11 Songs, 47 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

In 2011, Drew Kennedy published his first book, Fresh Water in the Salton Sea, which was also the name of his fifth album. Wide Listener, his sixth album, continues the troubadour’s literary ways with songs that further explore his take on life as the years go by. (Patty Loveless has also recorded his songs.) Here, “Age and Color” is an uptempo tune that sounds like a country bar band getting loose and sounding more assured with each passing year—but with lyrics that take things a bit harder. “Good Carpentry” immediately pulls back into slower territory where the pedal steel overrules all else and Kennedy accepts that a good craftsman is something to admire. Guitars, keyboards, smart backing vocals, a tight rhythm section—all the traditional things that make a solid record—come together here with simple grace. “Venice via Postcard” and “Sleeping Alone” capture a spiritual loneliness that’s hard to dismiss.

EDITORS’ NOTES

In 2011, Drew Kennedy published his first book, Fresh Water in the Salton Sea, which was also the name of his fifth album. Wide Listener, his sixth album, continues the troubadour’s literary ways with songs that further explore his take on life as the years go by. (Patty Loveless has also recorded his songs.) Here, “Age and Color” is an uptempo tune that sounds like a country bar band getting loose and sounding more assured with each passing year—but with lyrics that take things a bit harder. “Good Carpentry” immediately pulls back into slower territory where the pedal steel overrules all else and Kennedy accepts that a good craftsman is something to admire. Guitars, keyboards, smart backing vocals, a tight rhythm section—all the traditional things that make a solid record—come together here with simple grace. “Venice via Postcard” and “Sleeping Alone” capture a spiritual loneliness that’s hard to dismiss.

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About Drew Kennedy

Texas-based Americana singer/songwriter Drew Kennedy was born in Virginia and began performing there and in Maryland before moving to Houston after graduating from college, later relocating to the town of New Braunfels. He released his debut EP, Hillbilly Pilgrim, on Thumbs Down Music in 2003, and gained further notice by writing the title song for Jason Boland & the Stragglers' album Bourbon Legend. Signing with the Stragglers' label Sustain Records, Kennedy delivered his debut album, Dollar Theatre Movie, in early 2007. Citing Texas legend Guy Clark as an influence, Kennedy's songs take a weary but heartfelt literary bent as evidenced on his next release, a loosely connected concept album of road songs titled An Audio Guide to Cross Country Travel, which appeared in 2009. Following a 2010 live acoustic album called Alone, But Not Lonely, he delivered his ambitious third LP, 2011's Fresh Water in the Salton Sea, in tandem with the publication of his first novel of the same name. Two years later, Wide Listener saw Kennedy collaborating with acclaimed songwriter Lori McKenna on a pair of tracks. In the studio, the singer's lonesome narratives are often accompanied by a full band, but his intimate solo shows are another aspect of his artistry, one of which, unbeknownst to Kennedy, was captured by a soundman at a small venue in League City, Texas in 2013. The result was an unintended live album that acted like a career snapshot titled Sad Songs, Happily Played. He returned in 2017 with At Home in the Big Lonesome, one of his most fully realized studio albums to date. ~ William Ruhlmann

HOMETOWN
Virginia
GENRE
Country

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