Bap Kennedy is to perform at Ranfurly Arts Centre, Dungannon on Mon 21 Apr 2014
Address 26 Market Square, Dungannon BT70 1AB
Click here to contact Ranfurly Arts Centre
Ticket link to follow
Holywood gig postponed
Apologies to those who were looking forward to see Bap play in Holywood in April. Unfortunately the venue was double booked so the event has had to be postponed.
All tickets will be fully refunded or will be valid for a new date TBC - (probably December)
Click here to check other upcoming gig dates
Valentine's Day in The Sun !
The one-time purveyor of post punk mayhem in The Energy Orchard has long been bracketed in the box marked "Americana" for his solo work. As the title suggests, the Northern Irishman's latest effort does feel like a fresh start, as it bottles up some of the old, er, energy!
This is most obvious on the fizzling, fiddle-laced Revelation Blues, while the title track suggests a man finding happiness with his "true love"
Bap Kennedy has been making albums for the best part of 25 years, and on this evidence there is still plenty left in the tank!
FROM BUSCADERO - ITALY
Review from prestigious Italian music magazine BUSCADERO.
Translated by Corrado Ori Tanzi :
Since when in 1996 Martin “Bap” Kennedy brought to an end his adventure with Energy Orchard, whose first albums we appreciated so much, we can declare without a chance to be denied, that in his songwriting he always went in search of a quality that, step by step, has grown to lead him to his fifth studio album, Sailor’s Revenge (2011), dry run of “little masterpiece”. The whole of it is the result both of a natural talent gift and of important attendances and collaborations (Steve Earle, Mark Knopfler, Van Morrison above all and in that case it was Knopfler to give strength to the arrangements and to enhance them with the touch of his guitar).
Bap’s voice is the first of the two assets that make him a complete artist, a lethal weapon. As a matter of fact his soft and compelling intonation “pierces” the caressing melodies (and in this latest disk we can find many of them), in the long-term it gets underneath the skin and then it’s impossible to get along without the company of the irish artist.
Let’s Start Again, this is the second asset, is an album with eleven little pearls, maybe even better than the ones in Sailor’s Revenge, as far as the writing is concerned. It’s difficult to chose from the bunch, because Mr Kennedy passes throughout the music genres with a great facility, just like a knife through the butter, succeeding in giving the whole album an enviable compactness. Maybe also because the band accompanies with tact, no member tries to stand out, everything runs well-rounded. And yet the equipment’s rich and works in an unison way even in those apparently less radiant tracks just as Revelation Blues, that distantly reminds some stuff from the Orchard’s period or the gloomy, terrific Radio Waves with its slow tempo, the sha la la la chorus and a pedal steel that plays with the acoustic guitar and the organ, King Mexico and Fool’s Paradise with their Caribbean taste (the first one in particular would be the joy of Jimmy Buffett), the blues-country of If Things Don’t Change, the swing in Heart Trouble (the backing vocal arrangement created as a counterpoint is astounding) sound like the “Van Morrison american period” so deeply.
There’s time and space to refer about a very sweet, fantastic Song Of Her Desire that clearly explains the talent of this superb irish artist as far as the writing is concerned. Among various musicians which give their best contribution we refer first of all Brenda Boyd, Bap’s wife, able to create beautiful vocal harmonies and on the bass, John Fitzpatrick on fiddle, Gordy McAllister on electric guitars but the list should go on because everyone plays an important role to achieve a result that makes it up with music.
This is an album that must be listened to various times before matching it on the kennedyan ranking. It’ll spread around your heart and be sure it’ll be a sweet knock out, maybe it won’t be considered as great as its predecessor, that got a remarkable production, but here you can find “the songs” and this will be rally important to give it the right score it deserves.
“In your heart you must know, the time has come and gone, let it go” sings Bap in the last track greeting us. Last but not least it’s time to signal that, just like happened with the previous album, the beautiful Deluxe Edition contains a second CD best that picks up eleven tracks taken from his solo albums and in addition two acoustic and unreleased before versions of Jimmy Sanchez and Please Return to Jesus
Translation by Corrado Ori Tanzi
JUST LIKE STARTING OVER
Ahead of his acclaimed new record, Bap Kennedy on his punk past and jamming with his brother Brian
Joe Giltrapp's interview with Bap Kennedy in The Irish Post :
SINGER/SONGWRITER Bap Kennedy is a man that has drawn hard on his upbringing on Belfast’s Falls Road and Andersonstown areas. For a time he left his home country for the bright lights of London and all that that brought. There, he formed a band in the mid-eighties, Energy Orchard, who had a successful innings although major mainstream success eluded them.
They were discovered by Steve Earle, who heard them at The Marquee and helped them secure a record deal with MCA. They ended up touring America and Canada with him. The band split in 1997 and Bap, who was the main songwriter in the band, decided to concentrate on a solo career.
Now older, and doubtlessly wiser, Bap has since returned to life in the North of Ireland. It is apt that his new album is titled Let's Start Again and it is around its forthcoming release that we spoke...
So Bap, let's start right at the beginning. Your real name is Martin; where did the nickname ‘Bap’ come from?
Well, it was cool to be called Bap when I was about nine. In Belfast there were a few bakeries and one of the well-known ones was Kennedy's Bakery, so there were a plethora of Baps about. The name kind of died; there are still a few Baps around though I think I'm the only one in the music business.
