Kerry Kearney

Connect With Your Roots

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Kerry Kearney is a true craftsman and Connect with Your Roots is not only faithful to the source material, originals like "Roll Away" have an integrity and elegance that puts them on the same musical plateau and space as the Robert Johnson classics included on this nine-song delight. Johnson's "Crossroads" is funkified by the band while Kearney's slide guitar and arrangement give the well-worn composition new life. The master's "Sweet Home Chicago" is stretched into a cautious slow groove, drummer Eileen Murphy setting the pace with bassist Frank Celenza, those nods to the "roots" as lovingly played as the sweet "Wanderlust," a moving vignette with Eamon O'Rourke's pleasure-filled violin. "Connemara Goodnight" is another terrific original from Kearney, a great hook of "sweet dreams are on their way" and a wonderful pop sound that is oh so radio ready. Jack Licitra of Jack's Waterfall contributes vocals and songwriting via an equally enchanting "Juliet," at four minutes and 44 seconds the longest title on this set and, like so much on this CD, an example of how Kearney is able to take conventional sounds and make them modern and commercially viable with these contemporary melodies. "Uncle Huey" is an interesting closing piece, a two minute expression of Kearney's guitar skills played over a scratchy vinyl record. This ensemble has a quiet power that can evaluate a traditional number, "Lawdy Mama," and bring it into their stable. Kearney has skillfully brought the blues into a folk setting flavored with pop sensibilities -- a difficult task that this group achieves effortlessly. There's so much going on inside Connect with Your Roots that it not only stands up to multiple plays, it allows the listener to uncover new things each time a song spins, the production, playing, and songwriting all merging to give these performances real staying power. It's the kind of catchy and soothing music that can keep people overtime at a party, serious music that isn't afraid to have some fun.

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