Pete and Maura Kennedy have been a touring folk/pop duo for about 20 years. Although they haven't lived here in a while, Pete has roots in the DC area and their shows at Jammin Java always feel like a sort of homecoming. They're also good people who really LOVE music of all kinds! I've played with them a few times around the Northeast. I did a short interview with them this week - check it out!
I followed your recent tour of the UK a bit on Facebook. There seems to be an audience there that is really receptive to American folk and country music. How was it? Had you been there before?
A) We have been to the UK a number of times, but always as Nanci Griffith's support act and backing band, so to tour on our own was a new level, and really great. The idea that they really know and love american music is totally true.
I know that working, traveling, performing and being in business with family can be the best but also challenging at times! How have you guys managed to make it work 20+ years? Any words of wisdom?
A) Well, we started with the same mutual goal in mind; to play for an audience at every possible chance, and to write songs that would give them a combination of lyrical substance and fun, with a lot of energy. We've stuck to that goal over a dozen CDs now.
What is your writing process like?
A) We deliberately change it from album to album, so that we won't fall into a rut. We both write words, or music, individually or together, and many songs come from one person starting an idea and then playing it for the other. That's fun, because neither one is responsible for coming up with a finished song! Those seem to be the best ones, the collaborations.
What motivates you as artists?
A) My Dad's last words to us, in the hospital were, "Help the people. You've got to help the people". Whether we are addressing a specific social concern, a friend in need of help or if we're just having fun and rocking out, we both believe that music does help people. It makes them forget their troubles for two hours, and they might leave the show feeling a little more confident and optimistic than when they came in off the street.
If you guys hadn't been professional musicians, what do you think you might have been?
A) Neither one of us ever considered anything else. I feel like we really got away with something!
What's next for The Kennedys?
A) We are rapidly expanding our territory over the next two years to bring in the UK again, Western Europe and Scandinavia, and we are strengthening our circuit in the Southeast, Midwest, and West Coast. if we can find more venues like Jammin' Java, that's a good thing!