Kansas City Americana Singer-Songwriter Brent Windler Discusses New Single ‘Around The Bend’, Upcoming Album, & More

Brent Windler is an Americana singer-songwriter who’s inspiration stems from the Great Wide Open of the Midwest, but don’t be fooled: the intricate vocal and instrumental structures of his songs create a vivid and lush landscape. 

Over the last two decades, the Americana-pop songwriter has become a mainstay of the Kansas City music scene and beyond. Windler has carefully honed in his sound, making it both distinctly Midwestern and uniquely his; the layers of harmonies and pop-rock-inspired instrumentals create a deceptively familiar fusion of sounds and styles.

Capturing the underlying melancholy of the cities that lived in the Americana heartland, harmonies and dreamy-rock guitar come together as the backbone of Windler’s new single “Around The Bend”. Drawing on a gloomy kind of nostalgia, the song would serve as the perfect soundtrack to returning to your hometown. Beneath the lyrics, the harmonies and swirling guitars providing the backdrop are almost hypnotic; his thoughtful writing showcases his dedication to his craft, evoking new emotions at every turn. 

Recorded during the COVID-19 quarantine, Windler slowly put the project together, arriving at the final cut last September. Since then, the opportunity to work and record more frequently has put new music on the horizon – Windler’s debut album New Morning Howl will be out August 20th, and will feature “Around the Bend” and “Spanish Jasmine.”

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Depicting the all too familiar emptiness of the Midwest, Windler’s “Around The Bend” music video has the potential to make natives homesick. From vast landscapes to abandoned strip malls, the video is the quintessential Midwest backdrop – and the moody vintage feel of the video only strengthens the imagery. Bouncing back from bleak to colorful, the project is a piece of art you shouldn’t miss. 

Following the release of the video, we chatted with Windler about “Around The Bend,” his upcoming album release, and more.

So what is the who/what/and when of getting you into writing and performing music?

Hmmm… Good question.

Who: Would be anyone in my youth that could play an instrument, and always seemed to be having a great time doing it.

What: Would be all the great music I have fallen in love with so far in my life.

When: Would be the first time I heard my friend play along with The Beatles Revolver note by note…. mind blown…. 

Growing up in the Midwest, was there any particular music scene or maybe even local mentor that influenced your overall sound?

There were so many bands coming out around the time I started to get out and see shows, I was definitely attracted early on to the punk/indie rock scene that was happening in the city. I got to see so many great shows in those early years here in Kansas City, or just a quick jump over to Lawrence, Kansas. 

Your new single, “Around the Bend,” has such a cool, energetic vibe. What is the inspiration or influence behind the song?

“Around the Bend” was written originally for another project I was working on called Dandelions, but as I started to put together the record it seemed to fit more of the vibe of the other songs I was working on at the moment. It was really influenced by a friend of mine I was working with at the time, both lyrically and musically. My friend was really diving deep into all his favorite records from his youth- a lot of 90’s bands we both really enjoyed, and I think I subconsciously wrote the song with a lot of those bands in mind.

What was the writing and recording process like for this track?

This was a fun track to record. It was one of the first songs that was started for the record. It started at the beginning of 2020 and finished right before the pandemic hit, so things were new and exciting, then everything slowed way down. The last piece we recorded was vocals with the enormously talented Heidi Gluck, I believe that was a week before everything got shut down. So, this was the first and last song that was recorded under the so-called normal recording protocol. 

In comparison to previous singles, was there anything different about the way the project came together?

I have been wanting to do a solo record for a while now, and everything seemed to come together as naturally as it could. Compared to the other singles already recorded for my solo material, this one didn’t have any deadlines or any feeling that I needed to get something out as soon as possible. This whole record was like that- it’s the first time I didn’t rush anything, or even worried honestly about even releasing it. I just wanted to make a good record I would enjoy listening to down the line. 

Is there any significance of the imagery in the “Around the Bend” music video?

The imagery in the video definitely has a very Midwest feel to it, which I think moves nicely with the song. The video was conceived by a great video maker here in Kansas City named Jon Ulasien. I think it captures the loneliness and beauty of the Midwest, and complemented the lyrical content really well. 

So your upcoming album, New Morning Howl, is set to drop later this summer. What might fans expect from it, and are there any deep-rooted themes or overarching motifs?

I really love records where you can ride the ebb and flow, so I really wanted to create a record that you can get lost in, and one you can also be in the moment with. If there are any themes for this record, I would say it was more about the mood than a defined outline or lyrical theme.

Given the album release, it’s clear that the latter half of 2021 will be busy for you. Are there any live shows or light touring on the docket?

There will be some full band shows this fall and early winter of this year, and I’ll be playing some solo acoustic shows spread throughout as well, and definitely going to be getting out in 2022 as much as I can.

Being such a fixture in the Kansas City music scene, what would you say are a couple of pinnacle moments for you as an artist?

  1. Opening for King Buzzo. 
  2. Getting to tour/record/play with so many great musicians that has helped shape me as a musician.

What makes Kansas City such a special place both musically and otherwise? 

Kansas City is a great city. So much great music comes out of here. It’s a city that still floats a little under the radar when it comes to the larger cities, but every year I think the public eye gets more and more intrigued on what’s going on here, and there is a sense of growth every year here as well. It’s a beautiful city in its own unique way.

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