“Archer” creators Adam Reed & Matt Thompson on collaborating with Kevn Kinney


The Archer panels at the Television Critics Association press tour never fail to be entertaining and enthralling (or at least they’ve always been so for me, anyway), but rarely have they made me do a double-take the way today’s panel did when the show’s executive producers, Adam Reed and Matt Thompson, announced that they were going to be releasing an Archer album in the near future. What surprised me wasn’t the fact that Kenny Loggins would be doing a duet of “Danger Zone” with the character Cherlene – the words “Archer” and “Danger Zone” are so closely linked at this point that that almost seemed like a given – but that a substantial amount of the music had been done by Kevn Kinney, the singer/songwriter best known for fronting the band Drivin n Cryin.

Clearly, I needed to know more.

Me: So how did Kevn Kinney end up working on this album?

Matt Thompson: Well, first of all, Adam had already known him.

Adam Reed: Yeah, we were buddies. I’ve known him for a long time. We’d met through mutual friends in the Athens music scene and just sort of hit it off. And when we started this, we were gonna have Cherlene be a country singer, and I was looking through all my music for a song for a scene, and the song where I was, like, “Oh, this would be perfect,” was a Kevn Kinney song. So I called Matt and said, “Let’s call and see if we can get the rights to this.” And Matt said, “I’m sure we can get the rights to it, but do you maybe want to expand this a little bit?” And before we knew it, we were making an entire record.

Matt: It kind of just snowballed.

Adam: It did. It snowballed really quickly. But, you know, there are a lot of Kevn Kinney songs that we… songs of his that we re-did for the record.

Matt: “40 Miles…”

Adam: “40 Miles of Mountain Road” we did. It’s one of his songs. We did…

Matt: “Straight to Hell.”

Adam: Yeah, I don’t know if you know the Drivin N Cryin anthem “Straight to Hell,” but…

Me: “Just like my mama said”?

Adam: [Laughs.] Yeah! Well, the whole cast sings it.

Matt: On “Straight to Hell,” Amber, Adam, and Lucky are singing in the background.

Adam: Yeah, we sing the chorus. So the record really turned out great. I’m just a huge fan of us, and I’d be delighted if somehow he ends up getting, like, a Grammy and a gold-plated hum-vee out of this. [Laughs.] Have you listened to any of his non-Drivin n Cryin stuff? I think he is, like, the best songwriter ever. He’s amazing.

Matt: Adam and he actually wrote some songs while they were just sitting around. I remember my favorite is “Burn It Down.” It talks about how she always just wanted to burn shit down. [Laughs.]

Adam: Yeah, he wrote several new songs just for the record. Like, sitting there at lunch, he would write a song and be, like, “Okay, let’s go record it.” “Well, when did you write it?” “Well, just right now.” [Laughs.] He’s really a talent.

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