Pete & Maura Kennedy to play in Harrisburg, January 31st

New York-based Pete and Maura Kennedy, whose musical career spans two decades and a broad musical landscape, come to Harrisburg’s Fort Hunter Centennial Barn, 5300 N. Front Street, on Saturday, January 31, for a 7:30 p.m. concert sponsored by Susquehanna Folk Music Society.

643_TheKennedysfinal3643_TheKennedysfinal1The 7:30 p.m. concert will be preceded by a free 6 p.m. potluck dinner. Bring a covered dish to share. Drinks and place settings will be provided.

Concert tickets are $22 General Admission, $18 for SFMS members and $10 for students ages 3-22. Advance tickets are available through Brown Paper Tickets online at http://www.brownpapertickets.com or toll-free (800) 838-3006.

For more information, visit the Susquehanna Folk Music Society website at http://www.sfmsfolk.org

Some of you may have followed the Kennedys for many years, while some of you may be less familiar with this group. On January 27, 2015I did the below interview with Pete Kennedy. Take a look and you’ll be able to learn what this enduring duo is up to!

FOLKMAMA: How did you and Maura meet?

PETE KENNEDY: We met in Austin Texas, in 1992. I was playing in Nanci Griffith’s band, and I had a few days off so I went to Austin to play a couple of gigs on my own. A mutual friend introduced me to Maura, and we hit it off right away, as soon as we sang together and sensed that our musical taste and style was a perfect match up.

I left town to play a show up in Telluride, Colorado, and afterwards I phoned Maura down in Texas. We decided to meet up at the equidistant point. That turned out to be Lubbock Texas, and since we both love Buddy Holly, we decided that we would each drive the 500 miles solo from Colorado and Austin, and meet at Holly’s grave. So that was our first date!

Shortly after that, Nanci had an opening for a harmony singer in her band, so Maura joined and we developed our duo act by opening or Nanci all over England, Ireland and Scotland.

FOLKMAMA: How do you describe your music?

PETE KENNEDY: Our music is described by others as folk-rock, acoustic roots, and Americana, so any one of those will do!

FOLK MAMA: What kinds of experience would you expect audience members to have at one of your concerts?

PETE KENNEDY: Our hope is that the audience finds the concert experience uplifting and empowering. Our songs have a positive, encouraging vibe, and being a duo, we have a more energetic stage presence than a solo sit-down folk singer.

FOLKMAMA: What are some songs of yours, in particular, that are real crowd pleasers?

PETE KENNEDY: The two favorite older songs of ours are our usual opening song, “Life is Large” and our closing song, “Stand”.

FOLKMAMA: You have three new albums coming out shortly. How much of Saturday’s concert will be the new material and how much will be older material and covers?

PETE KENNEDY: We expect to do about one third new songs, one third request from the audience, and the remainder whatever feels right at the moment, including some instrumental songs on guitar and ukulele.

We don’t use a standard set list, because we like each show to be different and spontaneous.

FOLKMAMA: You’re known for adding a lot of variety to your shows. What gear can we expect to find up on stage with you?

 

PETE KENNEDY: Well Maura will be on her plugged in acoustic Gibson. I’ll be on any number of things, possibly the Gretsch or Rickenbacker (they harken back to The Beatles) and of course the ukulele for a little Gershwin!

 

 

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Kevin Neidig, Henry Koretzky, Ken Gehret, and Bruce Campbell appear in concert January 18th

Central Pennsylvania is home to many fine musicians and four of the best—Neidig, Koretzky, Gehret and Campbell—appear for their unprecedented sixth Susquehanna Folk Music Society concert on Sunday, January 18, 2014, at 4:00 p.m. at the Appalachian Brewing Co. Abbey Bar, 50 N. Cameron Street, Harrisburg. Whenever the four appear in a Susquehanna Folk Music Society program, the audience response is so great that it is obvious they should be invited back again.