What first got you into music?
I have an uncle who is about 10 years older than me. When I was about 10 or 11 he was listening to The Rolling Stones and Van Morrison – the really good stuff – and he was my window into that world. I suppose punk-rock really got me going in so far as, not only being able to appreciate music, but to make music. That was a big revelation. I started off in a punk band when I was 16. That was the first time I realised you could just get a guitar, a couple of guys together and bash out a few songs and girls would be interested.
What was your first guitar?
I got an electric guitar. It was like it was made up of spare parts — cost me a tenner and was the worst-sounding thing you ever heard. I've never seen one since — they might have only made one and dumped the blueprint. It was a piece of rubbish, but it got me going.
Any memories of your first gig?
It was a punk band called Sellout. We knew some guys in a local band who'd had a support slot come up, so we decided to form a band the day before the gig — as you do. Our drummer had just bought a set of drums from someone and he didn't even know which ones to hit. It was like performance art more than music. We were terrible. I went back to the same club a few years later with a better band, but the guy wouldn't let me play because he remembered me from that first gig.
How did your previous band Energy Orchard come about?
There were a few bands before that, but there were guys from three different bands that all ended up in London at the same time (1985) looking for a band; six of us got together and formed Energy Orchard.
Famously the great Steve Earle discovered you. How did he enter the picture?
He had always been a great supporter of the band, but he disappeared off the scene and had his own problems. I actually thought he was dead. He ended up in prison and rehab. When he made his comeback l was just about finishing up with the band because we felt we had taken it as far as we could. A couple of people Steve knew got in touch with me and I ended up with him in Nashville making a record.
That was quite an experience I imagine?
It was fantastic. You don't realise how amazing it was until you look back on it. I didn't know half the guys there. People like Peter Rowan and Jerry Douglas — I had no idea who they were. Imagine if I was making that record again and trying to get those guys and all the other people who were involved.
How did you come to record with Mark Knopﬂer?
That's the music business. You are stumbling along and whenever you make a record you have no idea where it will end up. Mine ended up on Mark Knopfler's iPod. He wanted to find out about me so he got in touch. I ended up touring with him and made the album The Sailors Revenge, which he produced and played on. It was a brilliant experience and great validation from someone like him who is so well respected. He is very into the Celtic thing and when we made that record we were going for that Celtic melancholic vibe.
So what prompted your move back to Ireland?
l think l went to London to get the money to go to America, but ended up staying in London for a long time. I never thought I'd go back to Belfast, but I started thinking I'd had enough of London. It's a buzzing place and there is always something happening, but after 20 years I just wanted something else. I'd been back and forward to Belfast and seen the changes and I wanted to re-connect with family. I just wanted to go home. I've been back about eight years now and it just feels natural.
Do you see much of your brother Brian these days? I would love to hear you do a record together.
Any particular song in mind? I'm always looking for new ideas. We played in some bands together way back, but he does his own thing and I do mine.
What are your plans for the future?
I have a lot of stuff coming up, starting in March. We tend to go away a lot — Italy. Holland, Norway and so on and we are expecting to do a lot more of that. My wife Brenda is the bass player in the band, so it's our lifestyle with no worries about long separations. She is very enthusiastic so it rubs off on me and I'm really enjoying it.
REVIEW OF BAP KENNEDY'S ALBUM "LET'S START AGAIN" from Americana UK:
Bap Kennedy is one of those artists who has, over the years, won the hearts and minds of fellow musicians, critics and a dedicated band of followers who eagerly await each of his releases. Although he started off with Celtic rockers Energy Orchard he firmly nailed his colours to the Americana mast with his first solo album, Domestic Blues which was recorded in Nashville under the auspices of Steve Earle, producer. Since then Kennedy has wavered somewhat between his roots and his affinity towards the new world with his previous release ('The Sailor's Revenge') tilted towards the Celtic end. For 'Let's Start Again', he's attempted to bridge the Atlantic by recording a bunch of songs very much in the Americana vein in his native Ulster with local musicians (including his wife Brenda and touring members of his band Gordy McAllister on guitar and Rabb Bennett on drums).
The album kicks off strongly with the title song featuring some fine harmonies from Brenda Kennedy and a gentle country vibe from the band with soothing keyboard, rippling mandolin and sneaky Dobro. 'Revelation Blues' is a fine roots rocker with fiery fiddle over a pell mell rhythm that packs a punch. So far so good, but Kennedy ups the ante with the excellent honky tonk blues of 'If Things Don't Change' with some nice fat pedal steel beefing up the sound. King Of Mexico should be a winner as Bap goes south for some sunny sounds and there's no doubt that it's well delivered with accordion and mariachi type guitar picking but its initial similarity to a laid back 'La Bamba' and the lack of grit makes for a tourist advert rather than the reality of life down there. Kennedy recovers with the double whammy of 'Song Of Her Desire', a yearning love song with some fine Dobro playing and 'Radio Waves' which revisits border territory and can be a considered a close cousin to Dave Alvin's Border Radio. From here on in it's somewhat akin to listening to a juke joint jukebox with 'Heart Trouble' offering some Western swing. 'Strange Kid' borrowing from Robert Johnston's 'Four Until Late' and giving it a country lick while 'Fool's Paradise' takes us back into the Mexican tourist brochure.
