Thursday, June 29, 2017

James Joyce Brothers with Billy Kennedy

Edgefield - Winery Tasting Room

7 p.m. til 9 p.m.


21 and over

About Billy Kennedy

Billy Kennedy

"Billy Kennedy's newest release, Panacea, is easy to like (and inevitably, to love), but it's difficult to describe why. Ask anyone who knows him and they will surely describe his brilliance, and surely they would all give a different description. (You may also find out about his decades-long influence on the Portland music scene, his wit and his kindness.) Most can agree that it boils down to his mastery of the sublime groove.

This isn't meant to be cosmic or abstract. The sublime groove is a way of being everything at once, and perhaps a way of healing all at once. It makes you hear a rhythm section when there isn't one there, but the beat and tempo jump and slide as appropriate. It's how you slip enthralling guitar runs into a nakedly sparse song without getting noticed. It's stethoscope music that turns a whisper into a shout, and it's underwater music that cackles devilishly without shattering it's placid surface.

Panacea is mostly Billy singing and playing one or a couple guitars, sometimes some bass. In this respect it's much like seeing him play solo, which is perhaps the best way to see him, although he creates considerable, albeit different, ecstacy with a full band. The recording is clear and well-balanced, and thankfully not polished, with amplifier hum that brings intimacy but never distraction. His songs pull from various popular musical traditions of the 20th century like blues, folk, rock, jazz and on, although the forms mingle and the complicated chord progressions sound natural while the simple ones sound new." -Mark Yokoyama