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Shepherd's Bush Empire, London
25 July 2012
The Kennedys, a husband and wife duo consisting of Pete on
guitar/backing vocals and Maura on vocals/acoustic guitar, have released
eleven albums to date although they have not really had a big push here
in the UK to date.
set to change with their new album 'Closer Than You Know' due in October
and they play most of tonight's set from said album. Their songs take in
acoustic folk ('Winter'), Americana ('Rhyme and Reason') and lovingly
crafted acoustic pop ('I'll Come Over').
earlier albums they did 'The Midnight Ghost' before Nanci Griffith
joined them for a rousing version of the Monkees' 'Daydream Believer'.
For a duo they cover so many musical avenues and Maura has a strong,
decent exposure on say BBC radio 2 and the Bob Harris show, the Kennedys
have the songs to get them noticed and become much better known, which
is the least they deserve based on tonight's highly enjoyable set.
Nanci Griffith takes to the stage (a homely set with chairs and
two standard lamps) to rapturous applause. She is joined by the Kennedys
(with Pete also playing bass and soloing that would impress Rush's Geddy
Lee I am sure!) and her long time percussionist Pat McInerney.
I am not
normally a big fan of country in its traditional form but Americana and
someone like Nanci Griffith, who adds folk and bluegrass to her music,
made this a great evening of music.
suffering still from recent surgery on her left hand but her voice was
in fine from, none more so than on John Prine's 'Speed of the Sound of
Loneliness' and the moving 'The Loving Kind'.
Throughout the set she interspersed the songs with either stories behind
the songs or the songwriters plus insights into her family life.
plenty of homely humour like the story 'Bethlehem Steel' of her new
album 'Intersection' and at what point in the film 'The Deerhunter' you
can see Robert de Niro streak down the main street.
moments too on 'Simple Life', penned with Elizabeth Cook as the song
covers her mother's death from Lou Gehrig's disease. Nanci was keen to
see this disease, for which there is currently no cure, gain more
recognition in the hope further research could be carried out into
causes and possible cures.
Plenty of older songs to keep the long-time fans happy with 'Across the
Great Divide', 'Tequila after Midnight' and 'Listen to the Radio',
although sadly tonight no 'From A Distance'.
Brothers, two burly looking chaps, were brought on to provide hand claps
to 'Hell No (I'm Not Alright)' the much-publicized, quasi-political
anthem adopted by the Wall Street protesters. It is one of the more
upbeat songs on the new album and with a strong, instant chorus no
wonder it was picked up so quickly as an anthem.
After tonight's performance you can see why Nanci Griffith is loved by
her fans and gains the plaudits from her peers as she effortlessly
entertained us for over ninety minutes. Even if like me you're not a
massive country fan do get along to see Nanci Griffith perform and also
make sure you check out the excellent sounds of the Kennedys..
Album review (The Kennedys)
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