The final song, 'Let It Go' is a return to form; border tinged but with some grit and earthiness, groovy keyboard, swinging fiddle and spiky guitar it recalls the spirit of Doug Sahm and that's something Kennedy can be proud of.
The review copy we received was a limited edition double album with the second CD a collection of songs from Kennedy's solo career. It adds a couple of quid on the price but for collectors and beginners to his music well worth a punt.
Click here to access on review site
"Verklankt hij die dromen" (NETHERLANDS)
(Dreams set to music)
The following is the text of a review from Written In Music of Bap Kennedy's album "Let's Start Again" (in the original Dutch).
De titel Let’s Start Again lijkt meer dan accuraat voor een nieuw album van Bap Kennedy. Nadat de uit Belfast afkomstige Kennedy, 51 inmiddels, in de jaren tachtig en negentig new wave-achtige rock liet horen in de band Energy Orchard, en zich op de steun van Van Morrison mocht verheugen, hield de groep het na een paar toch voor gezien. Een echte doorbraak kwam immers maar niet.
Zodra Kennedy op eigen benen kwam te staan, kwam er bericht uit de VS. Behalve de Ier Van Morrison bleek er ook aan de overkant van de Atlantische Oceaan een beroemde fan te wonen, Steve Earle. Hij noemde Kennedy later ‘de beste songschrijver die ik ooit zag’. Dat talent manifesteert zich in de jaren van 1998 tot nu in een reeks albums die telkens een andere kant van Kennedy laten zien. Of, zoals je het een kritischer standpunt ook kunt zeggen: Kennedy heeft wat moeite één richting te kiezen. Zo neemt hij een album met Hank Williams-covers op, een zelfgeschreven album met songs in de stijl van Elvis Presley en Hank Williams en twee platen in samenwerking met producer/gitarist Mark Knopfler. De laatste drukt een stevig stempel op het geluid van Kennedy’s voorlaatste album The Sailor’s Revenge.
Zijn nieuwste plaat is weer eens opgenomen in thuisland Ierland en Kennedy wordt erop begeleid door zijn vaste tourband, waarin sinds 2005 ook zijn vrouw Brenda zit. Haar vocalen vormen een belangrijk bestanddeel van het openings- en titelnummer. Hoe ouder je wordt, hoe moeilijk het is opnieuw te beginnen. Maar het kan nog wel, zingen Bap en Brenda samen, omdat ze weten dat het over hen gaat. Met Radio Waves, dat gaat over het schrijven van een toegankelijke hit, lijkt Kennedy zowaar datgene gedaan te hebben wat hij in de tekst beschrijft.
Idool Elvis komt twee keer voorbij, in If Things Don’t Change, dat gaat over het gevoel als jongere opgesloten te zitten in Belfast, verwijst Kennedy muzikaal naar Elvis’ postume hit Way Down uit 1977. Het is niet het meest memorabele Elvis-nummer, ook niet van Kennedy. Heart Trouble slaat de spijker meer op de kop: stel je toch eens voor dat ik had kunnen werken in de Brill Building, een deur verder dan Leiber en Stoller. En stel je voor dat Elvis dan langskwam bij Jerry en Mike en mij dit nummer hoorde spelen…
Op je 51ste mag je nog dromen hebben. Sterker nog, moet je nog dromen, stelt Bap Kennedy met dit album. Op het eerste gehoor verklankt hij die dromen niet in elk nummer even spannend, maar het geheim van dit album verraadt zich nog niet bij eerste beluistering.
Written In Music (Netherlands)
(Bap Kennedy - Europe's foremost ambassador for contemporary American music folklore)
The following is the original text of Norwegian review of Bap's Let's Start Again
Den 3. Februar 1959 vil for alltid være en merkedag i musikkhistorien. Faktisk dagen musikken døde, intet mindre. I alle fall i følge Don McLean. Vi snakker selvsagt om flytragedien der Buddy Holly, Richie Valens og Jiles «The Big Bopper» Richardson alle omkom. Den magre trøst i den sammenheng får være at Waylon Jennings overlevde. Som kjent fordi han på ekte gentlemans manér overlot sin reserverte plass på samme flyvning til den influensaplagede og siste av de foran nevnte.
Man tenker derfor sitt når en av samtidens mest begavede komponister og utøvere av klassisk americana-musikk slipper sitt åttende underverk nøyaktig på dagen 55 år senere. Tittelen på albumet bærer til alt overmål tittelen «Let's Start Again».
Inntil videre får vi tro akkurat den biten er et tilfeldig sammentreff. Skjønt opphavsmannen selv i lett kryptiske vendinger sender oss en personlig hilsen med den klargjørende opplysning om at «intet i universet er tilfeldig, det kommuniserer med oss gjennom en liten ire som medium»!
Den føles uansett vital den musikk som hentes opp fra rillene i 12'' glinsende, svart og jomfruelig vinyl, som de siste dagene har fått tung rotasjon hjemme i undertegnedes private gemakker. Nå har tross alt nettopp slikt også vært tilfelle med de syv foregående opus fra den uhyre oppegående låtmagiker fra Belfast, slik det også var i hans tid som frontmann i Energy Orchard. Et noe mer poprock-orientert orkester som oppnådde betydelig kultstatus i svingende London på nittitallet, ikke minst takket være sine live-opptredener på metropolens klubbscene.
