The Kennedys
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The Kennedys

Band Folk Pop

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Dec
31
The Kennedys @ Starland Cafe

Washinton, District of Columbia, USA

Washinton, District of Columbia, USA

Dec
17
The Kennedys @ TBA

Katonah, New York, USA

Katonah, New York, USA

Dec
10
The Kennedys @ Music at the Mission

West Milford, New Jersey, USA

West Milford, New Jersey, USA

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Press


THE KENNEDYS
Half A Million Miles
(Appleseed)

How wonderful is the husband-wife duo called the Kennedys? Or more precisely, how wonderful is their music and the imagery and ideals they present so eloquently? Even a cursory listen to each and every one of their eight albums to date provides testimony to their talents, emitting feelings of optimism and possibility as well as a celebration of all life has to offer. Their lyrics echo sentiments about peace and love, tie-die and patchouli, and literary references from the likes of Emerson, Thoreau, and Huxley perched atop melodies that reflect influences of Dylan, the Byrds and Buddy Holly.

These disparate elements all gel on Half A Million Miles, an album that provides eloquent testimony not only to the distance they’ve traveled since their first encounter in an Austin music club 13 years ago, but also to the here and now, twin themes that pop up repeatedly throughout these jangly folk-rock excursions. The ‘60s-stirred melodies allow ample support for their starry-eyed sentiments, as evidenced by the riveting title track and the steadfast “Live,” a soulful tryst that borrows liberally from Van Morrison. A pair of effusive covers enhance the retro feel -- Richard Thompson’s “How Will I Be Simple Again” and Dylan’s “Chimes Of Freedom,” two timeless songs that provide perfect harmony with the pair’s soft rock sensibilities. However, all these songs are transcendental, not transient… trumpeted in titles like the aforementioned “Live” as well as “Listen” and “Here and Now.” Then there are the odes to their New York neighborhood and the sages that populate it, manifest in “Nuah” and “9th Street Billy.” Taken in tandem, they impart spiritual sacraments, psalms of sorts that are well worth considering.

The Kennedys’ saga continues. Happily, the rest of us are fortunate enough to be able to join the journey. (www.appleseedrec.com)

-- Lee Zimmerman (Entertainment News & Views, week 0f 7/11/05)
- Entertainment News & Views


by Michael Jurkovic

The natural cynic in me swore that nobody wrote songs this ringing and effortless anymore. It all seemed like sturm, drang and over production. Big names writing small songs.

Then along comes Stand and I know there's hope. A great voice ­ we haven't heard a voice so full of sunshine like Maura Kennedy's in God knows how long. Songs that don't have you second and third guessing meaning or intent. Frothy folk/rock/pop guitar production. Melodies bouncing off the walls like the most fun pinball game you've ever played.

The Kennedy's fifth disc (their first for Koch) beats any anti-depressant the doctor might order. Every song catches your ear and won't let go. I could go on but I'd rather listen to 'Stand' over and over and over again.

Track List:
Dharma Cafe
Stand
Easy People
Pilgrim
Raindrop
Ashes and Sand
Dance Around in the Rain
Tupelo
Miracle Mile
Don't Hold Your Breath
Anna and the Magic Gown
When I Go


Edited by: David N. Pyles
(dnpyles@acousticmusic.com)


Copyright 2003, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
- Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange


Over the past few years The Kennedys have been building up an impressive and diverse body of work that ranges from the gentle acoustic sounds of 'Angel Fire' right through to the pop driven 'Evolver'. The constants throughout the different styles are the always excellent songwriting and the instantly identifiable sound of Maura's vocals and Pete's guitar work. 'Stand' is no different, within the first 10 seconds of the opening sound there's a distinctive 12-string guitar riff and a strong opening vocal that immediately identifies this as a Kennedy's album.

As with all their albums, on the first listen through it's the melodies that are immediately striking, throughout the disc all the songs are brim full of hooks, and they never pass up on the opportunity to deliver a great melody - the supply of melodies is relentless, and it makes the disc an absolute breeze to listen to and enjoy on the first run through.

Even though they have an identifiable sound they certainly don't stick a formula with their songwriting, they continue to ignore musical boundaries and seamlessly make the transition through genres and decades with ease - jangly-pop ('Dharma Café'), country-rock ('Tupelo) and folk ('Anna &the Magic Gown) all sit together comfortably on the album. The songs on 'Stand' compare favorably to the output of more traditional singer/songwriters, they're excellent writers and their own songs (there are two covers) are full of detail, metaphor and real depth.

Highlights are the title track which subtly and beautifully blends Curtis Mayfield's 'People Get ready' into a folk-rock song with a strong lyrical theme; 'Tupelo' is an alt-country track with a great Gothic tale that's steeped in Southern imagery; and the two final tracks that sit together well, 'Anna &the Magic Gown' is a retelling of a classic tale, the melody and vocal delivery is inspired by English folk song but with a more contemporary musical backing, and this leads into Dave Carter's 'When I Go' which is a truly beautiful and hopeful song that mixes myth and tradition, it's a great way to close the disc.

