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The Kennedys with Robinson Treacher ~ 2017 March 18 ~ Stone Soup Coffeehouse ~ Pawtucket, RI

... by Joanne Corsano ...

Pete and Maura Kennedy
Pete and Maura Kennedy
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of the concert

Maura Kennedy, vocals, guitar; Pete Kennedy, vocals, guitar, ukelele; Robinson Treacher, guitar and vocal, opening set

Set List

Life Is Large - Southern Jumbo - Fireflies - I'll Come Over - Gulf Coast Highway {Nanci Griffith} - Riot in Bushwick - Mad Russian - Travel Day Blues - Johnny B. Goode {Chuck Berry} ... intermission ... Half a Million Miles - Dharma Café - River of Fallen Stars - 9th Street Billy - Trouble in the Fields {Nanci Griffith} - Nua - Rhapsody in Blue [on ukelele] - Big Star Song - Don't Talk to Strangers - The Midnight Ghost ... encore ... Stand


Half a Million Miles

Dharma Café


Pete and Maura are a sparkling musical duo that are doing folk music right. Maura has a delightfully strong and clear singing voice, Pete has a delicate touch on the guitar that has to be seen to be believed, and they compliment each other beautifully; Maura plays a beautiful Southern Jumbo guitar, and Pete sings an effective harmony and sometimes lead vocal. Their personalities shine with every note they play or sing, and every introduction to a song. They are good natured and enjoy themselves, and they are sometimes very funny -- Pete in particular has a dry, somewhat unexpected sense of humor ("Rhapsody in Blue" on the ukelele, anyone?) -- but they have a very serious side too. Their awareness of what is going on in the current political climate and their infectious sense of fun do not conflict. They do covers when it suits them (or the audience), but they also have a deep catalog of original material to draw from. There was sad news in the musical world today: Chuck Berry died at age 90. In tribute, Pete and Maura performed their Chuck Berry-influenced "Travel Day Blues" and segued immediately into "Johnny B. Goode," during which Pete hopped off the little stage and did a rampagin' duck walk around the audience.

As they usually do at most of their shows, they asked for the audience to make requests during the intermission. The all-request second set veered from the very obscure ("Nua," "Big Star Song") to the familiar ("Dharma Café," "9th Street Billy"), included a new song, "Don't Talk to Strangers," and provided the anthem of the evening with "Stand" as the encore. Maura told the story of how the duo wrote "Don't Talk to Strangers" and performed it while it was still hot out of the oven on a radio interview in Florida, and when requests immediately started to flood in from other DJs for a recorded version, they cut the track as their "first ever" internet single, and made it available on CD Baby and iTunes. All proceeds from the single will be donated to the ACLU ... so go and buy yourself a download.

The show was opened by Robinson Treacher, an up and coming singer songwriter with a big voice. His brief set featured an a cappella number and a couple of gospel- and soul-tinged numbers, without departing from the folk realm. He seems like a nice young man with a boatload of songwriting talent, and he sure has a look.

For the second time in two weeks, Concert Going Partner and I visited a venerable folk venue that we'd never been to before. Housed on the second floor of the visitor center at Slater Mill, a historic site where in 1793 the first cotton-spinning factory in the United States was founded, the Stone Soup Coffeehouse hosts frequent concerts on weekends throughout the fall, winter, and spring. The site is now a museum, and very much worth a visit for those interested in history and industrial technology. The performance space sported an attractive red banner behind the stage, declaring 30 years of music. The stage was small and only a couple of inches high, but the intimacy of the space (about three rows of chairs arranged in a semi-circle around the stage) guaranteed a good view for all. I'm thinking that I need to stop going to folk concerts, 'cause the intermission cookies are just getting better and better.

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