Sean Kennedy
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Sean Kennedy

Band Americana Rock


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This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music



Look at the lineup --- vocals & guitar; upright bass, make that upright bass, not that poseur electric thing my son plays; tenor sax; and drums. Then consider the tracks, which include a cover of Buddy Holly's "Not Fade Away." Finally, take a look at the guys in the band, all of whom have what my grandmother used to refer to as real haircuts. Consider all of these factors, and ask yourself, how can BIG TOWN by Sean Kennedy and the King Rats be anything less than damn near perfect? And, sure as two atoms of hydrogen and one atom of oxygen will give you water, it's as close to perfect as you're gonna get in the first year of the second millennium.You could hear this type of music in the late 1950s if you knew where to go. You'd head to a place a few miles out of the city on a two lane road and there would be a place with cars parked helter-skelter all over a crushed oyster shell parking lot, and maybe the place would have a name out front in lights and maybe it wouldn't, and maybe there'd be an ass-kicking or two the night you were there and maybe one of those kicked asses would be yours. But you'd risk it anyway for the beer, (usually warm), the women (usually hot, and with somebody else), and the music. You might know the brother of somebody in the band, but they'd never get invited to play at your high school because the music would have had the kids swinging from the rafters and screwing in the lockers. Not that they weren't anyway. Because the guys weren't doing covers of The Lettermen or the Brothers Four.BIG TOWN brings back memories of those days and makes it sound like one of those unknown, nameless roadhouse bands stepped through a timewarp and started playing as if Elvis wasn't dead and Buddy Holly had never gotten on board a plane and an asshole in New Orleans hadn't abused his power and closed every nightclub in the city that didn't pay him off. Sean Kennedy and the King Kats take you through ten tracks in a little over 33 minutes, no fluff, no long boring solos (but plenty of short, no b.s., interesting ones)."Ball and Chain" starts things off quite smartly, thank you, a rousing rocker with the guitar and sax simultaneously battling for supremacy before Jim Hannibal breaks through and blows like he's trying to split his lip open in a manner worthy of Andy McKay. Sean Kennedy pops in for another verse and then unleashes a blistering guitar solo before abruptly bringing things to a close. All in 2 minutes, 12 seconds. The interplay between Hannibal and Kennedy is constant and sizzling throughout BIG TOWN, but don't you dare ignore Roddy Larsen on that upright bass and Dave Maneeley on drums. Remember how everyone ignored Charlie Watts and Bill Wyman at the Rolling Stones' concerts, concentrating on the Jaggerrichard machine in the front? Haul out those old records and listen: Watts and Wyman were the guys who kept things moving. So here as well; while Kennedy and Hannibal provide the flash and fire and lots and lots of substance, Larsen and Maneeley provide the gunpowder.Kennedy mentions the Stray Cats as influences. Fuggedaboutit. The Stray Cats wish they had been as good as these guys are. These guys are wild men, wild men with talent. Interestingly enough, some of the best tracks on BIG TOWN, a CD full of best tracks, are instrumental, including the title track and the killer closer "Room 39." First among equals, however, would have to be "Racer Girl," a smoker not even 3 1/2 minutes long, which gives Hannibal room to stretch out and blow his face right off of the planet and Kennedy space to blister the skin right off of the tips of his fingers.And how do they follow "Rocket Girl." By taking the revered Buddy Holly classic,"Not Fade Away," and giving it a respectful reading by subtly making it their own, something no one has done since the Rolling Stones did almost 40 years ago. <br>BIG TOWN is ten killer tracks that is so good that you'll be pounding your head against the wall in disbelief, and in time to the music. It would be worth a trip to the band's native San Luis Osbispo just to check them out. The CD will hold you over 'til you do that, though. This is incredible retro music from straight out of nowhere. - Joe Hatluab

"Blues on Stage-Big Town Review"

