I’ve been thinking about this for awhile now, but I haven’t had time to share it on my blog until today. I will be the first to admit that I have a habit of keeping my face buried in my phone. Anytime I’m bored or alone, without thinking, I reach for my phone. It’s kinda like breathing. I do it without having to tell my brain to do it. This drives my wife crazy sometimes. My response to her frustration is…”It’s business honey, I have to be active on social media for my fans!”. This is true. The entertainment business is mostly promoted through social media. If I wasn’t a country music artist, I probably wouldn’t even have a facebook or a twitter account…maybe an instagram…maybe. If you’re like me, imagine how much more time we would have if we weren’t so concerned with social media. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not preaching that we should all deactivate our profiles and go back to reading the newspaper, but what if we just took one day off?

I call it my “Sunday Social Media Fast Challenge”. I tried to make the title even longer, but I’m saving “Super Sunday Social Media Fast Challenge 2.0” for next year. The challenge is to take a break from all social media on the Lord’s day. If there was a bible verse saying that we shouldn’t play on our phones on the Sabbath, I would probably quote it right about now, but I couldn’t find one. I guess in my case, since social media is “business”, Deuteronomy 5:12-15 would pertain to me.

Remember those little pocket bibles you had as a kid? They came in a bunch of colors, red, green, orange and if you’re lucky…sometimes you can find a blue one. I think I’ve even seen a pink one before. Here’s a pic.

pocket bible

You can still find them at target, at Walmart or practically anywhere. They are the same size as an iphone and fit perfectly in your pocket. Every Sunday (or every day), slip one of these little books in your pocket along with your phone, and when you get that urge to cruise facebook to see what everyone ate for lunch, read the good news instead!

I hope you’ll take the “Sunday Social Media Fast Challenge” with me! Since today is Sunday, I won’t be posting any updates about my adventures until tomorrow, it’s safe to say, that today, in case you’re wondering, I will be at home, relaxing in my lazy chair, watching some golf, changing Bubba’s diapers, and at some point in the day, I’ll probably have a tea party with my daughter…and of course I’ll be reading my NKJV New Testament Walmart special pocket bible. Have a blessed day y’all!

***Please note: I’m not a professional writer. I’m just a country singer that loves God and my family. If you catch some grammatical or punctuation errors, blame my English teachers. If you run across any spelling errors, blame windows 8 spell checker.


Well, I have a new single going to radio today! The song is called “Jesus and Hank”. The song isn’t a true life story about my upbringing, but it does relate to me in a way…and that’s why I recorded it. Here’s a short background about me. I was raised in the Church of Christ. I attended Camp Blue Haven Church Camp every summer where I was a master camper and after high school I went to Lubbock Christian University. Alright, you get the picture. Let’s just say that my parents have always pointed me in the right direction. I was blessed with a great mom and dad. So, how did I end up out here on the honky tonk circuit making a living under the neon lights?!?! It’s simple really. This is my ministry.

Often I’m asked by my family and friends…”Why don’t you sing Christian music? You can tour churches and then you wouldn’t have to play bars at night.” Well, my answer to them is always….”Because that’s not where God wants me to be right now.” I think many of us forget that Jesus didn’t just hang out with his followers…He ate with sinners.

Luke 15:1-2 “Then all the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to Him to hear Him. 2 And the Pharisees and scribes complained, saying, “This Man receives sinners and eats with them.”

Hey now, don’t get me wrong…I’m not saying that everyone that hangs out at a dancehall needs saving. All I’m saying is that we are all sinners, and if there is one person out in the crowd at a Jake Kellen show, that is broken hearted or lost and confused…then perhaps I can encourage them, and share my love for Jesus Christ with them.

Luke 15:7 “I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.”

Here’s the new song! I hope you guys like it. Call your local radio station and request it if you do! Thanks and God Bless! – JK


Posted: January 22, 2013 in Uncategorized

I like to paint. I have an easel in my office with oil paints and artist brushes ready to go if I’m hit with a good idea. The other morning, I was sitting at my desk catching up on emails and I was already stressing about the work load I had in front of me. I glanced over at my canvas and noticed a shadow of what appeared to be a cross. Although I had a lot of work to get done, I felt that I needed to take a break and paint the image. I turned on some Chris Tomlin and began to paint. Needless to say, I felt that God was trying to tell me something. When I feel like the world is on my shoulders…just step away from everything and spend time with Him.

