Thin and intense, singer-songwriter Kenan Rainwater has direct blue eyes and a voice that has been compared to Johnny Cash’s. It’s a deep baritone that can carry a hard edge, but it holds enough raw longing to qualify for the comparison. As one of the Indiana Boys, Rainwater has been adding electricity to the Brown County and central Indiana music scene for the last four years. And now, he’s stepped out on his own with the New Year’s release of his first solo album, The River Flows.
Electric guitar throughout, and the doo-wop rhythms and harmonies of the first three songs tell you that Rainwater is definitely into something new. Some of the music is danceable and light, filled with the nostalgic sound of the seemingly more innocent 1950s.
All the songs on the album show blues guitar influences, bends in notes and shifts in rhythms that are a definite step away from the bluegrass-rooted sound of the Indiana Boys. His harmonica playing is more soulful, less confined by the beat. Yet, IB fans will feel at home with songs like Harlan County and the album’s title song, The River Flows. The genres are tied together through the instrumentation and the energy Rainwater and his band bring to every song.