Jim Keaveny
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Jim Keaveny

Austin, Texas, United States

Austin, Texas, United States
Band Americana Folk


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"Jim Keaveny on KUT's Austin Music Minute"

Listen to Jim Keaveny on KUT's Austin Music Minute <a href="http://media.kut.org/texasmusicmatters/files/2009/08/amm-aug-10th-2009.mp3">HERE</a> - KUT Austin

"Alternate Root Magazine on Music Man CD"

Jim Keaveny's latest effort, Music Man, combines the wit of Townes, the urgency of Guthrie and the ability to paint images in the listeners mind of Dylan into a package that is uniquely his own. It blazes a path for many new folk singers to follow. <a href="http://blogs.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendId=90362516&blogId=506535572">Read More</a> - Reb Landers

"Cafe Host Folk Singer Influenced By Travels"

Jim Keaveny is a traveler by choice and a musician by nature. He began traveling right out of high school, and this restlessness is reflected in his music.

"I try to keep things moving," Keaveny said. "I like some kind of medium, a good rhythm that I can tell a story over."

Keaveny will bring his particular brand of folk music to State College tonight at Café 210 West, 210 W. College Ave. Tickets are $5.

Café co-owner J.R. Mangan said he expects a decent-sized crowd. Even though he was not familiar with Keaveny prior to listening to his latest album, Keaveny's music was enough to convince him that the musician was right for Café.

Mangan said that Keaveny's well-traveled nature was also part of the reason why he picked him for Café.

"I enjoy acoustic music, and in particular national artists -- people from outside the State College scene," he said.

Songs such as "Rainin' Here in Austin," "The North Padre Island Lullaby" and "Goin' to Arizona" show the connection between Keaveny's songwriting and his traveling.

"I guess I just find traveling interesting," he said. "It helps to come up with material to write about. I do a lot of autobiographical stuff."

Keaveny said he has always wanted to understand the everyday walk of life. In his newest album, Music Man, released in July, Keaveny has compiled a collection that reflects this desire, event organizer Mark Ross said. Keaveny will bring something different to State College, he said.

"It isn't commercialized, glamorized music," Ross said. "This is real stuff."

While Ross said that Keaveny's music often prompts comparisons to the likes of Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan, he cites Jimi Hendrix as one of his biggest influences. Though music is his passion, Keaveny hasn't limited his work experience to that of a musician -- he's been a dishwasher, a firefighter and a graveyard maintenance man.

"I gravitate towards music. I sort of considered myself a job-adventurer for a while, but I always knew music was where I would end up," Keaveny said. "The other things were just sort of efficient ways of filling in time."
- Daily Collegian, State College, PA

"2005 "A Boot Stomping" CD Review"

A Kerrville 2005 New Folk finalist, Jim Keaveny is as DIY as folk music gets. From his hand-written bio to a summer spent busking in Europe, he lives close to the ground, and his third CD, A Boot Stomping (Blue Bonnet), simply reinforces his stance. --JIM CALIGIURI - Texas Platters - Austin Chronicle

"Rapt Magazine - Music Man CD Review"

It’s easy and often tempting to apply the Folk genre label to any song played on an acoustic guitar and sung in a somewhat rustic manner; it’s easy to offhandedly label the singers of such music “singer-songwriters.” The utmost Folk purists will refuse to grant the Folk classification to any music that has not survived at least a couple generations of bona fide oral dissemination and transmutation: if a song hasn’t been picked up and sung by other (non-commercial!) singers in a folksong’s natural context of occurrence—these days a coffeehouse or a bonfire gathering perhaps—then it isn’t folk.

Music Man, 2009
This is why during the early 1960s, when Bob Dylan was singing what would seem his most earnest folksongs, he refused to acquiesce to the Folk label; he called it “contemporary” music, for the songs had had barely enough time for oral dissemination. By such a standard, the songs on Jim Keaveny’s fourth full-length album Music Man cannot be considered true folksongs. I do not doubt, however, that some of these songs might someday prove themselves worthy of the folksong label, for they speak plainly but profoundly of the human condition while adhering to traditional folksong changes and melodies.

