Bap's posthumous album Reckless Heart has received the following insightful review from Paul Kerr (Blabber n Smoke)
Released at the tail end of last year Reckless Heart is Bap Kennedy’s last work. Sadly, he succumbed to cancer on November 1st, shortly before the album release. Over the years since his days in Energy Orchard and then progressing onto a solo career Kennedy built up a reputation as one of Ireland’s finest songwriters marrying Celtic and American influences and although he was younger than peers such as Nick Lowe and Elvis Costello his body of work sits well alongside the likes of theirs. He had celebrity supporters; Steve Earle produced the first solo album and proclaimed him, “the best songwriter I ever saw” and Van Morrison, Shane McGowan and Mark Knopfler all collaborated with him.
Reckless Heart was all but done and dusted when Kennedy fell ill and was diagnosed with a terminal cancer early in 2016 so it’s not an album written by an artist facing up to his own mortality. Instead it’s a fairly joyous celebration of music and life with Kennedy less in thrall to America than he was on his previous release Let’s Start Again and delivering a generous dollop of good time songs with hints of rockabilly and rhythm’n’blues. There’s a deceptive ease to the songs, a measure of the man’s craft. Like Ronnie Lane he has the knack of seeming to be able to casually knock off songs that just hover in the air, all warm and fuzzy and memorable as on the second song here, Good As Gold, a delightful candy flossed gossamer of a song that summons up lazy summer days. The insouciant Help Me Roll It, the Basement Tapes like nonchalance of Reckless Heart and the easy rolling Honky Tonk Baby show a man at ease with his world and on top of his form as he revisits his rock’n’roll roots.
The album opens with the perfection that is Nothing Can Stand In The Way Of Love. Here Kennedy is again in Basement Tape Dylan mode and the band busk in fine fashion as accordion, organ and tasty guitar licks cement the rustic roots feel. I Should Have Said is an introspective love song tinged with regret which, with hindsight, is very moving, suffice to say that Kennedy here sings wonderfully while the arrangement with sensitive burbling bass, stately piano, organ swirls, curling guitar and female harmonies is dynamite. In a similar fashion Henry Antrim is another moving ballad that transports a cantina type melody to the Irish hinterland but Kennedy can kick out as on the rollicking closer It’s Not Me It’s You with its gutbucket guitar solo while Por Favor bursts with a nuevo wavo frenzy recalling the likes of Doug Sahm. The crowning glory however is the sombre The Universe And Me, another song that with hindsight grows in stature. Here Kennedy approaches Dylan’s metaphysical meanderings as he sings,
“There’s no music in money, there’s no money in love, there’s no love in this town tonight but I think I’ll stick around…I live between the stars upon the cosmic sea, And I’m down here all alone, just the universe and me. And I wonder why the sun shines and who taught the birds to sing. You can tell me all the numbers but nobody knows anything.”
It’s a beautiful number and as epigraphs go not a bad one.
Bap Kennedy is survived by his wife Brenda.
Bravely Brenda and Bap maintained a blog detailing his treatment which you can read here.
We are delighted to announce that Bap's final album RECKLESS HEART has been awarded 4 stars from prestigious music publication MOJO
RECKLESS HEART (CD) was released on 2nd December in the UK and Ireland (worldwide shipping available)
The international release date is scheduled for 27th January 2017, and this date will also see a vinyl edition available worldwide.
This announcement is published by bapkennnedy.com
on behalf of
Lonely Street Discs, At The Helm & Last Chance Records.
all of whom have worked together, along with Bap's family, in order to bring about the release of RECKLESS HEART, which Bap had just finished recording before he fell ill.
Click here to Bap’s memory was honoured this evening where he has been announced as the Roll Of Honour recipient at The Aislings ceremony (N Ireland’s Oscars)
The award was accepted by Bap’s step daughter Christine White who posted the following earlier this evening :
What an emotional three days....
On Wednesday we listened to Ralph McLean's special tribute show to Bap Kennedy, & I was especially moved by my mum's heartfelt contribution. Bap would have been so proud of Mum Brenda Boyd Kennedy. She was extremely brave & managed to sum up everything that Bap was about- such a good, kind & loving man.
Last night we had the pleasure of listening to an amazingly interesting 2 hour interview with Bap, recorded by Ralph before he went into the Hospice. Ralph did a brilliant job and really captured the story of Bap's musical life. There were smiles & tears in our house & it is such a gift to be able to listen to both shows again for years to come.