Promotional material from Rocket King Music for Sean Kennedy and the King Kats describes the band's sound as being from the 50s and 60s incorporating the influences of jump blues, swing, and roots-rock and roll. The four-piece group is based out of Santa Cruz, CA. Sean Kennedy sings and plays guitar. Sax lovers should appreciate the playing of Jim Hannibal, which is featured throughout the album. Roddy Larsen plays upright bass. Dave Maneeley is on the drum set. The album includes 10 tunes with 3 instrumentals. Kennedy receives writing credit for the 9 original songs with help from band members on two them. A nice cover of Buddy Holly's "Not Fade Away" is included. The playing length of the CD is short by normal standards as only two of the songs stretch past 4 minutes. Besides "Not Fade Away," "Ball and Chain," "I Got A Gal," "I'll Be Yours," "Waste Of Time," and "Sweet Tree" have lyrics. The instrumentals include "Big Town," "Racer Girl," and the ending track "Room 39." Fans of The Stray Cats may like hearing Sean Kennedy and the King Kats. As mentioned previously, Hannibal's saxophone is prominent. The band is skilled in this genre of music, so slick back the hair and enjoy... - Patrick Beals

"Santa Cruz Metro-Big Town Review"

Sean Kennedy has a knack for getting a dizzying riff under your skin and letting it soak into your consciousness. Kennedy's guitar effortlessly works its way up a totem pole of rockabilly, country and blues while laying down rock & roll to the nth degree. His passionate verses on "Sweet Tree" and "I'll Be Yours" are stickier than that hunk of Bazooka gum hot off the Pontiac Grill. "Racer Girl" is spaghetti Western at its Prego-y apex. The ripping piano makes those great balls of fire of yesteryear commit arson of the incredible kind. Hot Rod Larsen's thumping bass stomps are guaranteed to be the cat's meow. I haven't been this amazed since the time I was cleaning my cat's litter box while nibbling on a Kit Kat when a tragic mix-up transpired. - Matt Koumaras

" Town Review"

Rockabilly that has a strong jump-blues element, akin to Brian Setzer. A couple twangy blues numbers actually delve into territory explored by Wayne Hancock. Kennedy has a great feel for the material - his songs (he writes seven of the disc's 10 tunes) are well crafted, and although he doesn't have a classic rockabilly voice, he sounds fine on these tunes. The band is a solid unit, and when Kennedy (on guitar) or saxophonist Jim Hannibal get the solo spotlight, they shine. The best track is the slow rumbling "I'll Be Yours", where the band stretches out admirably. Peppier numbers like "Sweet Tree" and "Rockin' Baby" swing. And the cover of Buddy Holly's "Not Fade Away" passes muster. Fun genre exercise. - Mike Bennet

"Delta Snake-Big Town Review"

Sean Kennedy and the King Kats are a multi-dimensional rockabilly band adept at incorporating swing, 50's R&B, and rock and roll influences into a hard charging sound. They are a rockabilly band in outward appearance, but are just as likely to be playing Brian Seltzer Orchestra or Louis Jordan style numbers.The King Kat sound is built on simple, yet interlocking elements. Dave Maneeley on drums and Roddy "Hot Rod" Larsen on upright bass lay down a powerful and deep groove. The upper and midrange levels are covering by Jim Hannibal's 50s honkers-style sax, and amazingly fast guitar work by Sean Kennedy (with that old hollowbody guitar sound).The CD kicks off with a full bore rockabilly called, "Ball and Chain," moving into the swinging "I Got A Gal." The volume increases with the "Sea Cruise" style rocker, "Rockin' Baby," and then the pace accelerates even more with the cut-time shuffle, "Big Town.""I'll Be Yours" comes next, followed by the uptempo R&B style rocker, "Waste of Time," and the Link Wray flavored electronic extravaganza "Racer Girl." A frenetic cover of "Not Fade Away" follows, then comes a drum intro that recalls "Ballroom Blitz" opening up "Sweet Tree."Sean Kennedy and the group end the CD on an exotic note with "Room 39," a Hawaiian-flavored slow blues that wouldn't have been out of place on Chuck Berry's "St. Louis To Liverpool" album.Sean Kennedy and the King Kats have fashioned a lively and exciting set of updated rockabilly, that rocks without adding a lot of modern rock. It's fun stuff, and their timing couldn't be better given the current swing craze.Ten years ago, this outfit would have been possibly lost in the crowd of Blasters and Stray Cats imitators, but in the 90s, they sound fresh and different. Given the instrumental talent of this group, I'm not so sure they would have been lost in the crowd back then either. - Al Handa

