After a difficult year fraught with fear, anxiety and personal and sociopolitical struggles, nothing has the power to soothe our collective souls – or coincides as perfectly with our renewed sense of hope – than a heartfelt, blissfully beautiful love song whose inviting title reminds us of the only thing that can truly get us back on track: “Good Ole Love.”
Bringing together a summery pop/Americana vibe and easy-flowing soulful groove with an impactful and uplifting message, Grammy nominated singer/songwriter and producer Kenny Black, veteran singer/songwriter and behind the scenes industry force Stephen Wrench and Canadian singer-songwriter Shimmer Johnson combine their unique voices to create an infectious track that speaks to our unique moment in history - while also advocating for the joy and hope of love in all its many forms, romantic and otherwise.
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’tnever 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.
While the initial placeholder video for “Good Ole Love” included wonderful images of lovers of all ages sharing passionate moments at all stages of life, the trio is currently working with a videographer to create a clip that expands on the theme to include people from multiple races, countries and cultures all over the world, and even images that show people of opposite political views getting along, caught up in the spirit of love.
“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.”
Over the past few years, Kenny and Stephen worked together when Stephen promoted songs for Kenny – including many he had produced for vocalist Ny’a – through his Musik and Film 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. I deleted some of our vocals and put hers in. Shimmer was the magic touch which made the song great.”
Over the past 20 years, Grammy nominated singer, songwriter and producer Kenny Black (aka “The Music Machine”) has been a major force in R&B, rap/hip-hop and gospel music. In the early 2000s, he teamed with Bad Boy Mogul Sean “P. Diddy” Combs to co-produce rapper G-Dep’s debut album. He latercontributed songs as writer/producer to two #1 Billboard Gospel albums by legendary singer and 11-time Grammy nominee Marvin Sapp, including the 2010 live album Here I Am (which included the Dove Award winning song “The Best in Me”) and I Win (2012). Kenny has worked throughout his career with everyone from Jaheim and Lauryn Hill to Faith Evans, L’ilWayne and Desiree Coleman, and has enjoyed a fruitful ongoing collaboration with indie R&B vocalist and songwriter Ny’a, for whom he has produced 14 #1 hits (including “Mend,” “You Don’t Really Love Me” and “You Don’t Know”) that have hit the top of the European charts as well as the American soul charts. Married to Shenika Black, he is the father of four sons, Kenny, James, David and Caleb.
Recently emerging as a recording artist after 45+ years performing with, managing, producing shows, operating Musikand Film and Musik Radio Promotions and creating hits for both legends and indie greats, Stephen Wrench likes to describe himself as a “gentle old soul” who’s usually slow to anger. YetAlong that often broken, but triumphant enough to keep going road, Wrench has played extensively with members of Lynyrd Skynyrd; co-written with the late, Rocco Marshall (Grand Funk Railroad), the late Molly Hatchett’s founding member Banner Thomas, Tommy Tutone, Artimus Pyle (Lynyrd Skynyrd ) and Randall Hall (Lynyrd Skynyrd); chose fatherhood over signing with Columbia Records; turned down a tour with Vince Gill and Dwight Yoakam; tour managed and performed with a “Voices of Classic Rock” road show featuring the lead singers of Santana, Toto, Loverboy and others; and managed Tommy Tutone, Missing Persons, Survivor and many others. He is also a featured interview subject in the Amazon Bestseller “Profile of a Hit Songwriter,” by Lacie Carpenter and Thornton Cline. His most recent album is Life’s a Sham (2020).
Currently riding high on the World Indie Music Chart (#1) and Euro Indie Music Chart (#3) with her latest single “Priceless,” Canadian pop/soul singer/songwriter Shimmer Johnson recently released her long awaited debut album Inner Me. She laid the foundation for her current success with a flurry of singles over the past few years, starting in 2017 with “Pride” (which has over 200,000 Spotify streams), remix collections of “Don’t Break Me” and “Breaking” and most recently, “Never Be The Same,” “Sweet Lies” and “Love is Possible,” another sliver of musical hope she released the first week of 2021. “Breaking” hit #8 on the Music Week Commercial Club Charts 2019, week 37-40.Shimmer attributes her development as a songwriter to her involvement in the Global Intensive Songwriting Network, an online and in person series of intensive courses created by Jud Friedman, a six time Grammy, Oscar, Golden Globe nominated Billboard #1 hit songwriter who has penned classics for Whitney Houston, Tina Turner, James Ingram, LeAnn Rimes and many others. Her earlier songwriting successes include placing her song “Thunder” on five episodes of “MTV Made – Sweet 16,” and having 15 seconds of “Unreal” – her 80s flavored collaboration with Smidi Production, air in a live skit on “SNL” with Dan Aykroyd in the early 2000s.