Good Ole Love is one of those songs which is not only a fun and funky number but which feels like the perfect, and perfectly timed, tonic too. As we re-emerge into the world after a year of isolation and lockdown, it reminds us of so many positive things. Its groove oozes sunshine, it is light but also has something to say and it reminds us that love, more than anything else, is the thing that gets us through such difficult times. They say that we are gearing up for the new normal but Good Ole Love reminds us that some things never change. Love is the answer. Love has always been the answer.
Not only has Grammy nominated singer/songwriter and producer, Kenny Black and veteran singer/songwriter and behind the scenes industry force, Stephen Wrench penned a perfect piece of poised pop, the vocal interplay between Black and the fantastically named Shimmer Johnson really makes the song jump off the page. A fantastic blend of boy/girl harmonies and blues/soul sensibilities, all percolating around into a gorgeous vocal display with Stephen Wrench finally adding his own vocal skill to create an even broader, even more varied, even more brilliant, dynamic ebb and flow of three-part harmonies.
“If you think about it, love has no color,” Kenny says. “Lately, all we hear about is how much hatred there is in the world, and it’s like people aren’t talking about love anymore. We want to spread the song and the video across the world because love needs to be part of our conversations again, everywhere. Music is the medicine that can speak to everyone, and we want not just a single pill but a whole bottle that can fill the world with love and music.”
Penned by Kenny and Stephen with extra lyrics by Kenny’s longtime collaborator Shakira Jones, “Good Ole Love” begins as a duet between Kenny and Shimmer, who in the first verses share hopeful images of springtime in the heart and the comfort of being with one’s true love: “I bet the sun ain’t never shined like this/And I think the birds are singing a song that I ain’t never heard/And the weather’s been perfect outside….We can stay in, we can stay out. . .But whatever we choose, I can’t be without your sweet love.” The chorus – presented as a Kenny/Shimmer duet the first time around – compares their good ole love to “a cold brew in the summertime/Gonna let the top down and take a ride. . .”
In the second verses, Stephen’s earthy, gritty soul voice chimes in and trades lines with Shimmer that speak further of optimistic sweetness: “Dreams do come true, just wave your wand/And everything you ever wished for will come along. . .Now there’s a joy in the morning as the sun begins to rise/I feel the warmth and the softness as you lay here by my side…Your love is ecstasy.” Then all three – Kenny, Stephen and Shimmer – create gorgeous three part harmonies on the second go round of the chorus.
Over the past few years, Kenny and Stephen worked together when Stephen promoted songs for Kenny – including many Kenny had produced for vocalist Ny’a – through Stephen’s Musik and Film Radio promotions company. The two had talked often about collaborating as songwriters. “One day, the melody and words ‘talking about love, love, love, love, love, that good ole love’ came to me and I immediately called Stephen,” says Kenny. “It started out as a vibe because in my experience, a song will never be great unless you can vibe to it. I wrote a few lines and reached out to Shakira for a few more to nail down the first verse and chorus, then sent those to Stephen, and we developed it from there.”
Kenny sent his vocal tracks to Stephen, who added his vocals and completed the tracks in Nashville. Realizing they didn’t want a male-male duet, Stephen hired a female session singer to add the feminine perspective, but when he created the supposed final mix, something wasn’t quite right. “We thought we were done,” he says, “but the other singer was missing something. I had just worked with Shimmer, promoting one of her singles, and reached out to her. She loved the track and absolutely killed on the vocals she sent back. Shimmer added a magic touch which made the song great.”
Good Ole Love feels like a positive step into a more positive world by reminding us that, although much has changed, the things that were important before are the things that remain important now. But more than that it is a wonderful and infectious slice of pop music. And when have we never needed that more in our lives?