The following is the text of a review of Bap Kennedy's new album "Let's Start Again" by Fatea :
Let's Start Again' is a bit of a return to his roots for Northern Irishman Bap Kennedy. Having spent many years as a member of Belfast rockers Energy Orchard and spells of recording as a solo artist in England and America, he's returned home to record his new album under the watchful eyes of co-producer Mudd Wallace for whom the country based sound of the album is also a sort of 'coming home' as well - something he's always seen as the natural home for Bap. Coming off the back of some extensive touring with, and also working alongside, Mark Knopfler (who in turn had played and done production work on 'The Sailor's Revenge' album), the record also has much more of an easy and relaxed feel to it following on from the more Celtic ambience of his previous effort.
With a set of backing musicians based around his usual live band -wife Brenda on bass and vocals, guitarist Gordy McAllister and Rab Bennett on drums - there are a number of cameo performances which add the icing to the cake of Kennedy's three minute song showcases. 'Song Of Her Desire' features Richard Nelson's subtle dobro over the shuffling rhythm, while it's John Fitzpatrick's fiddle which also provides the finishing touches to several of Bap's song structures. For anyone seeking a bit of a change of pace from the more tranquil country vibe, check out the Latino flavour of 'King Of Mexico' which delves into a slowed down La Bamba territory along with what seems like its distant musical cousin in 'Fool's Paradise'. For something a bit more driving, there's the uptempo 'Revelation Blues' with Vinty Gilbert's banjo to the fore and then 'Heart Trouble' delves into more of a jazzy area with the fiddle leading again. The album is literally bookended with a couple of lyrically philosophical pieces - both the title track and album closer, 'Let It Go' have that reflective feel about them which comes from a world weariness and show a songwriter in contemplative yet not overly profound mood.
As a bonus for new fans, there's the sweetener of an extra CD of material gathered from his previous 'Domestic Blues', Lonely Street'. Howl On' and 'The Big Picture' albums so it's hard to fault this as a package which exudes excellence in its low key yet high quality songwriting and performance.
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