What They're Saying

"'Seneca Guns' brings a slick, modern-rock sound to the more traditional singer-songwriter style, with a handful of standout tracks emerging from the diverse influences you find buried in this record. 'No Good to Me in Pieces' broods and builds to a chorus that turns dissonance into something you can sing along to. "Duessa" is a smooth ballad, with horns that hammer home the vibe and package the song in an appropriately romantic fashion. "New Lows" mixes two things Kenley Young does best -- emotional melodies and a high-energy chorus -- resulting in the catchiest of his heavier tunes on the album. "In Front of the Choir" is the right choice for the closing track, a low-key exit piece with those romantic horns returning to the scene of the crime. WIth talk of lies and confessions, this song about the change that comes with both age and growth is the rawest, and arguably the best song on the album."
--Michael Spawn, Jasper Magazine

 "'Seneca Guns' ... [has] a commercial viability to it that you might hear on the radio. The album is full of palatable melodies which are easy on the ears and that would be embraced by a large demographic rather than a niche. [Kenley's] lyrics are poetic and ambiguous. ... ['Seneca Guns'] displays solid songwriting and delivery. Recommended." 
-- Jamie Funk, Divide and Conquer blog



"Mia's Field," the lead track from "Seneca Guns," was chosen for inclusion on New Indie Daily's November showcase, Vol. XIV. 
--New Indie Daily blog

"'Seneca Guns,' recorded with fellow South Carolina musicians over the past several years, is a slickly produced, major-sounding pop-rock album that's full of the kind of songs that will still sound great with just Young and his acoustic guitar.
--Kevin Oliver, Cola Daily, Columbia, S.C.

"Seneca Guns" was chosen for inclusion among 1001 Records' top releases of January 2017.
--1001 Records blog

"The songs on 'Standard Candle' represent some of the songwriter’s strongest and most personal. One almost feels a voyeuristic guilt when listening to songs like 'A Place Where Nothing Grows,' 'When His Hands Are Touching You' and 'Any Closer,' because they obviously had their genesis in pain. 'Standard Candle' is a warts-and-all meditation on the pains and pitfalls of a love gone awry. There’s sad-bastard ballads and rockers wrought with bile and bitterness, but things never get bogged down in pathos. Young’s too adroit a songwriter to allow it."
-- K. Foster, Free Times, Columbia, S.C.

"'Standard Candle' [is] one of the most accomplished albums by a South Carolina artist this writer has heard in years. It runs the dynamic gamut of great rock records, but the centerpiece here is the transcendent 'A Place Where Nothing Grows,' which showcases Kenley Young’s rich sense of melody, harmony, and arrangement at its most effective. That said, there really isn’t a weak tune in the bunch. The song craft in play here is so tight, the tracks could have been carved from granite. Above all, 'Standard Candle' just sounds great. Every band in South Carolina should buy this record as a crib sheet for how to squeeze the most out of your players and of the studio process. Kenley Young shows what a solo musician can accomplish by maintaining a clarity of vision and an unwavering desire for quality.
-- SceneSC blog

"Vocal harmonies, chiming guitars and catchy melodies. Bands such as The Dylans, Revolver, House of Love, and The Hollow Men. I'm getting the same kind of kick from Kenley Young's new CD, 'Standard Candle,' a 12-track disc that's filled with exuberant, sometimes wistful, pop rock. It's a captivating, highly polished work. Check it out."
-- Mike Miller, music critic and author

"Standard Candle flaunts a wide range of influences from alternative rock to indie rock to the ghosts of college rock. ... Songs like 'How To Bite Down,' 'Turn Me' and 'It’s Over When I Say So' are muscular power pop gems that would make Bob Mould crack a grin. I can only hope that Young indulges himself in those temptations more often in the future. And speaking of college radio I can hear the ghosts of Toad The Wet Sprocket all over 'Standard Candle,' and it works for the most part. Young does a nice job of retaining his own musical evolution while actually connecting those influences. All the while he keeps it simple and maintains a tried and true formula. Because of that 'Standard Candle' does exactly what a debut should … it leaves you wanting to hear what’s next. Well done."
-- Sound as Language blog


"Known mostly for his hushed and earnest confessions of love--and perhaps more importantly, love lost--South Carolina native Kenley Young's latest offering finds the acoustic troubadour of yore all but banished from the kingdom. This leadoff cut ['How to Bite Down'] from his brand new long player 'Standard Candle' is a snarling, blistering indictment churning with overridden guitars, thunderous drumming and Young at his most caustic--both at the mike and on the page. 'The good fight resumes, and I will bite down,' he threatens, adding a 'knives out!' exclamation to further drive his menace home. Love still stinks no matter how loud the din gets here, proving that Young's one true muse--the bitch that is unrequited love--hasn't really forsaken him. He will have the last word this time, though."
-- Weekly Surge, Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Kenley Young is "a gifted songwriter, [and] the songs are unmistakably his, as he tugs with vivid images. ... 'Standard Candle' delivers if you're looking for heart-bending songs that remind you of the moment you realized you had lost 'them.'
-- Otis Taylor, The State newspaper, Columbia, S.C.

"Thought-provoking and relevant to the city that we live in," Kenley Young and The Open Fires place "an emphasis on melodicism. ... The structure of Kenley's songs is one of the strongest things about them."
-- Columbia Vitals blog and podcast

"My favorite new local artist"
-- Host of 99.3 WXRY FM's "Unsigned" hour