what people are saying about Sad Songs Happily Played
- Rose of Jericho comes in at #5, coupled with co-writer Lori McKenna’s version from her stellar album Numbered Doors on That Nashville Sound‘s picks for Top Ten Unexpected Country Duets and Music Collaborations of 2014
- Read Drew’s interview with Brian T. Atkinson of CMT Edge here
- In a world full of justice and fairness Drew Kennedy would be one of the most revered musicians around.
—Red Dirt / Blue Collar // full review here
- Read Drew’s Interview with Thomas Moody of New Slang here
what people are saying about Wide Listener
- Wide Listener comes in at #1, #3, #6 on Red Dirt – Blue Collar‘s staff picks for Best of 2013
- Wide Listener comes in at #1 on TXRDR‘s staff picks for Top Albums of 2013
- Wide Listener comes in at #13 on That Nashville Sound‘s Top 30 of 2013
- Good Carpentry comes in at #32 and Age and Color comes in at #73 on Engine 145‘s Best Songs of 2013
- Wide Listener comes in at #5 on FTM‘s Top albums of 2013
- The Poet at 33 comes in at #13 on FTM‘s Top songs of 2013
- Wide Listener scores an honorable mention on Engine 145‘s 2013 Best Country And Roots Albums
- Wide Listener is listed on Galleywinter‘s Favorites of 2013
- Wide Listener is Kennedy’s sixth album, and it’s his strongest one to date thanks to expressive, evocative, and constantly improving songwriting—for this record, he worked with Lori McKenna and Josh Grider, among others—and a top-notch backing band of some of Texas’ best, including cellist Steve Bernal and Sons of Fathers’ David Beck.
–Juli Thanki, Engine145.com // full interview here
- Read Southern Music Scene‘s review of Wide Listener here.
- Wide Listener is the sound of a man who’s found the sweet spot – where creativity, passion and talent all overlay each other on the venn diagram. Drew Kennedy may never be the best known singer-songwriter in the world, but with albums like this, we can rest assured he’ll always be known as one of the best.
–Farce The Music // full review here
- Just as Guy and Townes were never as big as Willie and Jerry Jeff…Drew isn’t as big as Randy Rogers or Josh Abbott. But something tells me his words might receive a little more reverence in future generations.
— Brad Beheler, galleywinter.com // full article here
“…Reliably turning out albums like Wide Listener (his sixth) that demand and reward acute attention to every word. This is very much a sit back (or lay down) and listen kind of record, impeccably played and sung…and filled with languid melodies more comfortable than outright catchy…it rings honest and true of heart.”
—Richard Skanse, Lone Star Music Magazine // full review here
- “On Wide Listener, Kennedy finds quite spaces in the littlest of moments, and builds his stories there….(it’s) that rare album that is as artistic as it is accessible. In the 1980’s it would have found a place on the radio, being played between The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Lacy J. Dalton. It will likely find the same audience today… It is the sort of album that could shake up mainstream radio and possibly send country music spinning off in a whole new direction, and, in a better world it would have a chance to do so.”
–Stormy Lewis, Roughstock.com // full review here
“Wide Listener is a pretty broad listen, lyrically and sonically. The thoughtful Americana artist leads off with the upbeat “Age and Color,” which compares autumn leaves with the seasons of one’s life. The imagery continues with “Good Carpentry,” about constructing sweet memories. The songs mostly are slow but richly textured and melodic and at times rising to the dramatic, such as the heartache tune “Jesus Can See You.”
–John Goodspeed, San Antonio Express News
- “Drew Kennedy released an album this week that got the whole town talking. well they should be listening. His album Wide Listener is ridiculously good.”
— Red Dirt / Blue Collar // full review here
- “…a glimpse of a solid songwriter whose songs have been recorded by the likes of Patty Loveless and Jason Boland, among others. Wide Listener continues Kennedy’s unpretentious brand of Americana, a formula he’s comfortable with. “If I were to jump ship and go in a different direction now, I feel like all of the work I’ve put into my craft over the last seven or eight years will have been for naught,” he told No Depression. “I hope that, if you were to listen to my body of work in chronological order, you’d hear the observations of an individual as he matures and ages.”
