August 8, 2015
By Cindy Votruba , Marshall Independent
MARSHALL – Kenny Marinelli said his new CD started off as just “something to do” and ended up as a project.
Marinelli, who has ties to the Pipestone/Tyler/Lake Benton area, recently released a 20-song CD titled “Changin’ My Tune.”
Back in the day, Marinelli, who now lives in Sioux Falls, S.D., performed in California, Nashville and other areas.
“I have sang in so many clubs and bars over the years, no stranger to Nashville nor the California nights,” he said. “I’ve ran across some of the ‘big names’ in country music. Very few seemed a bit caught up in themselves, but most were really fine and friendly folks.”
He had a record that is in the Pipestone Museum, “Rovin’ Bum,” and Marinelli also wrote a song, “Angel,” which was released by country singer/songwriter Claude Gray back in 1971.
“I wrote it down in the Cave (in Marshall),” Marinelli said, adding that it was on bar napkins. Marinelli had the song for about 10 years when he met up with Gray, who was recording on the Decca record label.
“Angel” went up to No. 47 on the Billboard charts “with a bullet” for many months, Marinelli said, and never went less than eight numbers up each month until toward the last.
In his California days, a few of the “hopefuls,” including himself, hung out together from time to time and gig to gig, Marinelli said. There was Babs Moen, Lucky Shannon, Johnny Paycheck, Carl Waldon, Whirly Fairburn and Al Bruno.
He quit the “singing thing” some years ago.
“Sometimes you get burned out,” he said.
Marinelli got married, had two sons and worked construction for many years. But music remained a part of his life. He said he’s been writing songs all his life.
“I’m pretty much just an old country boy who’s been to town a time or two,” Marinelli said. “I don’t have a personal band, but I have some friends who are absolutely fantastic musicians. I have sang a lot of songs in my lifetime and been on many a stage. I’ve sang to crowds of thousands of people and also rooms full of mostly empty chairs, on occasion.”
He brought some of the songs he’s had to Dave Russell’s North 40 Studio in Westfield, Iowa, to make dubs to pitch to artists in the music business. Marinelli said he was told that he wouldn’t have to take the tunes much further for them to be CD-quality songs.
“Well, we decided to go with that idea and the real challenge began,” he said. “It was fun, but I’m not sure I want to do it right away again. It’s a lot of work.” He said it was tough getting everyone at different times into the studio among other things. “Even though it took some time, I think we pretty much got it where we wanted it anyway. We wanted something a bit different from the ‘run of the mill’ albums where you’ve heard one song you’ve heard them all kind of a thing. By that, I mean that ‘to me,’ so many of the new songs sound so similar to one another and mostly have pickup trucks and drinking beer in a pasture, possibly around a bonfire, etc. as the main theme of songs.”
Marinelli wanted a CD where each song was a little different. He calls them the “road less traveled” songs. They wanted the songs to be more realistic, to not sound like the last one that just played, he said.
“We’re hoping people will like that too,” Marinelli said.
Those who worked on the album include Russell, Ron Alley, Mike Dresch at the Cathouse Studio in Sioux Falls, Colene Walters, Jill Miller, Amy Chapel, Kathy Angeroph, Buckley Mills, Mark Jenkins, Dave Napier, Dave Sherry and The Jones “Sistahs.”
Most of these folks are no strangers to Nashville and its music industry,” Marinelli said. “I generally tell people that being surrounded by all of this musical talent, I usually felt like the only ‘amateur’ in the studio when we recorded these songs.”
He said the album was mostly done for fun.
“I didn’t want them (the songs) to be words on paper when I ‘tipped over,’ he said.
Those who have heard the CD so far have given it good feedback, Marinelli said. It’s not your basic country you hear today, he added, but more of a mix of old country and the new country sound.
“All songs are from things I’ve seen, things I’ve done,” he said.
Marinelli said a market survey was done on his CD, where it was handed out to different kinds of people. A couple of the songs off the CD, “Follow Your Own and “Don’t Try to Sell Me the Blues,” were two of the favorites.
Marketing his music has been a challenge as well, Marinelli said.
“For an unknown to get airplay, it’s a little difficult,” Marinelli said.
Recently, Marinelli’s album was featured on the Gavvy Gav Show, which broadcasts from Howick Village Radio in Auckland, New Zealand.
“He’s been playing the heck out of them,” Marinelli said.