Artist: Maura Kennedy
Album: Villanelle: The Songs Of Maura Kennedy & B.D. Love
Label: Varese Sarabande
Release Date: 05/12/2015
In the age of the mass hysteria of Dancing with the Stars and The Voice, it is a serious reset for me to reluctantly proclaim the arrival of new Kennedys Music. No, seriously. I’ve been an acolyte of Pete and Maura Kennedy’s pure-hearted, twangy folk/rock Zen for decades now and when word crossed the wire of Kennedy’s new release, I wanted to, I needed to, rejoice.
But dammit, I don’t know where I stand with Villanelle. The exquisitely ruminative “Bicycles with Broken Spokes,” “Villanelle,” “Darling Cutter,” “I Cried To Dream Again,” “Fireflies,” and the elegantly mournful “Soldier’s Wife” all seem to hold to Kennedy’s higher goal to “not write standard song forms around author B.D. Love’s poetry, free verse and sonnets.” And then (and it troubles me to say this) its generic blues, hootenanny, and pop/rock/folk. Sure, it’s all sun in Kennedy’s remarkably clear, impossibly hopeful, crystal-clarion voice, while Pete supplies his trademark gifts on guitars, banjo, mandolin, etc., but the disc just doesn’t sound complete. Or ultimately satisfying. And that is something I never thought I’d say in a review about any music related to the Kennedys.