–San Antonio Current
- Drew Kennedy deserves widespread acclaim, and evidence of that becomes quickly clear on Wide Listener, a set of songs fulfils all the promise implied by his earlier LPs. There’s a sense of remorse and regret instilled in these songs, a pervading sadness that makes the material all the more compelling. Even the uptempo tracks – “Age and Color” and “Love on the Highway” being among the most emphatic – demonstrate a resolve and determination that puts his concerns front and center. Kennedy is that kind of artist, a singer/songwriter whose songs reflect the struggles and concerns that burden nearly everyone’s existence and create constant hurdles when it comes to achieving happiness and satisfaction. While that may seem to brand the music with a general malaise, it’s hardly cause for despair. There’s tremendous optimism implied here, and on a song like “Gainesville,” that quiet dignity leaves a powerful impression. Likewise, the rich arrangements and Kennedy’s knack for nuance enhances the music’s impact, and creates the sense that an imposing newcomer is about to burst on the scene. Indeed, with Wide Listener, and with every one of Kennedy’s efforts so far, hearing is believing.
–Lee Zimmerman, No Depression
What people are saying about Fresh Water In The Salton Sea
- Read Drew’s interview with CMT.com’s Craig Shelburne (published on 12.6.11) here
- In this modern age of music, artists are constantly looking for innovative ways to market their music and connect with fans. I think Drew Kennedy has found the best one yet. Instead of a couple pages of liner notes or an interview to explain the songs…he takes you on the road with the de facto him and draws back the curtain into his creative process. It’s an excellent book and an excellent album. Either would be strongly merited on their own, but when taken as a whole, Kennedy has created a masterpiece.
–Brad Beheler, galleywinter.com // full review here
- This realistic fictional travelogue offers some answers to any music fan who has ever asked after an enjoyable concert: “What does this guy do the other 22 hours of the day?” Drew’s a talented songwriter and novelist who almost bares Dan’s (or is it Drew’s) soul in this multimedia project any music fan will enjoy.
–Hal Bogerd, No Depression // full review here
- All 10 songs on Fresh Water In The Salton Sea fit seamlessly together. While its certainly not your typical “Texas Country” party CD, I would venture to say that it wasn’t intended to be. With a somber yet thoughtful tone, this album is full of songs that are meant to be listened to and not just heard. As great as this album sounds, it is best appreciated and most thought-provoking after you’ve finished reading all 221 pages of Drew Kennedy’s first ever novel.
—Scot Gray, TXRDR.com // full review here
- On “The Captain and The Highway” Drew sings in a deep resonant voice accompanied primarily by acoustic guitar. This along with the world weary nature of the song, the lonely and sad imagery, and the foreboding cello (?) combine to produce a beautiful song that is a standout on an album full of standouts.
—Craig Bonnell, songs:illinois // full review here
- “I had the verses written [to We’ve All Got Our Marks To Make], but they seemed incredibly incongruous,” says Kennedy. “There was a common thread there, but I couldn’t find it. Walt Wilkins…helped me find it in about an hour.” There’s something humanizing about the carvings made by these two men [George Washington and Hank Williams] who’ve since achieved near-mythic status leaving something of permanence, but Dan isn’t sure about his own work, trailing off with an “And as for me…” Kennedy is the same, admitting, “I still don’t know if I’ve left my mark in anything, but I’m trying.” …He needn’t worry. We’ve all got our marks to make, and with Fresh Water in the Salton Sea, Drew Kennedy has etched a deep one.
—Juli Thanki, Engine 145 // full review here
- The 10 songs on Fresh Water all riff in one way or another off the novel’s central “what’s it all about, anyway, and am I really doing the right thing with my life?” theme (“I can’t see the sunshine for the rays,” he frets on the gospel-tinged opener); but there’s no concept-album storyline to keep up with or get in the way of the music. Kennedy’s voice and melodies are exceedingly easy on the ears, strongly reminiscent of ’70s singer-songwriter fare (more Nilsson, Schmillson or Sweet Baby James than Waylon and Willie), but the wistful “Vapor Trails” goes down like prime Whiskeytown, and “I’ve Got Some Leaving to Do” blurs the line between country weeper and 2 a.m. blues. The toe-tapping “We’ve All Got Our Marks to Make” serves as the album’s rousing centerpiece, and also hints at why Kennedy probably felt compelled to explore long-form fiction in the first place; he stuffs so many words in the verses, he can barely keep up with himself. But he pulls it off with a devil-may-care verve. “Line by line and age to age,” he sings in the chorus, “we’ve all got our marks to make.” And with Fresh Water in the Salton Sea, he’s made a fine one — with an entire book’s worth of words to spare.
