The Kennedys are set to release their first album of all newly minted, original songs in five years.
Songwriting duo Pete and Maura Kennedy make a strong return to the studio and stage after three years of weekly live-streamed, lockdown-era concerts. They took the opportunity to explore classic songwriting in depth, performing over a thousand songs during the pandemic. That vast overview strengthened and refined their own writing and laid the foundation for this new collection of original, socially conscious songs.
“After such a deep dive into American roots music, we felt like we had a new set of writing tools,” says Maura. “We were ready to create this body of work, and there’s just so much to write about. During our five-year hiatus from writing and recording, America changed in massive ways, divisive ways that have shaken our whole foundation. That has to be addressed by creative artists, those of us who have a voice to speak for others. Our love of the great things about this country, things that are under threat, is the reason we decided to make ‘Headwinds’ the title track of the album. Political and social headwinds are making it hard to get back ‘home’ to our greatness as a nation. We want to push back in a positive way against those winds.”
In addition to singing and writing, Pete and Maura are multi-instrumentalists. The 13 songs are cast in a soundscape that draws from the classic canon of American roots, in keeping with the theme of getting back “home” as a nation. Acoustic and electric guitars, a vintage steel guitar, a gospel-inflected piano/organ mix, and even a slide ukulele all add colors to a songbag of sounds that have drawn us together during hard times. Pete and Maura believe that those sounds still have the power to pull us through again.
The Kennedys began their writing and touring life three decades ago as members of Nanci Griffith’s Blue Moon Orchestra, developing their own sound as a frequent support act on Nanci’s tours across America, Ireland, Scotland, and England. Collaborations with Nanci continued, culminating in Pete and Maura producing her final album, Intersections. Along the way, they hosted a nationwide radio program, “The Dharma Café,” on Sirius/XM, wrote and released sixteen albums of original music, and have been core artists on folk radio, expanding their audience further with the inception of the AAA and Americana formats.
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