Drew Kennedy

Dollar Theatre Movie

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To read what Drew Kennedy's press materials say about him and what he says about himself in interviews, one would think that he is a Texas singer/songwriter in the tradition of Guy Clark or Steve Earle. (Like Earle, he was born in Virginia, then moved to Texas.) But a listen to his first full-length album -- following the 2003 EP Hillbilly Pilgrim -- reveals a writer and performer whose sensibility is much closer to Nashville than Austin. Kennedy wrote or co-wrote all 13 songs, and they describe a familiar world view, that of the restless young male either pining for a woman who left him or feeling the need to move on himself, due to his itchy feet, which are more comfortable in cowboy boots than shoes, and on dirt roads rather than paved streets. Of course, he's never far from a honky tonk or a cold beer, either. Kennedy sings his songs in a resonant baritone that has a tendency to drone when he doesn't vary his phrasing or timing enough. He has a good voice, but he could use it better. Similarly, he is a craftsman-like writer, but he has nothing like the wit of a Clark or the conviction of an Earle. It is possible to imagine some of these songs, particularly "The New Me" and "Like a Thief," being candidates for covers by country stars like Tim McGraw and Alan Jackson. For the most part, however, the songs lack the kind of lyrical hook that makes for a country hit. If Kennedy didn't consider himself above it, he might consider moving to Nashville and doing more co-writing, so that his talents could be enhanced and his income increased.

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