Here's an article on Fort Worth blues musician Kenny Traylor as it appeared in Buddy Magazine in the Summer of 1997. Since this writing he has joined forces with guitarist Bobby Gilmore and is currently adding Gilmore to tracks of the album discussed in this article.
Spotlight on Performers
The Kenny Traylor band
By Don O.
The fact that Kenny Traylor is a fifth generation Texan comes as no surprise after you've heard the loping shuffles and smooth vocals from one of Fort Worth's premiere unsigned blues acts. The surprising thing is that he didn't get it all from here.
"I was born in Teague but my dad was in the Air Force so we traveled all around" remembered Traylor. "He was transferred to Carswell in Fort Worth and that's where I was basically brought up, here and east Texas. My dad got transferred to Germany about 1967 and I ended up staying there for 12 years and got my real start in music while in Europe."
In Europe that meant playing in R&B cover bands, rock bands, and backing bands that supported touring U.S. R&B artists like Sam and Dave and Ben E. King. Repetitive work and a stifling rock record contract led Kenny to return home to Fort Worth in August of 1979.
"There wasn't much of a blues scene here at that time" Kenny said. "You couldn't get arrested playing blues in 1979. I started playing bass with a country/rock band around town, just trying to make a living. I got sick of that about 1982 and got a day gig and started racing motorcycles. I even sold all my equipment."
It was eight years before the music bug bit again, but when it did, it bit hard.
"I would find myself on the freeway in the morning on my way to work and it was like someone slapped me," remembered Traylor. "What the hell am I doing here? It's 7 am, I'm on a jam packed freeway, sitting in traffic. This is not how I want to live. I told my wife, 'I just have to play again.' About September 1990, I went up to a jam at J&J Blues Bar and the first person I met was James Hinkle. We sat down and talked and since then I've been back in music full time. About six months later I met guitarist Danny Hubbard and drummer Matt Williams at a jam at Fatso's and we've been together ever since."
That musical marriage first led to a band called Soul Kitchen that was popular around Fort Worth and the Mid Cities area for several years. The band's mix of covers and original tunes garnered interest at KNON but Kenny wasn't entirely happy with the direction the band was taking.
"You're just not going to get anywhere career-wise covering other people's material", opined Traylor. "I started trying to put my song ideas to music but I didn't want it to be like I was just rehashing old songs with new lyrics. I wanted to take it a little farther than that, but I wanted to stay in the traditional blues foundation. Danny and I started working on songs together. He doesn't have an extensive blues background, but he's got a great feel for blues and for arranging tunes that are simple, but have a different twist to them."
Together, Kenny and Danny, worked up a 14 track album with 11 original songs. With the help of Jerry Hudson at Pantego Sound, it was pressed in 1995 as a self released CD. Titled "Born With the Blues", it remains one of the strongest self-released DFW blues albums of the 90's. The original material is particularly strong and the interplay of Hubbard's tough blues/rock guitar with Traylor's smooth B.B. King style guitar makes for a surprisingly tasty combination.
Two years later finds the band nearly finished with their second CD effort and DFW blues fans chomping at the bit. Veteran blues guitarist Anson Funderburgh joined them in the studio as producer and advisor. The album was cut live in the studio with only two overdubs on the entire project. This time, it's all original material.
"I think everyone that liked the last one will like the next one even better," said Kenny. "The true blues guys and people that get into the traditional stuff will really like this second album."
Chances are this unsigned Fort Worth blues band will be signed in 1997. The addition of bassist Roy Robbins has completed the package. While they shop the new project around, get out to your favorite blues watering hole and check out their fine original songs.