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Pete and Maura Kennedy

The Kennedys

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.

Even though their name is Kennedy, they don't play Irish music, and even
though they wield acoustic guitars (bright orange Gretsch models), they don't play
folk. They have loyal followings in both the pure guitar pop camp and the
singer-songwriter set, and they're known not only as a harmonizing duo, but also
as collectors of vintage clothes, as independent record and video producers,
and as the authors of a newly published book on music video.

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 they¹re
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 world of maverick radio.

The Kennedys new release, Stand, is yet another superb work of unpretentious,
finely crafted 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, "Don¹t 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 Kennedys¹ 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.

 

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