The Kennedys

Koch Records, 2003

REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert


Gotta like love stories. I do. So I think today I'll tell one.

Once upon a time there was a session musician named Pete. Pete, while hanging out at the Continental Club in Austin, Texas, met Maura. Instant karma. Within twenty-four hours they had written a song together, and that's like being practically engaged in some circles.

At any rate, Pete soon left to go to Telluride, Colorado, where he was playing in folk legend Nanci Griffith's band. Maura liked Pete. Maura called Pete after the show. Maura and Pete agreed to meet in Lubbock, Texas, which was halfway between Austin and Telluride (which, incidentally, should show you how damned big Texas is -- but I digress. Pete and Maura went to Buddy Holly's grave for their first date, thereby proving they knew romance when they saw it, and in this case it was made of granite and had Buddy Holly's name spelled right (Holley, of course). From such fairy tale beginnings came the acoustic-guitar-pop duo The Kennedys, who, not incidentally, are a darned fine couple of musicians and the proud momma and poppa of their new CD, my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Stand.

Patently refusing to be considered 'folkies,' The Kennedys are more the kind of singer-songwriters who hang out at open mike nights and coffeehouses. The difference between The Kennedys and most of these people is that the Kennedys have oodles and scads of talent. Chiming guitars and catchy melodies get served up neatly by Maura Kennedy's wonderful, wonderful voice and Pete Kennedy's wistful harmonies. Kennedys' songs get stuck in your head and will not, will not, will not get out, to the point where you will find yourself singing them in the grocery store and getting weird looks because you can only remember half the words. (This would be funny, except that it's true.)

The strength of such music is in the songs, and Stand does not disappoint. We have "Dharma Café," a story of one of those open-mike people with talent; the bright and idealistic "Stand"; "Dance Around In The Rain," a joyous paean to blowing off some steam; the thought-provoking "When I Go"; and the fairy-tale-with-a-twist magic of "Anna And The Magic Gown." By far, however, the crown jewel of what is a pretty high-value set is "Raindrop," a truly elegant condensation of the cycle of life, death, rebirth, and rainfall. (That, in case anyone is concerned, is the one I was singing in Aisle 7.)

On Stand, The Kennedys prove themselves to be some of the best pure musicians -- and magicians -- I've had the privilege to discover in a long time. Don't miss them.

Rating: A

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© 2004 Duke Egbert and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Koch Records, and is used for informational purposes only.