I can hardly stop playing Songs of the Open Road, the Kennedys ninth CD, nor can I figure how I missed the previous eight! The collection contains powerful renditions of 14 folk-rock classics, including "A Hard Rains A-Gonna Fall" and "Eight Miles High." The couple reinvigorates the romantic American soul as the '50s/'60s folk revival demanded new songs for a new world. They avoid stale nostalgia and imitation by combining their unique talents with verve and vitality.
Surrender! Theres no defense against their take on Dave Carters poignant "Gypsy Rose":
As if aware theyve shattered you, they pick up the pieces and put you back together with Nick Lowes rollicking "Raging Eyes."
Maura Kennedys lead singing, engaging and confident, sounds as if shes feeling her way word by word yet as if she could do these tunes in her sleep. Pete Kennedy plays so many instruments youd think hes afraid to let anyone else near Maura. And its just the two of them, except for one accordion credit. But Pete does a fine job. Variety isnt lacking, but its more in the song selection than in the arrangements. The uniformity gives the pair a distinctive style.
It wouldnt be wrong to say there are muddy moments or that Maura and Petes harmonies sometimes arent perfectly synchronized, but their spontaneity contributes more than perfectionism would. I dont keep close tabs on every CD that comes my way, but this ones going in the safe-deposit box!
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