February 3, 2007
... Songs of the Open Road ...
full house and a rousing evening of great music. Pete and Maura Kennedy treated us to a song they wrote yesterday, which gave Death the Kennedy Treatment. They electrified the house and got two standing ovations, the first as they led us in their anthem Stand and again at the end of a dynamic encompassing round of their music with all joined in, even our open mikers brought to the stage by Maura's invitation in honor of their quality opening of the evening.
he story of Pete and Maura Kennedy’s personal and professional relationship, now in its second decade, is somewhere between fate and a fairytale. How else can you explain a chance meeting in Austin between two East Coast-born musicians that immediately sparked a songwriting collaboration, a first date at Buddy Holly’s grave, an enduring romance, and a creative partnership that radiates warmth, positive energy, and captivating music?
n 1992, Virginia native Pete Kennedy was playing a solo show at Austin’s Continental Club on a brief sabbatical from his duties as country-folk singer-songwriter Nanci Griffith’s lead guitarist when he met former Syracuse, NY, resident Maura Boudreau, enjoying a night off from performing with her own country-rock band, The Delta Rays. The duo “instantly connected on a soul level, or maybe even something deeper,” according to Pete. They wrote their first song together the following day before Pete returned to the road, and rendezvoused ten days later at mutual hero Buddy Holly’s grave in Lubbock, Tex., 500 miles equidistant between them. And that’s how it started . . .
ater, when Griffith needed a harmony singer to replace Iris Dement on short notice for a British tour in Spring ’93, Maura was an obvious choice, and her touring life alongside Pete began. While boarding the plane to England, Nanci informed the duo that they would serve as the opening act for many of the shows on her tour, as well as performing in her backing band. With a need for material to fill their set, Pete and Maura wrote an inspired set of songs in Dublin that would become the basis for their 1995 first album: River of Fallen Stars.
he body of work The Kennedys have created since their 1994 wedding is a reflection of their musical and philosophical influences and experiences separately and as a couple. A child of the ’50s, Pete was compelled to pick up his older sister’s guitar after seeing The Beatles perform on “The Ed Sullivan Show” and was soon absorbing the new sounds of The Byrds and folk-rock. After studying at Boston College, Pete immersed himself in classical and jazz guitar, and later became a session player in the Washington, DC, area. When fellow picker John Jennings took a sabbatical from his role as Mary Chapin Carpenter’s lead guitarist, Pete stepped into his shoes. On a final show with Carpenter in 1991 on Austin City Limits before she took a hiatus for songwriting, Pete sat in with fellow guest Nanci Griffith, was invited to join her band, and accepted.
eanwhile, Maura Boudreau was learning there was more to music than pop when she discovered England’s groundbreaking folk-rock group Fairport Convention, and, most significantly, country-rock singer Emmylou Harris, whose recordings led Maura to the traditional music of Patsy Cline. She subsequently switched from playing others' material to forming the country-oriented Delta Rays and writing her own songs and relocating her band to Austin.
fter several years of touring and recording with Nanci Griffith, the duo seceded amicably from Griffith’s Blue Moon Orchestra and became The Kennedys, recording CDs that encompass their favorite musical styles while incorporating the naturalistic, transcendental and mythological teachings of Joseph Campbell, Eckhart Tolle, Walt Whitman, and various Eastern-oriented philosophers into their songs and lives. Their goal is to live in the moment, appreciating every second of sensation, which imbues their music with a constant sense of wonder and freshness.
s confirmed road warriors and performance addicts, The Kennedys have logged well over 1,000 gigs and half a million miles of touring, bringing their songs and spirit to venues ranging from the prestigious Newport, Falcon Ridge and Kate Wolf music festivals to the most intimate house concerts.
his was an exciting evening of live performance music by exciting talents that we won't soon forget
Praises for their performances:
Link to their web site:
Link to their music clips:
Opening for our show tonight were our featured open mike performers:
Our host this evening was Ira Perlman.