" Town Review"

If there's one thing we get lots of here in Colorado Springs, it's rockabilly music. It cycles through almost as often as old metal; only the rockabilly guys usually have better hair (no offense). Don't misunderstand -- the preponderance of rockabilly is a great thing. Musically, it tends to cover a whole lot of territory, like blues, rock, bluegrass, swing and sometimes even a little ska. Generally, the stage shows rock, complete with flowing endorphins, testosterone and luscious hair grease.Fitting that bill, good hair and all, are the Santa Cruz--based roots rockers, Sean Kennedy and the King Kats. Kennedy and the Kats are not pure as the driven snow, 100 percent rockabilly, per se; they're channeling a good bit of Stevie Ray Vaughn with a tad of Steve Earl and a dollop of George Thorogood thrown in for good measure. And then take into account that lead man Sean Kennedy, steeped in acoustic country and Texas blues, also had a childhood fondness for the Stray Cats. While they've spent a good deal of time touring with Brian Setzer and his crew, more recently the band has been sharing the stage with Joe Strummer of The Clash. You get the idea ... Sean Kennedy and the King Kats are a well-versed, well-rehearsed, high-octane, guitar-driven, rhythm-oriented, incredibly danceable band with lots of live-show energy and experience. So ooil up the hair and display the tattoos because they'll be prowlin' and howlin' at José Muldoon's on Friday and Saturday night. It's free -- as in no cover. Just walk in, order a margarita and then shake your booty with the band into the wee hours. - Suzane Becker




Feeling a bit camera shy


Sean Kennedy is from the San Francisco Bay area. Although mostly self taught Sean was fortunate enough to pick up some lessons from Jerry Miller (Moby Grape) and Tom Morel (Bob Wills Texas Playboys).Being born in England and living in NY and Texas as a child, Sean had a chance to absorb a wide variety of styles from blues to punk.
Gaining notoriety in the S.F. bay area, as a roots player. His hard driving approach to roots rock gives him a chance to expand his genre and at the same time , lets him cross-over into other forms of music like Americana or Irish Rock , akin to early Stones in the Chess days.
Some of Sean’s past shows have included Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros at the Fillmore in San Francisco. This was his second show at the Fillmore. The first was with Brian Setzer in 2001.He also got invited to play with Brian again when he came through with his “68’Comeback Tour” at the Mountain Winery in San Jose. All Bill Graham Presents Shows. Sean has done extensive shows with Southern Culture on the Skids not to mention Phil Alvin (Blasters),Ronnie Dawson, The Paladins, The Specials, Johnny Winter, Tommy Castro, Los Lobos , The Fabulous T-Birds and Coco Montoya. One night Sean ended up at The Viper Room, on stage with most of the Pogues, Slim Jim Phantom (Stray Cats) on drums and Jeff Baxter (Doobie Bros, Steely Dan) on bass.
Virgin Records (Benelux) picked up “Ball and Chain” a song from Sean’s CD “Big Town” for a compilation that was released over seas. He is in the company of ZZ Top, Johnny Winter, Los Lobos, Canned Heat, The Paladins, and John Hammond.
Sean likes to play an acoustic and sing as a solo performer as well.

Sean is curently recording and shoping his new record.Rick Miller (Southern Culture on The Skids) is the Producer.Special guests are Jimmi Bott on drums (Fabulous Thunderbirds) Keith Graves on bass ,Gene Taylor on Piano (Blasters), Gary Goldswothy on organ (James Armstrong).Greg Lisher from Camper Van Beethoven is allso due to apear. Should be out soon!

Sean wants to work ,and is open to all ideas. If you have anything to offer please feel free to call.