Tonight I had the absolute honour of accepting a very special award 'Roll of Honour' on behalf of Bap at the Aisling Awards held at the Europa Hotel, Belfast. There was definitely Serendipity at work with Bap's final album release date coincidentally delayed until today. What an amazing way to mark the release date of 'Reckless Heart' by accepting such a special award from Bap's home city.
I'll finish this post with a quote from one of Bap's blogs:
"People from everywhere have been telling me how much my music means to them. I didn't know. I didn't know how many people have been touched by my songs.
It's breaking my heart to find out now when I have so little time to do anything about it, but I am also very happy to feel the achievement. It's what I always wanted. Not money. Not fame. I always wanted people to feel what I feel. The magic of music.
From the bottom of my heart, thanks to everyone who has appreciated & supported my music over the years.
Love never fails,
We are devastated to announce that Bap passed away this evening. Bap was extremely brave until the end.
We would like to thank everybody for their kind messages of support over the past few months, these meant a lot to Bap and Brenda and helped Bap stay positive throughout his illness.
We are also extremely grateful to all the staff at the Marie Curie hospice for their kindness and warmheartedness during his stay.
Bap Kennedy has spoken publicly for the first time about his diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome. He has blogged from Marie Curie Hospice where he is currently receiving palliative care, in a post entitled "The engine of my creativity"
THE ENGINE OF MY CREATIVITY
I’ve decided, because of the situation I find myself in, to reveal that I have a diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome. I’ve never spoken about this publicly before because although it has caused me a lot of problems, I know that many people are more severely affected than me, so I never wanted to make a big deal of it. But it’s important for me to set the record straight now, because Asperger Syndrome (AS) is a big part of who I am.
In 1970’s Belfast when I was growing up, people had little time to look into things like Asperger Syndrome. Symptoms went unnoticed because there was so much else going on. We were too busy trying to survive, so I ended up without a diagnosis most of my life. By the time I came back to live in N Ireland at age 44 I was in real trouble psychologically, but luckily I met Brenda who was heavily involved in AS and had written books on the subject, and she pointed me in the direction of a professional assessment. My mind was absolutely blown as I began to understand for the first time why my life had unfolded the way it did.
When I was younger I spent a lot of time in bars with other musicians, and alcohol did a good job of masking my Asperger Syndrome. I was ill-equipped for the music industry from the start. AS makes you tend to misread what people are saying and sometimes you see things in black & white: You misunderstand. You find it difficult to believe that people may be saying one thing & thinking another – and that kind of attitude can be a real handicap in any kind of business. Over the years I failed miserably to negotiate the music business despite the help of notable musicians such as Steve Earle, Van Morrison and Mark Knopfler; and it ended up taking a huge toll on me.
By the time I reached my early 40s I was completely disillusioned with the music business as I experienced it. I took a part-time job in a pawn-brokers and gave up drink completely. And without alcohol in my life I began to realise that I was very, very obsessive. My job in the pawn-brokers led to an obsession with diamonds to the point that I began to study gemmology and became a qualified diamond expert and gemmologist. Then a few years later my obsession with the space race led to my album “Howl On”
Sometimes Asperger Syndrome gets a negative and unfair press. It is a complex and misunderstood condition and it covers a wide spectrum. You might hear that people with AS are totally inept socially, but that is not completely true. For me most social situations are quite difficult, especially now that I don’t drink, but some people may find this hard to believe because I can get on a stage and entertain people for two hours. But performing on stage is not like a normal social engagement. It is quite easy for me. I know everything I’m about to do. It’s all been rehearsed and (apart from a few ad libs & jokes) it’s all predictable. It’s worked successfully enough times for me to be confident that it will work again. The off stage bit is always more difficult for me and I find ordinary social engagement including small talk quite difficult. I can do it. I can do it to the point where I seem socially “normal” but privately I end up completely exhausted by social experiences.
Asperger Syndrome can make relationships difficult & this has been true for me in the past, but sometimes things work out really well. Brenda and I feel lucky to have found each other. We’re very similar so we enjoy each other’s intensity to the point that we have been together pretty well 24/7 from the word go, and it’s great to feel understood. I was also lucky enough to find a sympathetic and understanding manager, Willie Richardson. So the last decade of my life has been the happiest by far.
My stepson, Kenneth, is a great example of Asperger Syndrome and has found a way to be happy in the world, which I admire - I think the key is acceptance. So the thing I want people to know is that I’m not ashamed of my Asperger Syndrome. I’ve never been ashamed of it. In fact to be honest I’m proud I’ve got Aspergers. It is the engine of my creativity.