Opp gjennom hele solokarrieren har Bap Kennedy samarbeidet tett med mange av samtidens største dignitærer, spesielt fra countrysjangeren. Det globalt skamroste, men her på berget pinlig oversette «A Sailors Revenge», var jo - bare som eksempel - tilgodestt med bistand fra Mark Knopfler, både som produsent og gitarist. Steve Earle har jo også helt siden London-dagene vært en fast støttespiller, og blandt mere produsert de to første av Kennedys soloutgivelser. Ingen av disse kara er involvert i «Lets Start Again», hvor Kennedy selv i tospann med Mudd Wallace har vært å finne bak miksepulten.
Muligens er ikke navnene linket til det ferske opus spesielt familiære for de aller fleste. Men ingen grunn til bekymnring. Vi vet Bap Kennedy går for kvalitet når han plukker sine våpendragere. Alle som var heldige nok til å få med seg en eller flere av de tre konsertene Bap Kennedy Trio gav i Norge sist høst vet nok hva jeg snakker om, for aldri noensinne har undertegnede fått servert mer inspirerende og medrivende gitarspill enn hva Gordy McAllister leverte fra scenen de aktuelle kveldene. For ikke å snakke om innlevelsen og samspillet trioen imellom. Og selve spillehumøret, like lett å verge seg mot, som et ebolavirusutbrudd i et japansk rushtidstog.
Utrolig nok er bidragene fra samme McAllister på «Let's Start Again» aller første gang denne sanne virtous kan høres på lagret, fysisk format. Til daglig har han stort sett livnært seg som gitarinstruktør, i tillegg til å spille nyere og eldre blues og andre folketoner rundt på sin mer loksale pub- og musikklubbscene. Det sier egentlig alt om hvilken bunnløs brønn av kvalitetsmusikere den grønne øya har å øse fra. Jeg har faktisk selv, helt tilfeldig, overvært en kveld med McAllister som husmusikant i en av Belfasts mer kjente etablissementer av sådan karakter. Også den gang var hans gitarspill frapperende og briljant. Jeg ante selvsagt ikke den gang, at jeg noen få år senere skulle få oppleve han i Oslo.
Nå er det selvsagt ikke å forvente at all nerve og intensitet lar seg gjenskape på et lagret medium. Gjenhøret med McAllister på plate er likevel hjertelig. Kanskje kunne jeg ønsket han fikk litt mer boltringsplass enn det han her har fått. Men det er Bap Kennedy som er sjefen, og vet hva han driver med. Innspillingen ellers låter absolutt organisk. Så er det også en klar overvekt av akustiske instrumenter involvert i denne produksjonen. Å kalle det hele utpreget audiofilt, vil dog være å ta litt vel i.
Baps kone Brenda trakterer også her sin elektriske Fender Bass. Det eneste noe utradisjonelle element i albumets totale orkestrering er enkelte innslag av orgel,som forøvrig bidrar til å gi en dæsj gospel-feeling. Det er også en glede å kunne rapportere at Bap Kennedy er en sanger i fortsatt utvikling, som her varierer i fraseringene på en mer dristig måte enn noen gang tidligere. I tilleg er som vanlig timingen direkte uangripelig.
Tar vi for oss albumtittel og tittelkuttets tekst tenker man kanskje først og fremst på et tradisjonelt mellommenneskelig parforhold. Men det blir nok noe forenklet. Ikke at teksten ikke kan fungere på den måten, men vi aner selvsagt en dobbel bunn her også. Denne teksten – som mange av de øvrige – gir meg inntrykk av en mann som har kommet til et kritisk punkt i livet. På tide å oppsummere. Godta det som har vært, og legge det bak seg. Død og begravet. Gjort er gjort. På tide å rette blikket fremover og ha et fokus. Det er tross alt begrenset med tid igjen. Noe som kanskje understrekes ytterligere i avsluttende «Let It Go», med linjer som «Even God can't change the past».
Generelt kan noen av tekstene her også tolkes som angreskrift eller bønn om tilgivelse. Ikke minst «Song Of Her Desire», som med linjene «Baby I didn't see the time, and I wasted years that where not mine, I can hardly beleive my eyes at the things I missed, or let slip by». men nå har innsett at det er ved røttene han hører hjemme. Eller En mulig metafor for Kennedys personlige forhold og følelser i forhold til Belfast by, som han i mange år var borte fra.
En by som alle vet har en meget spesiell historie, som mange regelrett rømte fra. Dog har aldri Kennedy hensunket til å dra noen billige, sekteriske poenger ut av den, slik andre jeg neppe trenger nevne navnet til har gjort på dety mest skamløse vis. Bap Kennedy har nok aldri sett seg selv som et produkt eller offer av «the troubles», selv om han er født og oppvokst midt i hele konfliktens absolutte geografiske episenter, Falls Road.
I «Fools Paradise» er det ytterste laget en enkel fortelling om en som har funnet dama i sitt liv etter flere år som ubekymret ungkar. Mon tro det ikke også beskriver en musiker som på narrens bekymringsløse vis har prøvd livet som popstjerne, før han finner tilbake til sine sanne musikalske røtter. Eller igjen byen og folka der han hører hjemme. Hvem vet?