I titled the painting “Grace”.



Click here to buy a canvas print of “Grace”.

Well, it’s been awhile. I told myself when I started this blog stuff that I wouldn’t fall behind on my posts…but of course I did. The “If Love Was A Road Blog” was created to be a road journal of all the crazy and exciting things that go on when traveling in a country band…but sometimes there isn’t much to report. Dirty hotel rooms, neon lights and all night van rides are just not that inspiring. So I got to thinking about what inspires me the most..and I came up with these three things.

  • Faith
  • Family
  • Love

Every song I write and sing is based on faith, family and love….not beer, bars and Whataburger! So from now on this blog is going to be about things that really matter to me. Living for Christ, time with family and loving life!

American Soldier

Posted: October 24, 2012 in Uncategorized

I sing songs for a living. I love my job, but even the music business can feel like “work” every now and then. I believe that when the day to day chores of my career start to over shadow my passion for the art, that’s when God sends an angel to rattle my cage and get me fired up again. In this case, an American soldier.

Last Friday night we were playing a show with Kyle Park at Midnight Rodeo in Austin. We got there at 5pm to load in our gear. The show wasn’t until 9:30, but it takes a little while to set up and we like to get it done with plenty of time to have a good “sit down” dinner and rest before performing, but that didn’t happen this time. Even though we got to the venue super early, the sound company was having technical issues and we didn’t get sound check finished until 8:30. Needless to say, I was hungry, tired and just not too happy about the situation. With only an hour before show time, the band and I hit up Chick-Fil-A, then rushed back to the venue for a quick prayer, then took the stage.

After the show, I made my way to the merch table to shake hands and sign autographs. As I was walking up, I noticed a young man wearing a camo cap was already waiting for me. He introduced himself and proceeded to tell me that he just got home from a two year deployment in Iraq. I thanked him for his service and before I could finish my sentence, the soldier said, “No sir, thank you. Thank you for helping me get through it all. I listened to “If Love Was A Road” every night while I was there and it kept me going.” He continued to tell me how Texas music played such a big roll in the lives of the men and women stationed overseas.

It was as if a bucket of ice water had just been dumped over my head. I was instantly awakened by the young man’s story and was reminded of why I do what I do. That meeting set my heart straight and renewed my passion for the music. I’m very thankful for the conversation that we had at the merch table that night, but I’m even more thankful for the service of that young man, and that the good Lord brought him home safely.Image

I can sleep when I’m dead…

Posted: October 17, 2012 in Uncategorized

There are some things in life worth doing even though you really don’t feel up to it, but you know that you’ll regret it later if you didn’t. This is my story.

The band and I had been on the road for a few days and were pretty weary. After two shows and several media appearances over the course of 36 hours, I was wiped out. We pulled into Sweetwater, TX and stop at the first motel we could find to try to get some rest for the night. Soon after I settled into my yellow sheets, I got the call that would change my plans and put my beauty sleep on hold. Country music legend Ray Price was playing just a couple of miles down from my motel. I was offered a free ticket to the show and a meal. I hung up the phone and spent a few minutes trying to talk myself out of going out. I told myself..

“Myself, you need to rest, you’re too tired and you must be responsible. Stay here and get some sleep.”

Myself replied with..”Take a shower and get dressed dummy. Show starts in an hour!”.

Well, to make a long story short, I went to the Ray Price concert and it was fantastic! I was captivated by his stage presence and his strong vocal performance. The guy is pushing 90 and sang like he was 20. He even signed autographs after the show for a couple of hours. I’m blessed to have had the opportunity to witness a true legend at work. My new motto is..”I can sleep when I’m dead.”

This picture will hang on the wall next to Willie!Image

Lemons into lemonade!

Posted: August 27, 2012 in Uncategorized

Due to some scheduling issues and accommodation hiccups, my shows in El Paso and Albuquerque were postponed. So, all of a sudden…I had no plans for the weekend. I can’t really remember the last time I had zero plans for a weekend. Sometimes, if I take off work and don’t book any shows…it’s usually because my wife had other plans for us…maybe a wedding, holiday, birthday, etc. Not this time. With the shows falling through at the last minute, I was left with nothing on my plate for the next 3 days.

ImageI’m a believer that somethings don’t happen just by coincidence. Perhaps I did have plans for the weekend that I was unaware of, maybe the good Lord wanted me to stay home and have uninterrupted one on one time with my family. I went with that reason!

