Soul Renegade, the first full-length album from guitarist/singer/songwriter Ken Valdez in nearly a decade. It takes the roadmap of the blues, crumples it up into a ball and unfurls it so the genre's musical capitals all flow together seamlessly into one musical metropolis. From the Hill Country to Chicago, from the Delta down to Texas and every place between and far-flung, Valdez's explosive fretwork coupled with his sweet, snarling vocals make for a treat for sounds of every corner of the blues world and beyond.
Valdez has been referred to as the "Best Kept Secret"
By many in the music industry virtually since he burst onto the scene in the early 2000's. The Santa Fe, NM born and bred guitarist/singer/songwriter/producer, who now calls Minneapolis home, has been turning heads for a decade and a half with versatility, raw talent and a true grit that impart a genuine realness into each of his songs. Collaborations with the likes of Doyle Bramhall II and Jonny Lang ensued (among many) and an invitation to join Mick Fleetwood's band helped the Best Kept Secret's reputation grow. He had become a household name of sorts within inner circles of recording studios and in the blues music community. A decade that saw thousands of shows and a literally millions of road miles was capped off in 2010 as Valdez and his band spent most of that year opening shows for the likes of artists Robin Trower and Big Head Todd and the Monsters. When he finally got off the road, production offers started rolling in and he found himself working almost continuously in the studio and behind the mixing console for three solid years with a wide range of artists from all sides of the musical spectrum. All along Ken kept honing his skills and writing chops, gradually amassing a treasure trove of material while working with artists and producers like Alana Davis, Jellybean Johnson, Andy Byrd, Jerry Wonda and Paul Pesco to name a few.
After longtime friend and crew Delta Blues icon T-Model Ford took ill in 2012, forcing them off the road and effectively ending his career, Ken recorded Jack Daniel Time, a 5-song tribute EP to the legend whose entire profits went directly to T's family; The album was released just before T's death. Recording the EP reawakened the desire to record his own records and get back out on the road. "It's time" he says. "I love the road and that's just it! There is no substitute for actually going out there and doing it!" When he speaks about his new album, it's hard for him to contain his excitement. "This record is the culmination of my past and my present. It also focuses on my future; from Santa Fe to Minneapolis and beyond. Not only is my band on it but I've got people like Chris Duarte, Eric Gales, Doyle Bramhall II, Curtis Salgado and even some of Prince's NPG playing and even writing with me. I cannot be happier with the way Soul Renegade turned out!"