Ryan Kinder isn’t your typical Nashville country singer. Yes, he’s composed songs with some of the industry’s most prolific writers, and he’s shared stages with performers including Tim McGraw, Lady Antebellum, Martina McBride and Zac Brown. But Kinder’s country is infused with a soul-blues piquancy that comes from years of imitating his favorite blues guitarists while growing up in Alabama.
“I got made fun of a little bit in high school because all I listened to was blues,” he said. “I had this old nasty gray truck and I’d come to school with the windows down playing Buddy Guy, Clapton, Freddie King, all that stuff.”
Kinder’s nimble electric guitar and gospel-tinged backup singers have much to do with his unique sound among Nashville singer-songwriters, and he showcased both for Paste with a recent cover of Al Green’s “Love and Happiness” at the Paste Studio. “I played in cover bands growing up. It was in the set back then and then just kind of fell out,” he said. “And then we were looking for good covers that were gonna fit what all these other songs sounded like, and this one was a no-brainer for me. It just felt right.”
Watch Kinder’s cover of “Love and Happiness” below, and check out his full Paste session here.
You can also read Paste’s ranking of the 50 Sexiest Songs of All Time here, with “Love and Happiness” cracking the top 10.