Album Review: Bap Kennedy – Let's Start Again

A long overdue album review. This release actually happened in January but I have only gotten around to mentioning it on the blog now. Still all good music is timeless anyway…

Bap Kennedy has been featured on the blog before. You can read about his background here. As is mentioned before, Bap is probably one of the longest established americana artists hailing from Irish shores, yet awareness of his output in Ireland, especially south of the border, hasn’t been as common as you might expect.

His new album continues the fine succession of americana-pop releases he has to his name.

‘Let’s Start Again’ gives me an opportunity to hark back to my opinions on americana music. It really is a music genre coming full circle. Just as the Ulster-Scots and Irish brought their traditional music to America in the 18th and 19th century, the sound of americana is travelling back east, encouraging artists to take up the baton this side of the Atlantic. The album is a fusion of those blends of americana and Irish roots.

The album saunters in with the opening title track. I say saunter because this song does not attempt to stop you in your tracks. Instead ‘Let’s Start Again’ aims to slow you down, make you take the weight off your feet and take in the music. The melody allows for the words to sweep across. With that organ shimmering in and out and those mandolin licks, by the end of the song you are settled, ready to soak up the gentle melodies the rest of the album offers.

Bap has assembled a team for this record that includes his wife Brenda Boyd Kennedy, Gordy McAllister, Rabb Bennett, John McCullough, John Fitzpatrick, Noel Lenaghan, Richard Nelson, Trevor Dyer, and Vinty Gilbert. The musicians and vocalists that he has brought together blend seamlessly as a group. This evident on ‘Revolution Blues’. The band sounds fantastic here, each musician has their own part in the song, yet melds perfectly together.

One of my favourites off the record and sadly I am unable to stream it here, is ‘Radio Waves’. The song is a gentle, ambling piece on the universe out there. The lovely backing vocals blend perfectly with the melody underneath to create an understated but still affecting tune.

Indeed the whole album might be described as understated, but in the positive sense of the word. Even though the eleven songs here manage to feature styles from tex-mex (‘King of Mexico’) to straight up gospel country (‘Let It Go’), Bap and the team of musicians here still portray a consistent theme of gentle americana throughout the album, a feat not easy to achieve. It’s the perfect music for your Sunday afternoon relaxing in the sun. As the closing track suggests, Let it Go and simply enjoy.

Bap is currently doing a few gigs mainly in the north. The album (with a few different versions) can be purchased through his website here and on iTunes. You can keep yourself regularly updated on his gigs and that through his Facebook page.
Photo: Bap Kennedy

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