CD REVIEW: Liz Kennedy - Speed Bump
by: Cyrus Rhodes
"Kennedy is Infectious"
- INDIE MUSIC DIGEST-
Artist: Liz Kennedy
CD: Speed Bump
Label: Independent Artist
Blues, Funky Pop, Americana, Singer/Songwriter
Best Songs: Stowaway, Take a Break, Speed Bump, Save Yourself, How Was Your Life
Weakness: Winded Songs, Melody Lines
(SAN FRANCISCO) Singer/Songwriter Liz Kennedy. had been composing wordless songs on the piano since she was 12, always wondering who was going to come along and finish them for her. By her late ’40s, she finally gave up waiting and began adding the lyrics herself. Performing for the first time in her early ’50s, she knew she was taking a bold risk. Divorced and remarried, facing the kind of fears that come with the pain of loss, never playing for anyone but her young children asleep on the floor below, she was protecting a budding need for self-expression. She worried that one sharp critique could destroy her deep connection to something that had always been her greatest passion. Here latest releases is entitled Speed Bump” and was released 2013.
The CD quickly takes flight with “Speed Bump” a smooth intro groove that serves inviting vocals against full-tilt rhythm section, amazing acoustic guitar set against a mesmerizing vocal front from Kennedy. Track 2 “Stowaway” presents an inviting heartfelt follow-up piece that serves up slamming slide guitar, methodical musical build, rich melody against impressive guitar ambience a grand slam chorus. This piece flows and ebbs its way through to emotional fruition making for an impressive follow-up statement. Track 3 “Half Sad” serves up an impressive Americana ballad painted against impressive harmonies, hypnotic vocal groove and well placed fretwork As the CD slowly unfolds I can hear the musicianship from everyone involved is clearly above the bar with impressive bass lines, slamming solos, well placed Piano, impressive organ and Electric Piano accents, thick soulful harmonies all built upon a thick as a brick rhythm section. Song for song the effective combination of Kennedy’s unique and raspy voice, world class songwriting and top flight musicianship it’s never once called into question. Now turning our attention over to Kennedy, as for her vocal abilities - she is quite impressive and clearly feels comfortable in her own skin by letting it all hang out musically. As an artists she is quite inspirational because she is being true to herself. Her musical/vocal style is cut from the cloth of Carly Simon, Bonnie Raitt, Joni Mitchell and Carol King. Kennedy showcases an infectious and appealing mezzo-soprano persona with a unique appeal makes her a bit magical. All of this makes for a strong and confident vocal ability across the board. Despite a unorthodox vocal approach it’s amazing how well Kenndy pulls this off flawlessly. I especially like how her voice just sort of flutters melodically with the music. She’s comparable to a female Randy Newman with a songwriting style cut from the same cloth as Grateful Dead with a voice that will remind you of Joan Rivers. Did I mention she also plays Piano? This latest CD from Liz Kennedy delivers 14 compelling tracks all providing an interesting snapshot of a clairvoyant, wise and spiritual artist. All songs deliver thought provoking lyrical wisdom with messages that are positive, passionate and extremely captivating and full of powerful wisdom. From melodic “Half Sad” to grooving “Take a Break” and “The Thing Is” o rock steady ‘Argula” and “Overnight Sensation” to heartfelt “Raised by the Orange Trees” and “How Was Your Life” to melodic “Save Yourself” this CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with track 14 “Hit Song” the perfect wrap for a catalogue like this.
All songs over 3.5 minutes tend to drag you to the finish line. I would humbly advise Kennedy to add more “sweet” high melodies to her songwriting style showcasing more in the way of flowing melody lines and connecting passages. Most of her melodies are a bit choppy and very partitioned almost as if someone is talking the song to you vice singing. Perhaps insight from a World Class vocal coach would help bring some of the aforementioned to full potential?
From start to finish this latest release from Liz Kennedy entitled "Speed Bump" is a powerful, inspirational, uplifting and impressive catalogue of music. The music is very consistent, well-crafted and extremely entertaining. Note for note, song for song there isn’t really weak piece on this entire catalogue. The production strokes: writing and playing abilities of this production are rock solid. The bluesy melodies and harmonies are well crafted and the lyrical content is packed to the hilt with rich conventional wisdom and a strong spiritual connection may will gravitate to. Liz Kennedy - is one of the good artists in a world full of soulless clutter.