It goes without saying that Maura's vocals are excellent - she has a pure and versatile voice and is equally convincing across all styles; and Pete's guitar work is as varied and graceful as ever. 'Stand' is The Kennedy's most consistent album yet, it has no weak songs and a real fluidity across all 12 songs.
Highly recommended

Fish Records Suppliers of singer/songwriter, folk &acoustic music Shrewsbury, England neil@fishrecords.co.uk http://www.fishrecords.co.uk tel +44 (0) 1743 231546 fax +44 (0) 1743 354354
- Fish Records


Right from the start (with their shimmering 1995 debut River of Fallen Stars), Pete and Maura Kennedy emphatically positioned themselves among the finest male/female duos of roots-based contemporary music.

Their approach is more pop-oriented than that of Richard & Linda Thompson, more folk than Buddy & Julie Miller, more rock than Dave Carter & Tracy Grammer, and more tilted toward female vocals than Clive Gregson & Christine Collister. Roll all of that together, and abiding affections for 12-string guitar, Buddy Holly, and a socio-political bent grounded in the ‘60s, and you’re close to zeroing in on the Kennedys’ graceful, uplifting sound.

Long based in the D.C. area, the Kennedys relocated to New York City’s Greenwich Village in the aftermath of September 11. Stand (their sixth studio disc and seventh overall) presents the combo’s passionate folk-rock in a light that is at once more stylistically diverse, less linear and more emotionally focused.

Everything clicks on this understated, literate, elegant beauty. Just two of the twelve tracks are covers -- the Nields’ sublime “Easy People” and the closing send-off of the late Dave Carter’s spiritually-charged “When I Go”. But it’s the slinky, inspired title track, with its sublime incorporation of Curtis Mayfield’s “People Get Ready”, that covers the cost (and then some). -Jim Musser
- No Depression


Discography

River of Fallen Stars (1995 Green Linnet, reissued 2003, Varese Vintage) - AAA and Americana radio

Life Is Large (1996 Green Linnet, reissued 2003, Varese Vintage) AAA radio

Angel Fire (1998 Rounder) AAA Radio

Evolver (2000 Rounder/ Zoe) AAA Radio

Positively Live! (2001 Jiffyjam) Folk Radio

Get It Right (2002 Jiffyjam) AAA and Folk Radio

Stand (2003 KOCH) AAA and Folk Radio

Half A Million Miles (2005 Appleseed Recordings) AAA and Folk Radio

Photos

Bio

Pete and Maura Kennedy met at the Continental Club in Austin Texas. In the dark confines of this roots rock sanctuary, they hit it off immediately. Within twenty-four hours, they had written their first song, "Day In and Day Out". Pete was playing lead guitar with Nanci Griffith, and he left town for a gig in Telluride, Colorado, a thousand miles northwest of Austin. After the show, they spoke on the phone and agreed to meet at the equidistant point: Lubbock, Texas. They each drove five hundred miles to celebrate their first date at Buddy Holly's grave, in the windy west Texan cotton town.

There was more cause for celebration when Maura joined Ms. Griffith's band and they set out on an extended tour of the British Isles, opening shows all over England, Ireland, and Scotland. In a dusty little dressing room on the top floor of Dublin's Olympia theatre, they penned the songs that would become their first CD, "River of Fallen Stars". The CD was awarded the "Indie" award in 1995 for "Best Adult Contemporary CD" by the National Association of Independent Record Distributors.

In 1995, the duo hit the road to record their second CD, the ambitious "Life is Large", which wove their talents with those of guests Steve Earle, Kelly Willis, Nils Lofgrin, Roger McGuinn, and the Dixie Hummingbirds. They were nominated once again for the NAIRD Indie award, and the title track became their signature song. Their third CD, Angel Fire, was a largely acoustic, lyric driven collection. The following CD, Evolver, was a big, rocking set that included the power pop "Pick You Up". In 2001, they released "Positively Live!” a live album that captured the blistering guitar jams and rocking vibe that set them apart from other acoustic acts.

The Kennedys are comfortable in a variety of styles ranging from roots rock to soulful acoustic pop, and they write books and produce videos when they’re not igniting incendiary Gretsch jams, but ultimately it's their chemistry, their love for each other, and their unashamedly idealistic pop vision that has carved them their own niche onstage and in the studio.

The Kennedys latest release, Stand, is yet another superb work of unpretentious, finely crafted folk/pop. Joyful eclectics, The Kennedys salute all genres past and present, trampling over musical boundaries in their search for the perfect hook.

The first track, “Dharma Café” is an ode to your favorite boho coffeehouse, the kind of place where you wrap your hands around a cup of non-corporate espresso and wait your turn on open mic nite. “Raindrop” is a road trip to sunshiny California: it sounds like a lost outtake from “Smile”. The guitars ring like bells, but if angels dance on the high E string, devils lurk on the low one. “Ashes and Sand” and its dark twin, “Don’t Hold Your Breath” are moody ruminations on betrayal and mortality. And have you heard the news? “Sincere” is back in the pop music lexicon. There is, in fact, joy in The Kennedys’ music, and also a measure of pathos. There are, in places, moments of revelation committed to tape. This is all part of what they do, day in and day out, and the title track, “Stand” brings it all home. A call for social, political, and, above all, spiritual tolerance, this is as close as pop comes to a new kind of panoramic gospel.

Look for their upcoming CD, "Half A Million Miles" (Appleseed Recordings), in stores August 23, 2005