Han virker dog andre steder underveis også ganske direkte og rett frem. Som for eksempel i «Radio Waves», en hymne som lovpriser fenomenet radiobølger, som med lysets hastighet kan bringe stemmen hans like ut i verdensrommet. Kanskje sitter noen i en fjern galakse og hører på han nå? Han viser i samme låt at han fortsatt er ytterst tilstede i egen tilværelse, med verset «I've fallen in love, but I think I'm over the worst. Music can save you, but it might try to kill you first». Det er all grunn til å tro Bap vet hva han snakker om her.
Skal jeg trekke en overordnet konklusjon over albumets tematikk, må det bli historien om en mann som endelig har funnet sin ankerplass i livet. Både kulturelt, emosjonelt og geografisk.
Det får ellers bli opp til hver enkelt å gjøre sine respektive tolkninger av de på sedvanlig Kennedy-vis velformulerte tekster. Han har en formidabel evne til å styre unna den mest opplagte klisjẽbruk. Ikke ulikt grunnmassen Kennedys musikk er modellert av, er tekstenes oppbygning en fint avstemt blend av bluesens effektive minimalisme, countryens jordnærhet, og folkloristisk spiritualistiske tilnærminger.
Vi finner i hovedsak to fellesnevnere for låmaterialet på «Let's Start Again». De har alle 11 sine røtter i det nordamerikanske kontinent, og samtlige ført i pennen av Kennedy selv.
Med «Let's Start Again» har dermed Kennedy tatt steget tilbake til der han startet sin solokarriere, Det tilsier klassisk americana i diverse regionale varianter. Som samtidig like forbannet er forbundet med hverandre og all annen folkemusikk. Kennedy har ikke forsølt å finne opp kruttet på nytt denne gangen heller. Det trengs heller ikke, da det er mer enn nok sprengkraft igjen i denne sjangeren. En sjanger som har vist seg usedvanlig slitesterk
Ikke dermed sagt at Kennedy ikke har sitt sin egen signatur på verket. Riktignok er alle de keltiske elementene som ga «A Sailors Revenge» sitt særpreg totalt utelatt. Det som er igjen av Belfast, er dialekten, som et trenet øre kan detektere flere steder underveis. Selv om dette er albumet er solid fundamentert i den amerikanske tradisjonen, hører vi innimellom nyanser også fra denne siden atlanteren. Det er som Stetson er bytta med sixpence. Buffalo bytta med Dr Martens,
Hovedkjernen er uansett country, kledd i tidens produksjonsdrakt. Det hele åpner altså med tittellåta, en relativt rolig affære, som sleper seg fremover, glidene på et mykt lag av lapsteel under støvlene. «Revelation Blues», med sitt gospelrefreng og drivende bluegrasstempo skrur tempoet et knepp opp, men holder dansefoten i ro. Et djevelsk barn, med direkte blodlinjer til både Johnny Cash og David Eugene Edwards. Albumets mest illevarslende tekst bare bygger opp under en gotisk grunnstemning.
Til tross for trist tittel, atskillig lysere i «Heart Trouble», en ekte Texas swing-stomp, hvis note- og tekstark meget vel kan stamme fra et innbrudd i en blå Cadillac, parkert på veiskulderen et sted langs Oak Hill, West Virginia, nyttårs morgen 1953. Enda mer honky tonk i påfølgende «If Things Don't Change», hvor Kennedy likegodt har rappa hele doningen og kjørt en svipptur over til Bakersfield. Derfra er turen relativt kort over grensa til Mexico og «Fools Paradise». Og slik fortsetter det nordover igjen til bensintanken går tom sånn omtrent ved 116 5th Avenue, Nashville. Med nevnte «Let It Go» i bedagelig valsetakt sivende ut fra Rymans, kan vi vanskelig konkludere annerledes enn at hele turen med Bap bak rattet har vært en svært så inspirerende reise. Og det på første klasse.
Med «Let's Start Again» befester Bap Kennedy sin posisjon som Europas fremste ambassadør for moderne amerikansk musikkfolklore.
Bap's new album Let's Start Again has entered the EuroAmericana chart at No. 3
Let's Start Again has just come out on Proper Records Ltd.
Click here to order Let's Start Again
(All songs composed with taste, forming a virtuous chain to listen to start to finish)
The following is a translation (By Google!) of an Italian review from prestigious music publication Popolo Del Blues
Bap Kennedy has taken a lot of satisfaction in their professional life. The collaborations with Van Morrison, Mark Knopfler, Steve Earle over the inclusion of his song (Moonlight Kiss) in the movie Serendipity with John Cusack. Not bad for the Belfast Northern Ireland who arrived at his sixth album of his own material. Songs, those of Let's Start Again, which refer to the lesson of the American style in all its facets. A hard thinking written in Nashville, Austin, and all the places for good music overseas. From the song that gives title to the album, almost a declaration of intent, to the blues of If Things do not Change, the country ballad of Radio Waves, the swing of Heart Trouble, the tex mex Fool's Paradise. All songs composed with taste, forming a virtuous chain to listen to from beginning to end.Maybe "on the road" in the CD player of the car. Or maybe even for long trips, since the deluxe edition contains a second disc of the same characteristics and the same quality.
