The Review: Speed Bump by Liz Kennedy was released 2013. A highly anticipated release from a singer songwriter who hails from the Bay area featuring all original heartfelt songs on acoustic guitar and piano, accompanied by amazing musicians on electric and acoustic guitar, piano, organ and back-up vocals. I call this style of music “Mood Music” and they don’t call it mood music for nothing. Whether my mood is upbeat or downbeat, serious or playful, extroverted or introverted, there are musical choices aplenty to complement, enhance or counteract it her on this 14 track set. First Liz Kennedy – in addition to writing some amazing music over the past few years is the perfect soul to lament movements. The messages come to you in rousing anthems, bittersweet ballads and stories of roads less traveled, forming a cast of quintessentially American characters: love lost, love gained, the winners, the heartbroken, those who hope to find love against all odds. Any way you look at it – it’s coming out with your head above water – like the title implies.
On “Speed Bump” her latest and greatest release Kennedy delivers what I can only describe as good mood music. It has flavorings of instrumental folk, pop, and a jazzy Americana blues feel, but, perhaps surprisingly the primary focus is striped down Acoustic based Pop-Funk Rock. Early tracks “Speed Bump”,“Stow Away” and “Half Sad” have an elegant faded blue jean feel, becoming almost hypnotic in places. The rock-folk-blues textures of Kennedy’s Piano playing and band are especially evocative. “Raised by the Orange Trees” and “Maybe Just Maybe” have a short but sweet structure, lending it more of straight folk-blues-rock feel, but it could hardly be called pop when it’s built around Kennedy’s unique voice and Piano at the sonic center of it all. Kennedy reminds me of Linda Rondstadt, Lucinda Williams, Allison Krauss, Maria Muldar and Rory Block. Some tracks are just upbeat and happy “Take a Break.” Others “How Was Your Life” and “Save Yourself” really make the Singer/Songwriter connection. Some tracks have a particularly steady-thrumming bass line that adds firmness and tension “The Thing Is” and “Abduction.” All songs are a return to folk-rock-singer sadcore-songwriter with a stuttering vocal delivery and rhythm section underpinning some terrific work from all involved. Kennedy is on Californian who has played numerous shows around the region. This is her latest outing and a great pickup if you’re either in a mellow mood or looking to instill a more mellower one. While this is music you could work or play to, it’s most suited to simple contemplation. Its might just be the perfect CD to brighten up your day on those rainy days as well. Isn’t that something we could all use a little more of in our lives. Kennedy sets it – all too well.
The Bottom Line: Speedbump by Liz Kennedy is well-suited for audiences that enjoy all the typical conventions of Folk-Pop-Americana-Funk and more. Even slight elements of Singer/Songwriter mood music and earthy Jazzy pop. Expect great things from Kennedy once her cult fanbase gets established past the Bay area. I feel there’s a disgruntled audience out there just waiting for her to arrive with open arms.
Purchase Link: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/lizkennedy
Norma Fuller edited by Markus Druery
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