Concert tickets are $20 General Admission, $16 for SFMS members and $10 for students ages 3-22. (Note: Appalachian Brewing Company welcomes guests under age 21 for this matinee concert.) Advance tickets are available through Brown Paper Tickets online at http://www.brownpapertickets.com or toll-free (800) 838-3006. For more information, visit the Susquehanna Folk Music Society Web site at http://www.sfmsfolk.org.

I had a chance to speak with mandolin and guitar play Henry Koretsky about this year’s concert and what new and different things that we should expect.

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FOLKMAMA: What do you have cooked up for us this year?

HENRY: As always we set ourselves up to do two sets of new material every year. It can be a real challenge for four people to come together to learn two 45 minute sets of new material from scratch. But that’s what we try to do; we try to set that bar high for ourselves.

And we’ve got all kinds of things going on. Everything from bluegrass versions of Beatles and Warren Zevon  to gypsy jazz and some great new originals by Kevin. Also some Darrell Scott and some Celtic tunes and even some straight bluegrass, just to show that we can do it.

FOLKMAMA: So remind our readers how you go about learning these pieces. Do you get together and rehearse or so you fly around MP3s or what?

HENRY: The preliminary process is really involves just running some ideas amongst ourselves. I know that I’m thinking about it all year and considering possibilities and refining my list. Each of us, at least Kevin, Ken and I kick in about a third of the set a piece. And then as the concert approaches we get together—we actually had a couple of harried rehearsals, one as a trio and one as a quartet we worked the stuff out.

Normally we do send out charts, demos and MP3s to each other so that we can prepare before we all get together. And then it’s really amazing how quickly they come together once we’re all there. It’s a tribute to how these guys are.

FOLK MAMA: You said that you think about it all year, but when does the push really begin?

HENRY: Usually about a month before. About two months before I send out what I jokingly call my Marine Sergeant e-mail and tell the guys that they have to start thinking about what’s coming up here—then once we get within a month we’re really finalizing tunes. We’re continuing that process even until the last couple of days before the show.

FOLK MAMA: Now have you all played together as a foursome in the last year?

HENRY:  Well in this past year no opportunities really came up. But there are always things that crop up that at least some of us play together at. Kevin has his new group “Kevin Neidig and the Fold” and Kevin, Bruce and I play in that band along with Justin Clouser although sometimes that group is a duo or a trio. And then Ken and Bruce Play with Davis Francis play in the Gypsy jazz group called Rue de la Pompe and they have a rotating fourth member when they play their semi monthly gig at The Press Room in Lancaster and I sometimes play with them.  So we’ve had almost a forum of three people.

But that’s part of what makes this concert a special treat because it’s kind of a rare thing for all four of us to get on stage at the same time together.

FOLKMAMA: So what new things are going on with the different band members?

HENRY: We Kevin has been teaching ukulele as well as guitar at The Perfect 5th. Voxology isn’t as active now because Les is living up in Corning, NY, but they still get together and they make Voxology concerts more like special occasions and they book a couple of gigs on the same weekend. But he’s put a lot of energy in his new group called Kevin Neidig and the Fold and we’ve talked about possibly doing a recording. Ken has been working like a madman as always. He’s been doing a lot of bluegrass teaching camp—I guess he calls them bluegrass jam camps. And he’s been very busy with his Celtic group, Irish Mist and leading a lot of Irish sessions in Reading and Philadelphia. Bruce is as always busier than ever playing a lot of jazz gig and he’s actually looking at retiring from his day gig which should give him a little more time. I can see him getting busier than he already is, if that imaginable.

FOLK MAMA: And I know that you Henry play with the Harrisburg Mandolin Ensemble. How active is that right now?

HENRY: We’re keeping busy. We just played a coffeehouse in Northumberland and we’ve been working up all kinds of new material so we’ve got some things lined up this summer but we’re always looking for some new stuff. And now you know that Kevin has joined the group too.