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Maura Kennedy

The Songs of Maura Kennedy & B.D. Love – 2015 (Varese Sarabande)

Reviewed by Larry Stephens

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CDs by Maura Kennedy

The title of Maura Kennedy's latest (she's one half of The Kennedys) comes from a type of poetry: "a 19-line poem with two rhymes throughout, consisting of 5 tercets ..." There's no need to berate yourself for ignorance. Most listeners won't have a clue what this is. Kennedy challenged herself to put music to poems by B. D. Love, poems of any construction he chose. That's not the usual method of songwriting, and the resulting pleasant 15 songs don't fit any genre. There's a fair amount of music in the world that people enjoy without understanding or even paying attention to the lyrics ("Louie, Louie," for example), but if you do, you may find the marriage of lyrics and music challenging.

When we fist met
he rode a bike;
The other guys,
they all had cars
He seemed so cute,
so not like them
They cussed.
I climbed the handlebars.
    "Bicycles With Broken Spokes"

Some numbers, like "Bicycles," have a beat that has some rock licks while others, such as the title song, may remind you of New Age music. "Beneath the Mistletoe" takes another route. It's a flowing melody, could be a Bing Crosby Christmas song and features a nice instrumental break. Then she takes you to a bit of Santana's "Black Magic Woman" with "She Worked Her Magic On Me." "Be The One" has that same feel. If the entire CD was tracks like these you'd probably just glue it in your CD player. It's not that the other tracks are bad, they just take you to new areas. "Mockingbird" is close to a polka, perhaps a Cajun song complete with an accordion and "Coyotes" has an infectious bass beat and melody with a story that will catch your attention.

There are tracks that will immediately grab your attention but, overall, the CD takes you places you likely haven't been. Call it a different, it's an interesting listen.