Peace & love,
Bap has major surgery tomorrow..
Let’s support him through this difficult time by continuing to enjoy, share and celebrate the great body of music he has spent a lifetime creating !
Here’s a link to the Bap Kennedy Official Youtube channel....
Due to the serious condition of Bap’s health at the moment, all upcoming dates & plans have unfortunately had to be cancelled.
Bap has been overwhelmed by all the messages of support coming in from all parts of the globe. He wants to keep in touch so he is writing a personal blog about his journey until such times as he is able to perform again.
NB - Buying directly is the best way to support the artist.
To go to Bap’s online shop click here
The Acoustic Yard Singer/Songwriters Festival
May 6th - May 8th 2016
'The Acoustic Yard' singer/songwriter sessions’ initially started up as a monthly event in Matt Molloy's Yard Bar in Westport in February 2014. The main focus was for singer/songwriters to have a platform to perform their own songs and for audiences to listen to original music in a relaxed environment. A key aim was to help to invigorate and stimulate songwriting and to supply an evening of entertainment.
Due to the success of this event, the idea of 'The Acoustic Yard Singer/Songwriters Festival' was born and developed into the festival which will take place from Friday 6th - Sunday 8th May 2016, primarily in The Town hall Theatre.
Bap's Sold Out "Sunday Cure" at The Black Box, Belfast on 14 Feb went down a storm!
And going by the great feedback, it looks like this event will have to happen again soon!
Unfortunately some people were turned away at the door this time because they didn't realize the event was sold out - So if you want early info about future Sunday Cure events, just send us an email & we'll keep you posted.
SEND YOUR EMAIL TO firstname.lastname@example.org
Bap's gig at The Black Box, Belfast is completely sold out.. Bap will be performing an afternoon show with full band.
Tickets are nearly all gone now for Bap’s gig at The Black Box, Belfast on 14 Feb.
The Black Box plan to announce a Sell Out shortly. For remaining ticket availability & all info please contact The Black Box
BAP TO BE FEATURED ON ITALIAN RADIO -
Tune in this Friday to Italian FM Radio Station TSN/TV Italia from about 10:30 (9:30 UK time)
Bap will be interviewed by Nene (& translated to English by Giuliano Padroni)
BAP IN BELFAST -
An afternoon show on Valentine’s Day. Brunch included in ticket price. (With full band)
BAP’S SUNDAY CURE - on Valentine’s afternoon.
A special, intimate musical extravaganza for your pleasure – with a little romance thrown in for good measure!
Ticket price includes brunch
Doors from 2pm
18-22 Hill St, Belfast, County Antrim BT1 2LA
ABOUT THE BLACK BOX
The Black Box is one of Belfast’s principal arts and entertainment venues. Situated in Hill Street in the historical Cathedral Quarter of Belfast, The Black Box is a listed building. It was originally constructed around 1850 and converted to its current usage as an arts venue in 2006
Bap will be performing with full band at the Morbegno Auditorium in the beautiful Italian town of Morbegno.
Morbegno is situated in the Lombardy region of northern Italy, bordering Switzerland. It is in the Vatellina valley at the side of the Adda river.
Buy Brenda Kennedy’s BANISH THE BLUE DAYS & get Bap’s Kennedy’s LONELY STREET
(featuring Bap’s song Moonlight Kiss from the Christmas movie Serendipity)
FREE OF CHARGE (limited time only)
2 Great Bap Productions for the price of one!
Click here to buy
Lonely Street Discs has just announced that the special offer (4 x Bap collectible EP CDs) has now sold out.
We are delighted to announce that Bap will be playing in the beautiful Duncairn Arts Centre on 4th December.
He will be performing with his band and this will be the only chance to catch him live in Belfast for the rest of the year.
Click here for tickets
Support from Ciaran McElhinney
Lonely Street Discs are pleased to announce a very limited release of special Bap collectibles:
All 4 CDs (signed by Bap) are currently available exclusively from Lonely Street Discs
(time limited offer)
Tune in to 103.2 Dublin City FM this Wednesday to hear Sean Brophy’s radio show Midweek Music Miscellany
This week Sean will include music from Bap Kennedy as well as from his wife Brenda Kennedy’s solo album (produced by Bap)
Tune in from 11:30 am (Wed 30 Sep)