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Joe Kennedy - Van Cortlandt Park

  by Lisa Torem

published: 5 / 11 / 2010

Joe Kennedy - Van Cortlandt Park
Label: Select Label
Format: N/A


Lisa Torem assesses Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter Joe Kennedy's 2007 debut album, 'Van Cortlandt Park'

Joe Kennedy hails from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, but has been making his home in LA for more than a decade. His influences are disparate, although Burt Bacharach, Todd Rundgren and Brian Wilson, lead the songwriting pack. Kennedy’s song, ‘Velvet’ appeared on '14 Songs in 28 Days', a best of compilation, in the 2008 FAWM collection. He has performed with Sia, Flotilla and the Bird and the Bee, but his 2007 debut solo album, 'Van Cortlandt Park', exemplifies his songwriting skills. The album consists of original songs that can be described as powerpop on a collision course with smooth jazz. Kennedy has a soothing voice and is unafraid to tackle sensitive terrain. In his first track, ‘Sadness,” he vows: “I wish all of this sadness would die, in your arms.” His wistful yearning for true romance continues with ‘Fishing’ as he hopes “With all these fish in the sea/I know there’s one for me.” ‘Each and Every Day’ has a complex melody that conveys a simple message; it’s a spirited waltz, musically. ‘April’ is “like a breeze, out of reach.” It is made fuller by glistening harmonies. The adage to a child, ‘Melissa’ begins with some ethereal sound bytes which mysteriously gather rhythmic speed. “Would you like to chase a butterfly on a hill?” he asks the youngster. A bright, expose of innocence prevails. ‘A Long Way to Go’ is more wistful. “Now I see what I need, staring back at me through eyes of green.” ‘Child-like’ is incredibly that. “You’re trouble and you’ve got mischief in your eyes,” Kennedy observes. ‘So Long Susie’ is another rendezvous with the younger years. It is not until ‘Hourglass’ that we head back into the adult world and some intricate imagery. “Delicate swan swimming silently/How does it feel living all alone by the sea?” he asks, in a reflective moment. ’11:11’ shows the jilted lover: “It must have been something I’ve said/Cause I’m lying in this empty bed.” ‘Little Silver Car’ divorces itself from the other themes, and quietly stands alone. Kennedy has done a fine job, though it might have been a stronger work if either the theme of romance or children were more pronounced. He stretches himself as a songwriter, however, and is comfortable veering off into different directions.

Track Listing:-

Picture Gallery:-
Joe Kennedy - Van Cortlandt Park

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