The Kernal’s Joe Garner talks about his new album, Listen to the Blood

They say clothes make the man, and for Joe Garner, it was a red polyester suit he found in the attic of his family’s home. The suit belonged to his father Charlie, who played bass at the Grand Ole Opry for thirty years, supporting country legend Del Reeves.

The idea of ​​donning his father’s western-style suit coincided with his desire to explore the country music he grew up with. Garner was also inspired to unearth the suit when he was working as a recruiter at his university. Garner was told by a co-worker who claimed to have synesthesia and see people as colors that it was bright red.

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“I immediately thought that suit was bright red,” Garner recalled. “That conversation led me to go to the attic and find the suit. It all worked together, me trying to put together what I was going to do musically, losing my father and some of those things that were a bit loaded. Everything fits and I put on the suit to see what I get out of this.”

Thus Kernal was born, and a three-album conceptual arc followed, culminating in their latest release, Listen to the Blood.

Joe Garner aka The Kernal

The name combined with the flashy red suit creates a tension between the character and the music.

“The whole thing with Kernal is that it’s a cheeky spelling, but when you hear ‘The Kernal’ you think, ‘Wow, this person must be important,’ but then you see it spelled,” Garner explained.

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