–Richard Skanse, Lone Star Music Magazine // full review here
- Jeg likte platen før jeg leste boken, men etter å ha lest boken så liker jeg platen enda bedre. Og når jeg så leste boken samtidig som jeg flettet inn låtene på korrekt sted så antar denne pakken helt dimensjon jeg sjelden har sett maken til. Musikalsk snakker vi saftig Americana med glitrende tekster. Han har med seg et sparsomt utvalg medmusikanter som legger til litt lette trommer, piano og gjerne en gitar eller en pedal-steel på akkurat de riktige stedene. Herlig koring løfter låtene, men det nedstrippede lydbildet viser også styrken til låtene og tekstene, og legger ikke akkurat skjul på det faktum at at Kennedy er en singer/songwriter som på samme måte som Dan Murphy reiser rundt i USA med kassegitaren og formidler det han ønsker uten å være avhengig av et band i ryggen.
- 13. Drew Kennedy – Vapor Trails (Fresh Water In The Salton Sea) – With a voice both oddly distinct, immediately relatable, and admirably flexible, Drew Kennedy continues to give you your money’s worth with every syllable and every nuanced, carefully-considered line. In a perfect world more folks are buying … if you’re new to this, his newest album is actually arguably the best place to start.
— Mike Messick, Best Songs of 2011, Texas Music Scene // full list here
- This was really a treat. Drew Kennedy released an album AND a book. Both called “Fresh Water In The Salton Sea”. The book, which is really a great read, focuses on the fictional singer/songwriter Dan Murphy and his experiences while on the road to finish up another tour – while dealing with a bad breakup and his mind killing off his ex-girlfriend in brutal ways. The album consists of the songs Dan writes during his travels, and the lyrics to them are printed in the book at the aproximate point where Dan writes them. Brilliant concept, and it really works!
— Ninebullets.net’s 13 Reasons Why 2011 Was A Good Year // full review here
- After the initial run through, I start listening to the lyrics, melodies, phrasing and other technical aspects of the music. Drew is an amazing story teller with a great ear for detail and melodies. I especially like the hauntingly beautiful melody on “I’ve Got Some Leaving To Do”. This is a great CD to listen to at the end of a hectic day, and definitely a great mood changer.
— Laurie Petricka for Roughstock.com // full review here
- Fresh Water In The Salton Sea comes in at #14 on Farce The Music’s Best Albums of 2011
–FarceTheMusic.com // full list here
- Home To Me makes Farce The Music’s Best Songs of 2011
—FarceTheMusic.com // full list here
- Fresh Water In The Salton Sea comes in at #5 on Texas Music Scene’s 30 Albums Of The Year: The fact that he co-released it with an original novel of the same name highlights the ambition the still-young veteran of the Texas songwriter scene brought to this project, but (as with any of his recent albums) these songs really speak for themselves. Kennedy’s emotional honesty continues to serve him well, but it’s his knack for detail and a touch of wry wit that allows him to hit up those old themes of heartache, travel, and regret for one more dance with his distinctive baritone drawl.
–Texas Music Scene // full list here
- New Braunfels-based songwriter Drew Kennedy’s complex new project employs both a ten-song LP and a 43-chapter novel, together titled “Fresh Water in the Salton Sea,” to be taken as one artistic piece. This innovative method produced two vital components that could each stand on their own as enjoyable forays into the artistic process but when taken together–as the artist intended–produce an experience not to be missed.
–Tobin Redwine, Maroon Weekly // full article here
- This album/book was part of my top list for 2011, and when I recently pulled out the book to read it again I decided this really needed to get a through review on Ninebullets to make sure more people know about this gem.
— Rune, ninebullets.net // full article here
what people are saying about Alone, But Not Lonely
For those who may not be aware, Drew Kennedy is as engaging of a talker as he is a singer. As a traveling, Texas-based troubadour, Kennedy falls into the lineage of Guy Clark, more than say, Pat Green, and his albums, specifically, Dollar Theatre Movie and last year’s excellent An Audio Guide to Cross Country Travel, contain ample amounts of wit and plain ol’ common sense conveyed in very uncommon ways. His rich, nasally twang is distinctive without distracting, and it only adds to the rest of what makes Kennedy stand-out in the crowded river of Lone Star State singer/songwriters. Kennedy, who can write a compelling story to go along with telling and singing them, has been ahead of the artist-blogging curve for while now. Finally, he’s joining the ranks of those who release well-done videos. It’s hard not to really dig red high heels, isn’t it? —Kelly Dearmore, DC9, Dallas Observer
what people are saying about An Audio Guide To Cross Country Travel
New Braunfels’ Drew Kennedy travels around Texas quite often, sharing stories and songs in the grand folk singer tradition. But there’s more in Kennedy’s bag than just some vagabond ideal. Kennedy comes across as a cleaner and less political version of Steve Earle; he’s released three solid efforts of not-quite-alt country that feature songwriting that balances serious romanticism with a healthy dose of self-depreciating humor.
–Daryl Smyers, Dallas Observer