The Undeserving are both a product of their home and a desire to experience life beyond it. Growing up in a small town outside Toledo, OH that offered little musical community or support, the four-piece rock band became musicians against the odds. Brothers Clay and Kyle Kirchenbauer had the fortune of hailing from a distinctly musical family, and spent their youth surrounded by instruments they were encouraged to play. “We were always around
music. It was really important. None of us can actually read music, though. We’ve always played by ear. I never stuck with lessons because I loved creating my own thing.”
While enrolled in a music class at a local community college, Clay met guitarist Brennan Willis, who was pursuing a career in production. When looking for a musician to record, Brennan pulled a demo Clay had given him off the top of his pile and called him. The duo realized they wanted to make music together and recruited Clay’s brother Kyle to play drums along with Jimmie Getty on bass. One of the first songs they wrote together was “There For You,” an emotive track that appears on the band’s forthcoming debut. “‘There For You’ is just a simple love song but I think it’s something special when you can take a simple idea and make it into something everyone can connect with,” Brennan says. “I think that’s what we try to do as a band and as songwriters: take those simple, everyday things and make them into music people can relate to. That song has carried us through this entire process.”
The newly created foursome began to play local gigs, but it soon became clear that their collective dreams extended past the borders of Northwestern Ohio. “We love our hometown,” Brennan says. “Our goals reach far beyond it, but it will always be home. There are people here who get what we’re doing. We’ll go to Wal-Mart, because that’s pretty much the only place to go, it’s like a mall in our town, and somebody will shout ‘Oh hey The Undeserving!’ We have support, but we long for something more.”
After a year of heavy roadwork, labels caught wind of The Undeserving and began vying to sign them. Kevin Law, the A&R force behind multi-platinum artist Nelly, won the band over and they signed to Warner Bros Records through his imprint, Cause for Alarm. Jubilant, The Undeserving returned to Nashville to record.
The eleven songs ultimately selected for their debut album foster a sense of faith in the positive aspects of life, eschewing prevailing negative attitudes. “We want to bring a positive message and a message of hope and encouragement to our listeners,” Clay says. “I think that comes from the fact that there is so much in the world that is negative and brings people down. That just grates on all our nerves. It doesn’t have to be like that. We try to write a message that is a little more hopeful and positive.”
This is evident in the album’s lyrics, which are penned by all four members. “Something To Hope For,” a track that Clay describes as “about keeping your head up when things aren’t going well,” urges optimism with its propulsive melody and sing-a-long chorus, while the piano-driven “Let’s Not Forget,” reminds the listener not to take the small things in life for granted. Like their lyrics, the band’s skillful melodies are composed together. “One thing I always want people to know about us is that we’re all friends and it’s a team effort,” Brennan says. “We’re not just friends to play music together. We like hanging out and being with each other as well as creating music together. We take pride in that.”
The Undeserving’s debut album will be released in the spring, following a three-song EP in January. “It’s been a long process and there’s been a lot of people that have followed us for the past several years,” Clay says. “It’s going to be a great day when the record comes out—for us and for them. But in the end we just really love what we do and we’re privileged to do what we do. That’s where our name comes from. We have a great job and we don’t take that for granted. I think we all feel that way. Even when times are tough, we’re still blessed to do this.”
“It also doesn’t matter where you’re from,” Kyle adds. “There are not a lot of resources here for what we do. But that doesn’t matter. If you want it bad enough and you work hard enough at it, its achievable. I hope that’s the message that comes across with our band.”
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