Click here to read on the review site in the original Italian
Belfast singer-songwriter Bap Kennedy has been famous there for many years,
having recorded many acclaimed solo albums over the past decade.
Best known for writing Moonlight Kiss, featured on the soundtrack for the
film Serendipity starring John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale, it looked as though his time had come back in 2005 with the release of the critically-acclaimed Big Picture. A gifted lyricist and singer, Kennedy has veered into a new direction on Let's Start Again, with this batch of songs incorporating Americana, blues and country, to the extent it could have come
straight out of Nashville. The album bristles with excellent compositions, including Revelation Blues, Under My Wing and Fool's Paradise. This is an engaging and mesmerising listen.
The following is the text of a review from Netrhythms:
For his sixth solo album, the Belfast singer-songwriter's taken an upbeat roots approach that swings between the bluesy roll of If Things Don't Change, the relaxed country twang of Radio Waves with its sha la backing vocals and the Western swing of Heart Trouble. Dylan's influence rears its head on the urgent bluesy, fiddle scratched Revelation Blues while the border country flavour of the pedal steel coated Let's Start Again, King of Mexico, Fool's Paradise and Under My Wing summon various echoes of Doug Sahm, the Mavericks and Ry Cooder. The album closes in fine old school country style with wife Brenda's harmonies, John Fitzpatrick's fiddle and Richard Nelson's pedal steel on the waltzing Let It Go, a perfect end to an unassuming but warmly inviting collection from a far too undervalued artist.
Click here to read on the review site
International release dates for Let's Start Again have now been confirmed by Proper Records Ltd. These are as follows:
France – 11th March
Italy – 3rd Feb
USA – 4th March
Canada – 18th Feb
Australia – 21st Feb
New Zealand – 31st Jan
Sweden – 5th Feb
Denmark – 3rd Feb
Norway – 7th Feb
Finland – 7th Feb
Germany – 7th Feb
Benelux – 7th Feb
Spain - To follow
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"Ännu ett lysande album" (Sweden)
Bap's new album has been reviewed in Swedish Music Magazine Rootsy.
The following is the text of the review as translated from Swedish to English (by Google!)
Click here to read on the review site in the original Swedish
Yet another brilliant album from Northern Ireland's own Bap Kennedy.The sixth under his own name since his debut in 1998. He also has five albums as lead singer of Belfast's cult rockers Energy Orchards behind. "Let's Start Again" is the sequel to the fantastic album "The Sailor's Revenge" from 2012. No easy task. The melancholy Celtic move left but here's even more of hope and a fresh start. Certainly there feeling of the dreamy gaze away over the sea there. Longing away somewhere beyond the spotlight. But it turned into songs. The soft warm and pleasant singing voice conveys new love and hopefulness. It starts already in the opening title song "Let's Start Again"
We must deal with the past /And then let it go /Get some distance at last /And peace in your soul /All those years I saw right through /That thin disguise /Oh baby, baby we do not have much time
Then followed the loving insight into "Song Of Her Desire":
Baby I did not see the time /And I wasted years /That were not mine /I can hardly believe my eyes /At the things I missed /Or let slip by /But I can make the flames dance in the fire /And I can sing the song of her desire
For self realization and the flashbacks will come in mirror image »Strange Kid", which also connects back to an earlier album by Bap, "Lonely Street":
So long, goodbye /I'm moving up the ladder /And I hope that I am going somewhere better /But I'm pretty sure I'll be /On another lonely street /And when I look in the mirror I can see /Some strange kid /Looking back at me /Some strange kid /That's what I see
"Fool's Paradise" is a declaration of love for wife Brenda Boyd Kennedy, now part of Baps band and plays bass and sings harmonies.
I was happy once /Maybe it was twice /Baby Way Back When /In my fool's paradise /Then you came along /And opened my eyes /Now there's no return /To my fool's paradise
"Let's Start Again" was recorded in Northern Ireland, but is not particularly influenced by the NI sound and its folk. Here are rather so many other things from many different musical traditions, decades and continents. Country, blues, folk, western swing, pop, Texas border music and Latin American noises nedkokat to americana where artists like Ry Cooder, Tom Russell and John Hiatt are intermingled with Van Morrison, Bruce Springsteen, Nick Lowe and Ronnie Lane's Slim Chance. "Heart Trouble" from the 50s western swing mixed with rockabilly, "Radio Waves" a popcountry and "King of Mexico" with his accordion from John McCullough, from really anytime. Much is timeless when Bap Kennedy restarts. There's something to be said about each of the eleven songs. Bap shows once again that he is a brilliant composer and text nick loader. A narrator of death. In addition to what has been said earlier, I want to further describe the grandeur of some of the songs that I especially like. It is a little faster bluesy Grant in "Revelation Blues" with great banjo from Vinty Gilbert and violin from John Fitzpatrick. It's the boogie woogie melodious »If Things Do not Change" with wonderful slide guitar from the consistently brilliant guitarist Gordy McAllister. And the ending hopeful but slow country roll »Let It Go." Hank Williams smiling in his heaven. With "Let's Start Again« fills Bap Kennedy in his bank of musically exciting and emotionally tingling album. He shows that he belongs among the great Americana artists. He manages to take a broad range of influences and despite their on paper sprawling origin collect them into one big whole. It succeeds only those proficient with. As Bap Kennedy.
