Bap Kennedy

Lonely Street

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Belfast singer/songwriter Bap Kennedy dedicates Lonely Street to two influential vocalists from the southern U.S.: country great Hank Williams, Sr. and rock & roll pioneer Elvis Presley. Some might find it strange that an Irish artist would claim Williams as a major inspiration, but in fact, it's quite logical. Country, like bluegrass and Anglo-American folk, was heavily influenced by the Celtic traditions that Irish and Scottish immigrants brought to the U.S., so it makes perfect sense that a Belfast native would hold Williams in such high regard. Lonely Street, however, isn't a hardcore country album; rather, it is a pop/rock album that contains country and folk elements. The most overtly country sounding thing on the CD is "Drunk on the Blood of Christ," which was inspired by Williams' country-gospel standard "I Saw the Light." And Kennedy obviously had Williams in mind when he wrote "Hank's Last Waltz" and "Elvis, Hank, and Me." But again, Lonely Street isn't meant to be an album of pure, unadulterated honky-tonk; it's primarily a pop/rock outing, and Kennedy sounds like he has been listening to everyone from Bob Dylan and Paul Simon to the Grateful Dead. Kennedy, who wrote everything on this disc, is a fine storyteller, and on originals like "Gladys and Vernon," "Good Times on Franklin Road," and "Lonesome Lullaby," he shows us how moving his stories can be. Lonely Street reminds us that Kennedy is an artist of depth.

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