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Exclusive: Ken Valdez Shares New Records and His Motivation Behind the Music

photo by Sarah Soderlund

“I’m back, stronger than I was before” is a line from “Soul Renegade”, the title track of Ken Valdez’s new album. His bad-ass powerful voice matches the anthems on this album perfectly. Set to be released on April 5th, Soul Renegade is the first album release from Valdez since 2007’s Thoughts and Time. Like he says in the song, he is indeed back.

“This is my first album in 7+ years and for the first time, I feel like “the real me” was captured,” Valdez explains. “The tones, the songs, the performances, the sounds- all of it is a very genuine, true representation of myself as an artist.  While I knew I wanted to return to the stage and make a new record, life seemed to have other plans.”

For Valdez, those plans included not having the right personnel and helping other artists on their projects first. It was St. Paul Peterson (Peter Frampton, Steve Miller Band, The Time) who really kicked Valdez’s butt into gear and made him realize the time was now. “Really, this record wouldn’t exist without him and is a testament to his guidance, professionalism and belief in me. Beginning with this process up to present day, he has made me a better player and person. We ended up writing and recording several songs together.”

To add to the inspiration, Valdez brought in a couple of friends (Doyle Bramhall II and Curtis Salgado) to write as well. Even more inspiration came when he asked his dear friends Hazel Miller (Big Head Todd and the Monsters), Greg Jennings (Restless Heart, Vince Gill), Eric Gales and Chris Duarte to join in the fun.

“Every last one of them pushed me to reach higher on this record and I believe we got it right.  The final piece of the musical puzzle came with the band.  Finally, I feel I have players (Tucker Sterling Jensen, Joe Diaz, Adam Daniel) who breathe a whole lot of life into the songs I write and the music we create.  I’m a very lucky guy and happy band leader working with such great players.”

This is blues like you have never heard before, bursting at the seams and giving you a swift kick in the stomach (in a thrilling, all-for-it way of course) courtesy of Valdez’s raw talent. With a hint of hard rock, these songs give listeners the urge to turn it up and get on board. Ken Valdez is what you have been missing on your playlist.

“The record is also unique in that it takes the listener on a little journey.  It shows you my past, present and gives glimpses into the future.  Because of this record, I’m feeling like the fire is back and I’m ready to take on whatever may come my way!  I’m just hoping everyone enjoys what they hear. This is just the beginning!”

The fire is back on April 5th, but you can listen to Soul Renegade in its entirety below. Visit Ken Valdez’s website for news and tour dates.

Brenda Hillegas

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