Kennedys – Stand
Right from the start (with their shimmering 1995 debut River Of Fallen Stars), Pete and Maura Kennedy emphatically positioned themselves among the finest male/female duos of roots-based contemporary music.
Their approach is more pop-oriented than that of Richard & Linda Thompson, more folk than Buddy & Julie Miller, more rock than Dave Carter & Tracy Grammer, and more tilted toward female vocals than Clive Gregson & Christine Collister. Roll all of that together, add abiding affections for 12-string guitar, Buddy Holly, and a socio-political bent grounded in the ’60s, and you’re close to zeroing in on the Kennedys’ graceful, uplifting sound.
Long based in the D.C. area, the Kennedys relocated to New York City’s Greenwich Village in the aftermath of September 11. Stand (their sixth studio disc and seventh overall) presents the combo’s passionate folk-rock in a light that is at once more stylistically diverse, less linear and more emotionally focused.
Everything clicks on this understated, literate, elegant beauty. Just two of the twelve tracks are covers — the Nields’ sublime “Easy People” and the closing send-off of the late Dave Carter’s spiritually-charged “When I Go”. But it’s the slinky, inspired title track, with its sublime incorporation of Curtis Mayfield’s “People Get Ready”, that covers the cost (and then some).