Click here to read in the original Swedish
(Perhaps his finest album to date)
Bap's new album Let's Start Again has been reviewed and awarded 4 stars by Control Alt Country.
The text of the review is as follows as translated from Dutch to English (by Google!)
Click here to read on the review site in the original Dutch
The Northern Irishman Bap Kennedy is what you call a real hit in the (European ) Americana happen. A real songwriters ' songwriter . Just a pity that so few people still seem to want to understand ... With " Let's Start Again" , have now yet again sixth solo album after his days as leader of rock band Enery Orchard serves Kennedy eleven additional reasons for him as a fan of the genre immediately firmly on the chest press. No reputable fans as Steve Earle or Mark Knopfler nearby to lend a hand to stabbing while this time , but that could not spoil the fun definitely . In a shared production with his buddy Wallace Mudd and with the necessary hand and abetted by quite a few local musical talent Kennedy delivers his perhaps finest album to date off . Americana of the better kind reigns here . Without this even remotely have to work otherwise limiting. Stylistic variation indeed no dearth of " Let's Start Again" . The summer's " King Of Mexico" plays as for example emphatically with Central and South America come naturally to musical influences , " Revelation Blues " and "If Things Do not Change" prove mischievous winks towards country blues , title song "Let's Start Again " is pretty melancholy filled country singer-songwriter and already very fragile -looking " Song Of Her Desire " and "Radio Waves " add on even a modest prize popsensitiviteit to it . "Heart Trouble" then revives a particular infectious Western Swing - interpretation , " Under My Wing " is just a very beautiful, very " seventies sensing " popriedeltje , " Strange Kid" " Americana pur" , " Let It Go " classic skilled slow honky-tonk and " Fool's Paradise " in all its a fake cheerfulness plenty on the sunny side of the late Willy DeVille reminiscent trifle . A good team for that !
"Let's Start Again " which is also available in a "Deluxe Edition" includes bonus CD containing a further football team worthy of "classic Bap recordings" à la "Long Time A Comin ' ," "Be Careful What You Wish For " and " Domestic Blues " . Add especially to your advantage !
Click here to read in the original Dutch
"Sweet album . . . quality record"
Bap's new album Let's Start Again has been reviewed by The Rock Club.
The text of the review is as follows:
This is the sixth solo album from Northern Ireland's Bap Kennedy, and a sweet album it is too.
Ex singer of Belfast rockers, Energy Orchard, Bap has carved out a career as a rootsy, Americana singer / songwriter for some time now. Previous records were recorded both sides of the pond in England and America but this time around, it was back to Northern Ireland to work with local friends and musicians, drummer Rabb Bennett, guitarist, Gordy McAllister and obviously Bap didn't have to travel too far to use the bass playing and harmony talents of his wife Brenda.
Always supported by his peers, Van Morrison, Steve Earle, Mark Knopfler and Shane MacGowan, this time around the album has that hometown intimate feel of just making good music with family and friends.
The styles and pace change over the course of the eleven songs on the record, but the underlying theme remains of quality musicians delivering a quality record and a live show to match no doubt.
Click here to read on the review site.
"Never lets you down"
Bap's new album Let's Start Again has been reviewed in So So Gay (UK's best online LGBT lifestyle magazine)
The text of the review is as follows:
Let's Start Again is the sixth solo studio album of original material from Bap Kennedy. Known for his work with the cult Belfast rockers Energy Orchard, Kennedy's solo work has always been that of a mixed bag of sounds and styles. The most surprising thing about this new album is that it was recorded entirely in Northern Ireland, when it sounds like it has come straight out of Nashville.
Weaving together classic bluesy Americana with good old-fashioned country music, Let's Start Again starts off lightly with the tracks 'Revelation Blues' and the gentle sounding title track 'Let's Start Again'. Although the majority of the songs on this album are rather contemplative and reflective, this never gets you down.
Let's Start Again does contains some feel-good moments, namely 'King Of Mexico' and 'If Things Don't Change'. The former is a south-of-the-border kind of song, but really just diversifies the sound and energy of the record. Other highlights include 'Song Of Her Desire' - a wistfully melodic country love song and 'Heart Trouble' which really kicks off and becomes a successful bluesy jukebox number.
It's a very well-rounded album that accomplishes a lot. Coming from Bap Kennedy, it's really quite a creative album compared to his last album, which was greatly influenced with a Celtic flavour. It symbolises how Kennedy's much loved singer-songwriter characteristics are still on top form. His vocals sound great and the production works well. This is an album that Bap Kennedy fans will be proud of.
Standout tracks: 'King Of Mexico' / 'Song Of Her Desire' / 'Heart Trouble'
Click here to read the review on the website of So So Gay.
(Most versatile album confirming the musician's artistic renaissance)
Let's Start Again has been reviewed in Roots Highway (Italy)
Click here to view in the original Italian. (The following is a (Google!) translation)
The sixth album by Bap Kennedy in fifteen years of solo career, frugal and thoughtful , was released two years after the successful The Sailor 's Revenge, who reported the singer-songwriter originally from Belfast to general attention . If the previous album , recorded in London , profited from the production of Mark Knopfler and the very presence of the guitarist and other musicians of his band , this time Bap returned to recording in Northern Ireland , relying on his old friend Mudd Wallace, with whom he had collaborated in the eighties and using the accompanying band live , composed by his wife Brenda on bass , drummer Rabb Bennett and virtuoso guitarist Gordy McAllister , with the addition of John Mc Cullough keyboards , mandolin Noel Lenaghan and pedal steel by Richard Nelson.