It was so nice be able to just hangout at home. I caught up on “honey do’s” for Sarah and pushed Nathalee in the swing under our big oak tree out back! Since I travel so much on the weekends, most of the time I can’t make it home for church. If I do get home super late on a Saturday night or super early that Sunday morning, no matter how tired I might be, I will always take my family to worship. It felt good to be well rested for Sunday morning services this time!

I’m glad that things worked out the way they did. I woke up, smelled the coffee and made lemons into the sweetest lemonade ever!

Three Day Weekend.

Posted: August 21, 2012 in Uncategorized

Last weekend was a great one. It all started with a midnight van call on Friday morning. “Van call” is a term that we use to tell everyone what time the van will be hitting the road. There isn’t any room for running late. With radio interviews and load in times scheduled…the van must leave on time. No exceptions. This term can also be used if traveling in a tour bus…just simply change the word “van” to “bus”. Now say it with me…”Bus call”. Very good. Same when traveling in a station wagon. Ok, you get the idea…back to my story.

Here she is, we call her “The Unit”.
We headed out in complete darkness with our tom-tom routed to Amarillo, TX to play a show with non other than Aaron Watson. He’s from Amarillo so we knew it was going to be a sold out crowd. Indeed it was! I took the stage at 9:45 without having any rest from our all night drive. No matter how tired I am, as soon as I hear the band start playing my intro music, my adrenaline starts pumping and I feel like I’ve downed 3 red bulls. It was showtime! 
Aaron Watson on stage!
Next stop was at Crossroads Saloon in Big Spring, TX on Saturday. Now, that is a rowdy town. We played until 1:30am and of course it’s all fun and games until a cat fight breaks out! Nobody was hurt but everyone was entertained. Haha! Seriously though, I like playing there. They know how to have fun and that’s what I like about Big Spring. One thing I don’t like about Big Spring is that their Whataburger closes the dining area after 11pm. In all my years of eating Whataburger in the middle of the night…I’ve never been to a store that closes the inside. Weird. With a van and trailer…there was no way we could use the drive thru window. Lucky they made an exception for us and unlocked the doors. That was nice. 🙂
Crossroads crowd!
The next day (Sunday) we had a private show in Abilene at a family fun center. We finished sound check early and spent the rest of the afternoon playing skeeball and arcade games. I got to admit it was a little refreshing to play a venue that didn’t smell like beer and cigarettes. At the party there was a 91 year old lady there. She was a big fan of mine. I couldn’t believe that she was really 91. She looked 71 to me. She even drove her self to the party. Yikes! She was a sweet lady and maybe meeting her was the highlight of my weekend. She’s said I was going to be a big star! I mean, shes been alive for 91 years…so she must be an expert in country music. Just saying…
91 years old?!?!

My first music video

Posted: August 14, 2012 in Uncategorized

A few months ago the label and I decided that it was time to shoot a real music video. After many weeks of deliberation, everyone finally agreed that the song for the video should be “If Love Was A Road”. It’s been our biggest hit so far, so we should give the fans what they want. Of course, I called up my buddy Jim Shea out in Nashville to join the effort. Jim is a well known music video director and photographer that has worked on many projects. He was my first choice to produce this video.


After 7 long days of shooting in the hot August sun, I was a glad to hear Jim say those three little words..”that’s a wrap!”. We hope to launch the video on CMT and GAC in the next couple of months. Stay tuned.Image

During my career I’ve shared the stage with many other Texas country artists…but I got to say that Aaron Watson is my favorite person to play with. Him and his band are super nice and defiantly leave their egos at home. I think I’ve played probably 10 shows with Aaron over the years, but this one will probably be the most memorable. We took the stage in Temple at 9pm and played my songs to 500 AW fans for an hour. Going into the show, our goal was to make some fans of our own…and I think we did just that. I couldn’t be more proud of my band and crew. The show was a success! Afterwards I got to have a long talk with my buddy Aaron. We talked about Jesus, Family and just a little bit about music. It was nice to visit with someone in the industry that feels the same way I do about my faith in God and the joy of being a daddy. The fans were enough to make this show a night that I’ll never forget…but maybe more than that, it will be the conversation that I had with The Honky Tonk Kid that will stay with me. 

Here is a pic of the crowd in Temple.