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The Kernal and His New Strangers pop into Boone

By Jesse Campbell (

Article Published: May. 22, 2013 | Modified: Jun. 1, 2013
The Kernal and His New Strangers pop into Boone

The Kernal and His New Strangers will perform May 31 in Boone.

Photo submitted

The Kernal and His New Strangers are not just your archetypical country music group that likes to sit around listening to George Jones and drinking beer.

But they enjoy that, too.

Front man Joe Garner, known as the Kernal, describes the band’s three and four-part harmony sound as “imaginary country.”

“I made that comment just sort of goofing around,” Garner said with a shy laugh. “I just threw that out there because my dad was a country musician. He played on the Grand Ole Opry for 28 years, so I grew up with a lot of country music.”

The group will begin to wind down its two-week long tour with a May 31 performance at Boone Saloon.

Country music is in Garner’s blood — literally.

“I was raised in an environment where going to the Opry every other weekend was just part of growing up,” he said. “I didn’t realize it at the time, but it was pretty unique.”

After his father died, Garner decided to pick up some of his musical heritage and pay homage to the form, but he insists the band — as a whole — has its own unique tastes for music. “We aren’t just a bunch of country rogues,” Garner said.

The Kernal and His New Strangers formed while Garner was attending college in Jackson, Tenn., a small in-between country town dotted down the road from Memphis and Nashville, which has become known as a mecca for country music.

“Basically, we were just four musicians who wanted to play our own music in town,” said Garner. “We were just like, ‘We should start playing music together.’ We play with other bands, too, but this is our heart project.”

To date, the band remains unsigned, a fact Garner hopes will change in the near future, but it has not deterred them from following their dream of playing music.

“Whatever label would have our interest in mind, like a smaller label (we’d be open to),” Garner said. “We have a whole record ready to be recorded. I spent my last dime trying to put out a single. We are in that phase of testing out our resources and hoping someone will come along a make a good fit.”

The band’s debut album, “Farewell Hello,” features eight songs and was released in late 2011. “This is all still pretty new,” Garner said.

While next week will be the group’s first stop in Boone, Garner said fans could expect what other regulars have come to love about the group’s intimate feel.

“Our live shows are our bread and butter,” Garner said. “We sing a lot of three- and four-part harmonies. We have a blast playing together. Hopefully, it will be very entertaining for people. It’s very interactive. A lot of our songs are social and not just drinking songs. They talk about what it means to be free and to be an American in 2013. The goal of our show is to talk about your job and why you like it, because that’s what we are about.”

For the May 31 performance, doors open at 9 p.m., and the show starts at 10 p.m. There will be a $5 cover, and only those 21 and older will be admitted. Boone Saloon is located at 489 W. King St. in downtown Boone. For more information, visit

For more information on The Kernal and His New Strangers, visit

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