Monday, October 22, 2012

LOST INTERVIEWS (Pt 3): The Kinleys’ Jennifer Kinley


As I mentioned in PT. 1 and PT. 2 of this series, I recently discovered an old, dusty file in my office. The manila folder contained Xerox copies of several rock star interviews that I had conducted more than a decade ago and appeared in old school print publications. And I'm delighted to now be able to share them with my blog readers. Although the chart-busting sister duo, The Kinley's, were stylistically a far cry from the typical arena rockers who I used to interview, they produced some of the best pop-flavored country records made during their run from '97-'05. Hence, I hope you enjoy my interview with Jennifer Kinley from back in '04.

(Pt 3)
The Kinleys’
Jennifer Kinley

Possessing more chutzpah than most of their male contemporaries, 19-year-old twin sisters Heather and Jennifer Kinley moved from the comfort of their childhood hometown in Pennsylvania to the cutthroat streets of Nashville in pursuit of their musical dreams in 1990. They worked Music City for several years, struggling to survive while learning the ins and outs of the biz. But their diligence finally paid off and the singer / songwriters signed a record deal with Sony Music. In 1997, The Kinleys' debut album Just Between You and Me went gold (500,000 copies) and spawned the Top  20 country singles, "Just Between You and Me" and "Please." Featuring the Top 40 country hits, "She Ain't the Girl for You" and "I'm In," their sophomore album II hit the country Top 20 charts in 2000.  After taking  a couple of years off to start families, The Kinley's are back in 2004 with their latest album, appropriately entitled, All in the Family. And while on their current national "Pajama Party" tour, Jennifer Kinley took the time recently to call me and discuss their newly released, independent record.

"It's definitely the wave of the future," Jennifer enthusiastically told me about her and Heather's current state of independence."It fit what we wanted to do. We wanted to kinda make this album our own way and have complete creative control. We didn't even look for a major label this time. We wanted my husband, Adam Hughes, to produce it, which he did and he did an incredible job. It all felt right this time because we didn't have a hundred billion opinions to deal with. You know, you kinda compromise sometimes on albums and have to pacify everybody. Label, management, just everybody has thoughts (regarding an album), so this time it really was all in the family  that's why we titled the album that. Heather and I, along with Adam, worked hard to get this album together."

Although The Kinleys now enjoy complete artistic control with their own label  Identical Records, I asked Jennifer about their creative input while signed to Sony.

Me and Jennifer Kinley in 2000.

"You think you do (have artistic control) until an album comes out and then go, 'Well shoot, I really kinda got railroaded into that. I wish I had stuck to my guns a little more.' It's hard because you really  do want to make everybody happy and sometimes you second guess yourself. Making it (All in the Family) this way and creating our own label, we didn't do that. We just went with what we felt like we wanted to do and that's how it came out."

Without that all-important creative control, The Kinleys often were at the mercy of major label "suits," and over the years, they believed that many of their best songs were left on the cutting room floor. Fortunately for their fans, All in the Family  features many of Jennifer and Heather's (almost) forgotten gems, such as, "Love Train" and "Crazy Love." These, combined with "Little Shoulders," "I Will" and the remake of The Everly Brothers' "Price of Love" add up to what is quite possibly the best Kinleys record to date.

-Christopher Long
(September 2004)

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