I thought that these choices would have resulted in a disc of ballads steeped in Irish atmosphere in line with the previous year; instead Bap has returned to focus on the matrix of American roots rock sound , while maintaining a low profile and preferring soft colors and tones and moderate , albeit with some soaring rhythmic than The Sailor 's Revenge, which reconciles the previous Domestic Blues ( produced by Steve Earle ) and Lonely Street. Kennedy confirms the quality of writing shy and refined to fit his voice melodic and melancholic and preference for an electro-acoustic sound characterized by the presence of pedal steel , which emerges already in the opener Let's Start Again . The pace grows in bright peasant roots of Revelation Blues, path from the violin by John Fitzpatrick, tempered by a relaxed If Things Do not Change , in which the lap steel carves out a special place . King Of Mexico smells like tex-mex between violin and accordion, while Song Of Her Desire is a sad ballad of crystalline beauty . Radio Waves brings us back to the sixties with a recognizable melody , backing vocals and a guitar in the fifties Duane Eddy , followed dall'honky tonk Texas Heart Trouble, with the bass of Brenda and a violin -style western swing and calypso by swaying Under My Wing , played with proper voice sore by the Irish .
The final part of the disc includes the mid-tempo country rock Strange Kid, the Caribbean Fool's Paradise that invites you to a few dance steps ( always without overdoing it ) and country old style of Let It Go with the backing vocals of his wife and l ' mixture of violin and lap steel that reminds us of the deep attachment of Bap against Hank Williams (remember his tribute album , Hillbilly Shakespeare , a few years ago , nda ) . A most versatile album of the previous year, which confirms the artistic renaissance of the musician, despite being perhaps less inspired writing, published as deluxe single and with a second CD that re- traces of the first solo albums , with the addition of unreleased versions , acoustic Jimmy Sanchez and Please Returt To Jesus , taken from the previous the Sailor's Revenge.
BBC Radio Ulster 5 Feb 2014
Tune in to BBC Radio Ulster this evening (8-10pm)
Songs from Bap's new album will be featured on Ralph McLean's show.
Bap & band will be performing live in store today 4 Feb 2014 to celebrate the release of Bap's new album Let's Start Again
Bap's new album "Let's Start Again" has been released (3 Feb 2014) Reviews coming in internationally are outstanding. They can be viewed on Bap's site.
Let's Start Again has been released by Proper Records Ltd in 3 formats - Standard CD, Deluxe CD (with extra dics) and LP vinyl.
It is available from all good music outlets
Bap & band will be performing at Braid Arts Centre, Ballymena on 18 Apr 2014
Click here for tickets
Blast 106 FM
Bap will be appearing live on Blast 106 FM tomorrow evening.
Tune in from about 8pm
"Mooi - de geweldige vocalen en muzikale ondersteuning" (beautiful-great vocals & musical accompaniment)
Let's Start Again has been reviewed in the Netherlands by Blues Magazine
The following is a translation (by Google!)
Click here to read in the original Dutch
Bap Kennedy has finally left his past as a punk rocker behind. In the 80s and 90s Bap was the lead singer of the band Energy Orchard where many punk and U2 influences were told. In his subsequent solo career, he is quite clearly taken a different path, as evidenced by his performance last year at the Take Root Festival in Groningen, where he was allowed to open the festival. Before a full house
He has a whole series of CD's, most in the audience jumping CDs Domestic Blues, produced by Steve Earle and Sailor's Revenge produced by Mark Knopfler. On the last CD the Irish influences to hear from both Mark Knopfler as well as of Bap itself. On the CD Let's Start Again he strikes again in another way.
When the CD for the first time is in the player, you have a bit of a sense of rippling songs that make little impression, but appearances are deceiving. After listening to a few times is that the numbers are very happy to take root. And merriment matches this rather dark and dreary months of the year.
The album starts with the title track Let's Start Again . The song is about the relationship Bap with his wife Brenda, Brenda which takes stunning vocals for her account. Then comes the song Revelation Blues , the best song of this album. A delicious start with abrasive and then cracking fiddle in tempo to continue. It looks like a cross between Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash. Yet there are also some numbers in that it does not hang like the third song of the album If Thing's Do not Change .
But then again, is a highlight of this album: King Of Mexico . It begins with castanets and a harmonica. And as the title suggests, this song about Mexico: 'This could be my destiny, it's just a dream but I can not wake up. "Very clear to hear Los Lobos' La Bamba. Influences here The song Radio Waves is another one of those days that song stuck in your head. Here are obvious influences hear Greg Troopers We've Still Got Time. During the song Heart Trouble , you get the feeling that you are suddenly landed where a swing / boogie band is playing. 60s in a pub During the song Fools Paradise you feel like you're back in Mexico. The CD concludes with a real country-tearjerker Let It Go .
In summary one can say that again Bap Kennedy has made. Surprising CD This album has multiple sides and styles, is very varied. After a couple of spins is just how beautiful this album is where especially the amazing vocals and musical accompaniment stand out.
Blues Magazine, Netherlands