• Plays the STS180CENT
• From Nashville, TN.
I’m extremely impressed at the richness of the tone, the clarity, and the projection of my STS180CENT. Having exclusively played a vintage Gibson for the last number of years I was surprised at the mature characteristics, playability, and balance of this guitar and I love playing it!
American singer/songwriter Kyle Jennings arrived on the music scene in 2004 when his album “Shine” was released on Dark Horse Records Nashville. Out of the box Jennings music made an explosive first impression likely due to cross-genre rock influences such as Journey, Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. A gritty mix of Americana, rock, folk, and blues influences and a deep-rooted traditional country stronghold have always been characteristic of Jennings musical style.
Raised in the rich mid-western culture of Michigan’s hard-wooded backcountry trails in a hard- working blue-collar family Jennings was the youngest of 3 kids. Growing up his father Gary worked as a teacher and a homebuilder, and his mother Linda worked as a stay at home mom and part-time nurse. From his early teens Jennings spent his summers slinging lumber and building houses with his dad learning the trade of home construction and remodeling and spent the better part of his youth pursuing his passion for ice hockey.
After graduating high school Jennings left his hometown of Comstock to play Junior hockey in Toledo, OH. From there he spent two seasons in Springfield, Illinois playing for the Springfield Junior Blues of the NAHL. Jennings spent three seasons traveling the US and Canada before a string of concussions led to an early exit of his hockey career and ultimately his return home to Michigan.
Soon after returning home Jennings would segue his passion for hockey into music. Discovering an old Yamaha guitar underneath his grandfather’s bed where he was living Jennings started to teach himself guitar and began writing songs and performing. In a short period of time Jennings was entertaining crowds around southwest Michigan. Jennings began making trips to Nashville and in the summer of 2002 relocated to Music City.
Once seated in Nashville Jennings began writing and performing frequently at the local honky tonks and worked as a bartender at the Wildhorse Saloon part-time to make ends meet.
In the spring of 2003 Jennings was introduced to steel guitar whiz and producer Bruce Bouton and the two began work on Jennings first record. Immediately following the release of "Shine" Jennings took to the road with a focus of developing as a live performer. He would spend the next years traveling across the country sharing stages with acts from Hank Jr. to Styx, earning a reputation as a passionate and rambunctious high-energy live performer.
In 2005 Jennings songwriting was recognized worldwide when his solo-penned “Can I Run in the Dark (and Still Walk in the Light) was selected as 1 of 15 finalists in the country category of the International Songwriting Competition, a massive competition that commonly receives 15,000+ entries each year.
In the spring of 2006 Jennings began work on his ambition of establishing an annual music festival in his hometown. With 3rd party financial support he organized his vision and headlined the first ever Dark Horse Music Festival in downtown Kalamazoo at the Arcadia Creek Festival site, a large outdoor ampitheatre and entertainment facility. The event featured various local vendors selling food and drinks to the patrons and showcased a number of Jennings’ friends and fellow independent artists. Then unsigned Jerrod Niemann (Jennings’ roommate at the time), Guitarist Wayd Battle (Jamey Johnson), Raisin’ Cain, Laurie Killian Starr and a number of local acts filled out the day long musical roster. While the event attracted in excess of some 2,000 people in the end it suffered significant financial loss. In the face of that loss Jennings’ financiers for the event pulled the plug leaving him in default of multiple financial obligations and subsequent legal trouble. Garnishments and levies in search of financial restitution for services rendered followed him from gig to gig and would eventually prevent him from playing his hometown.
Broke, frustrated, and disheartened; in the fall of 2006 Jennings took a position as a front man at Wild Bill’s Atlanta the 2nd largest indoor live music venue in the US. For 6 months Jennings performed on the stage entertaining crowds of 4,000+ and opening for scores of national acts spanning multiple musical generes from legendary classic rock acts like REO Speedwagon and Styx to country powerhouses like Blake Shelton and Dierks Bentley. While he enjoyed performing nightly on a big stage, it wasn’t long before his passion for creating and performing his own music starting tugging him back to Nashville. In July of 2007 Jennings returned to Nashville and began working on a new record. While renting a room from friend and musical collaborator Kevin Post the two spent 6 months creating Jennings second record. Writing or co- writing all but 2 tracks on the 15 song album, Jennings also co-produced the record with Post who at the time was making a living as a band member for country artist Terri Clark.
In 2008 Jennings released “Long Black Cadillac”. Explosive and diverse much like the first release, his second album included an array of tones from his signature rootsy country-folk ballads to the guitar-based rock anthem title track as well as a version of Zac Brown’s "Whatever It Is" prior to the bands national launch later that year. Working stages together Jennings and Post realized a unique live chemistry and recognizable vocal match. They continued to write and began focusing on acoustic shows with Jennings carrying the bulk of the lead vocals and rhythm guitar and Post supplying his deep blues influenced guitar licks and soulful background vocals.
In 2009, Jennings returned to the ice, this time as a coach giving back to the hockey community that shaped him, working to develop talented young aspiring travel hockey players in the Nashville Jr. Predators travel hockey organization. An accomplished Level 4 USA Hockey Certified coach, Jennings would lead teams for the next 5 seasons to a smorgasbord of success including multiple tournament wins, two state championships, 2-USA Hockey National Tournament berths, and bringing home gold the 2012 USA Hockey U12 Div 1A Peewee National Championship.
Subsequently, after a steady string of musical disappointments and in the heart of tough economic hardships Jennings was ready to pack it in. He suggested during a late night conversation with his father that it was time for him to return home permanently and secure a job and move on with his life. His father insisted he stay the course and reassured him not to lose focus with his musical aspirations. Jennings returned to Nashville and once again re-immersed himself in music. Meticulously dissecting work from his biggest songwriting influences like Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, Johnny Cash, Alan Jackson, Garth Brooks, and Merle Haggard and incorporating traits into his own work Jennings broke down and rebuilt his craft utilizing his love for musical dynamics and his fondness for storytelling.
In August of 2016 Jennings released “American Vinyl”, a masterful American musical journey written and produced by Jennings. His first fully self-produced project, “American Vinyl” and it’s 13 tracks sweeps listeners through small towns and down back roads, to the heart of the spirit that makes up the American way of life. “Jesus, Jack Daniels & Me”, the debut single from “American Vinyl” also served as Jennings’ first music video and received 100, 000 views within the first few weeks of it’s launch.
Although primarily recognized as a country artist, Jennings music is quite diverse. His infusion of blues, folk, rock, and country have provided him a broad spectrum musical platform and his small town stories and affection for the American way of life has become signature in his work. He currently tours the US both acoustically and with his band performing venues ranging from the smaller honky tonk circuit to massive fairs and festivals and various live music venues coast to coast.