When Kent Wells was growing up in Arkansas, he never really knew he’d end up where he is today. Kent’s dad loved country music and loved to play and sing, so he encouraged his children to do the same. Kent plays a wide variety of instruments and has played guitar professionally in Nashville for years.
Once Kent moved to Nashville, he was fortunate enough to become a touring musician, touring with such greats as Reba and Kenny Rogers. He first toured with Dolly in 1993, and to his pleasant surprise, Dolly called him again years later when she was working on her 37th album titled “Halos and Horns.”
Since then, Kent has produced every record for Dolly, including the current hit “Blue Smoke” – her 42nd and highest debuting record ever.
Kent says he started out just “like everybody else” and humbly says, “I also know how fortunate I am, because you have to catch some breaks, too. It’s not just your talent. I know some extremely talented guys who haven’t gotten the breaks. So that’s very humbling. I’ve got a 30-year-old son who’s a very sought-after guitar player, but I still try to remind him to be humble and remember how blessed we are.”
As for producing, Kent says he has always gravitated toward recording. He had a 4-track recorder growing up and would play on every track – then put it together. Even after he moved to Nashville, he still loved the “recording” process.
Producing is a different kind of thing. According to Kent, much more is involved than simply knowing which buttons to push on the soundboard.
“My greatest strength as a producer? I feel like I’m good at creating an atmosphere that makes the artist really comfortable… I feel I can draw an emotional performance out of an artist. In Dolly’s case, I think she feels safe with me and not like she has to be on the defensive. Because when you think about it, most artists are really vulnerable. They’re presenting their music, their songwriting, their vocal…it’s all laid bare on the table. So it definitely has to do with personality and creating the right environment for your artist.”
“Because the bottom line is, aside from getting the right people in the room, it takes a combination of good things to make it work!”
“It’s about trust and friendship.”
Visit www.kentwellsproductions.com for more information.