Upon first listen to the first few tracks of Music Man, the music might seem tiredly unoriginal and lacking any extraordinary insight. But as the album unfolds and the songs build upon each other, you realize that the songs that at first seemed to be misfires (I think primarily of the title track, which essentially declares nothing other than that the singer is indeed a music man) are merely the folksinger’s ethos—to again provide a Dylan quote, “Anything worth thinking about is worth singing”—at work. A folksinger writes about any subject under the sun, and so some songs will be heavier than others, some lighter. To the folksinger, both are equally valid.

Keaveny’s songs are pervaded by an air of restless movement. In “Goin’ to Arizona” he builds a wary yet romantic expectation of the imminent trip to Arizona (surely only the most recent trip of many recently undertaken) by recounting the recent pasts of two men making the trip with him; the effect of recounting Bobby’s (“my brother and an angel”) and David’s (“a conman from Milano, Italy”) tales is to give their next trip, the next chapter in their multifarious stories, an anything-could-happen air of romance.

What would such a collection of songs be without some type of social commentary? “Most Americans, they don’t get around/Just maybe over to the very next big town/Too far in debt or afraid or just not curious enough to cross that line/To another world and to another time,” he sings in “Livin’ In A Dream,” a song about the willful blindness (“Everybody’s a pawn of a bigger game”) of most of the world’s inhabitants to the “Snakes up top inventin’ more lies/Each government growin’ more ‘n’ more centralized.” These words come in the “talking blues” format that listeners of Woody Guthrie, Dylan, and Townes Van Zandt will be familiar with, and if not for the contemporary references to the Iraq War, this song would be indistinguishable from any of the talking blues songs of any of the aforementioned folksingers.

To give every song the depth of discussion it deserves would obviously take too long. Suffice it to say that Music Man is rich and diverse, deeply personal yet expansively encompassing, rough yet elegant. Whether the choicest songs here are accidental brilliance or painstaking song craft could not matter less: the end result (which, of course, really is no end at all) will undoubtedly delight and inspire singers and listeners alike. - Evan Butts

"Altcountry.nl Music Man CD Review"

(Dutch Americana website, Altcountry.nl, gave Jim Keaveny's new CD, Music Man, 5 Stars!)

**translated from dutch**

I like everything about Jim Keaveny’s cd Music Man (private distribution). First of all that gorgeous cover shot, on which he looks into the lens of the camera
with self&#8208;assurance but also with some distance. Nearly looks like an outlaw portrait from the Seventies. Then his brief life story.

He really detests school and drops out and leaves North Dakota to spend 18 months getting rides and just being a hobo travelling through America. That has been a good school for singer&#8208;songwriters for a long time already. After a whole list of small jobs in Eugene, Oregon, he travels through Europe, especially in Spain. He arrives in
Austin, Texas in 1996 and that proves to be a place where he can live quite happily.

Music Man is his fourth cd. On his Myspace page are quotes from altcountry.nl and other sites and a recommendation by Michael Hurly, who came into contact with Keaveny’s music at an Amsterdam hostel of all places. The intractable artist Hurly is especially impressed by the wander lust which is apparent in the music.

A number titled Goin’ to Arizona for instance also speaks of Italy an Hawaii. Keaveny, whose singing voice is quite beautifully husky, is not one for any technical skills. His way of singing is pretty amateurish, but in so doing, he does fit in with masters such as Townes Van Zandt and Bob Dylan. The title song starts off with rolling drums and a piano and when it all goes into overdrive, it sounds as if it could all explode. Gorgeous!

Lonely Old Railroad Blues is another piece in totally his own style with that rather strange
way of singing and very simple drums. Mountain Mama has a crazy fast beat and long hauls on the harp. In I’m So Lonely Keaveny squeaks, you can hardly call it singing, but contrary to what you would expect, it’s never depressing, not for a single moment. The closer Happy Man, another song with a great beating rhythm, says it all about Keaveny.

It’s a long way from masterful in the literal sense of the word, but it is simply magical.
- Altcountry.nl

"The Sound of Free"

Austin-based folk singer/songwriter Jim Keaveny isn’t the type of guy who likes to stay in one place. How else could you explain his frequent cross-country journeys for months on end — hitchhiking, hopping aboard train cars and playing music wherever he lands — or the two years he spent in Europe as a street musician?

But one thing’s for sure. It’s provided plenty of good song material.

“To me, amazing things happened to me out there when I didn’t have a set plan,” says the 36-year-old tunesmith. “You kind of leave the doors wide open out there for interesting adventures.”

