again,” he delicately croons atop sparkling guitars and a washed out backing chorus of oohs and aahs. Reminiscent of artists like Jason Isbell and Ryan Adams, the song shows a different, more vulnerable side of Kerr as he reflects on the downsides that can come from from a life in a rock and roll band. Though the song is acoustically strummed, Kerr is backed by a band and harmonies that add an alt-country rock sound without overpowering his vocals. Like the other songs on Doldrums, “Strung Out Again” presents Kerr as a more dynamic and versatile artist as capable of tapping into a more heartfelt, singer-songwriter sound as he can rock the hell out.
Simon Patrick Kerr releases Doldrums on July 20. Visit his Bandcamp page to pre-order.
Photo by Laura E. Partain