In between the travels, the North Dakota native ended up playing bass guitar in a classic rock group with friends in Eugene, Ore. Their music mostly consisted of Who covers and long instrumentals, but when Keaveny was by himself, he picked up his acoustic and channeled the spirit of the Bob Dylan records he listened to as a kid.

“I’d almost kind of switch gears,” he says. “What came naturally to me was folk music.”

Folk became the focus when he relocated to Austin in 1996. After playing in a few bands, he started recording independent solo records. Over four releases, including his newest work, “Music Man,” Keaveny has mixed poetic narratives on love, travels and politics with his Dylan-esque inflection (a blessing and a curse, he admits) while dabbling in country and lo-fi blues. Along the way, he has honed his skills on the harmonica and developed a playing style on the guitar that came from equal parts practice and laziness.

“I’d reach over and grab the guitar, and I didn’t know where the pick was,” he recalls. “I sat there and started messing around with it ... This kind of poppy rhythmic thing started happening.”

Lisa Hancock, co-owner of Cafe Acoustic, says a few things about Keaveny caught her interest. Aside from being a New Folk Finalist at the Kerrville Folk Festival in Kerrville, Texas, and getting a warm response at the online roots music magazine The Alternate Root, Hancock heard something genuine.

“I think it affected me because it was so rootsy and non-pretentious, and it really put me in mind of that type of American folk,” she says. “He just seemed like a guy who had really taken the music to heart, you know, a lot of traveling, a lot of real-life experience and put that into the music.”

Jim Keaveny will perform at 8 p.m. Sept. 26 at Cafe Acoustic. It will be one of Keaveny’s several stops on tour and on stage, and the liberation in his life is something he hopes will translate through his music.

“I want to inspire people to want to be freer,” Keaveny says. “I try to get the feeling out of my songs, too, because I want people to know what that feels like.” - Blake Hannon - Stjoenews.net


Music Man (2009)
A Boot Stomping (2005)
The Great Historical Bum (2002)
These Old Things (2000)



** New Folk Finalist - 2005 (Kerrville Folk Festival)
** #13 FAR Chart - July 2009 (Music Man)
** #5 Euro-Americana Chart - September 2009 (Music Man)
** #11 Roots Music Report Chart - October 2009 (Music Man)
**#15 Texas Roots Radio Airplay Chart - November 2009
(Music Man)
** In the Top 100 of AMA Chart - 2009 (Music Man)
** "Music Man" listed as one of the Recommended Albums of the Year, 2009 - Belgium

... I was born and raised in Bismarck, North Dakota. Was trained in classical piano from 2nd to 8th grad. My instructor, Mrs. Buck, chose me from all her students to represent her at the University of Mary outside of town. I played a piece called "Chimes".

Always hated school and never did well at it. One teacher of mine suggested seatbelting me to my desk chair. I was diagnosed with a.d.d. by the 8th grade. To me the entire thing was and still is a joke. Grades were at their worst by then and my mother insisted I either quit sports or piano. I quit piano to escape the nun-like strictness of Mrs. Buck. Started in a rock band my junior year as bass player. It was then I started the guitar and began writing songs.

Instead of collage, I hitchhiked and rode freight trains around the country for about a year-and-a-half. These were the best times of my life... I met some of my best friends and felt that i was finding myself with the like-minds, the guitar, the traveling, and the poetry.

Played in a band in Eugene, Oregon a couple years. Worked as a fisherman, a dishwasher, a cook, a treeplanter, a firefighter, a janitor, a graveyard maintenance man, a brewer, in several factories, and later (what I do now) as a carpenter.

I've lived solely by busking (performing on the streets) for about two years of my life, the second round in Europe, mostly Spain.

Arrived in Austin early '96. Played with a few different bands including the "Fence Cutters". In 1998 I began playing solo and then released my first of four records. "These Old Things" (2000), " The Great Historical Bum"(2002), " A Boot Stomping"(2005), and "Music Man" (2009) - which has just been released this month - are the titles.

I was a "New Folk Finalist" in 2005 at the Kerrville Folk Festival. I play in the central and the western Texas area as well as tour about 6 months of the year in both the states and E.U. I consider myself a folk/country singer. I play alotta harmonica.

Jim Keaveny
July 14th, 2009

Anna Oakley
Mercury Graphics & Promotion

Fred Boenig, Americana Media Productions
(610) 967-5948

Jim on Myspace: www.myspace.com/jimkeaveny