The Kennedys are an American folk-rock band, consisting of husband and wife Pete and Maura Kennedy. They are recognized for their harmonies and instrumental prowess, blending elements of country music, bluegrass, Western swing and janglepop.
They met in Austin, Texas in 1992, when Pete Kennedy was playing in Nanci Griffith's band. For their first date, they each drove 500 miles to meet at Buddy Holly's grave in Lubbock, Texas.
Soon, Maura Kennedy (née Maura Boudreau) joined Griffith's band as a harmony singer, and the Maura and Pete began their career as a duo when they opened for Griffth during her Ireland tour.
Pete is from the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C. Maura grew up in Syracuse, New York. They lived for many years living in the East Village in New York City, and in 2006 they joined other folk musicians living in Northampton, Massachusetts. They then returned to the East Village in 2008.
Their first album, River of Fallen Stars, was released under the name "Pete and Maura Kennedy"; they released all subsequent albums as "The Kennedys".
Their 1998 album Angel Fire featured many songs with literary references, such as "A Letter To Emily" and "Just Like Henry David".
Performing and Touring
When performing live, Pete plays the acoustic guitar, electric sitar, bass and ukulele, while Maura plays acoustic and electric guitars and uke.
They have performed in clubs and theatres throughout the United States, on a cruise, and at Bill Clinton's first and second inaugurations.
In late 2006, Pete and Maura joined with Chris and Meredith Thompson to form The Strangelings, a folk-rock band prominently featuring Pete's electric sitar. Their first performance was on January 12, 2007. The music includes songs by both the Kennedys and the Thompsons in addition to traditional songs and covers. The current full lineup of The Strangelings includes Pete, Maura, Chris Thompson, Eric Lee on fiddle, Cheryl Prashker on percussion, and Ken Anderson and Rebecca Hall, also known as Hungrytown.
- Nanci Griffith - They toured with Nanci for many years, and recorded on Nanci's Intersections" album. They also released a tribute album, entitled "Dance A Little Closer - the Kennedys Sing the Songs of Nanci Griffith", recorded live in New York in April 2014
- Richard Thompson - They have recorded covers of his compositions "Wall of Death" and "How Will I Ever Be Simple Again". "Anna and the Magic Gown" on Stand is written in the style of Thompson's old band, Fairport Convention
- The Beatles - They include at least one Beatles song at most performances.
- Bob Dylan - They have recorded covers of "Chimes of Freedom" and "A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall". Each year they perform at the Bob Dylan Tribute Festival at the Warwick Valley Winery.
- The Byrds - When they started writing songs, they aimed for a sound similar to The Byrd's "Eight Miles High" which they covered on Songs of the Open Road. They also covered "Here Without You" on Evolver.
- Dave Carter - They often refer to him as the greatest songwriter of his generation. They coveres "Happytown", "Gypsy Rose" and "When I Go"".
- Buddy Holly - Early on, Maura and Pete compared each other's music to Buddy Holly's.
As the Kennedys
- 1995: River of Fallen Stars (Green Linnet)
- 1996: Life is Large (Green Linnet)
- 1998: Angel Fire (Philo)
- 2000: Evolver (Rounder)
- 2001: Positively Live! (JiffyJam)
- 2002: Get It Right (JiffyJam)
- 2003: Stand (Koch)
- 2005: Half a Million Miles (Appleseed)
- 2006: Songs of the Open Road (Appleseed)
- 2008: Better Dreams (Appleseed)
- 2012: Retrospective (Planned Effervescence)
- 2012: Closer Than You Know (Planned Effervescence)
- 2014: Dance A Little Closer: The Kennedys Sing The Songs Of Nanci Griffith (self-released)
- 2015: West (self-released)
As The Stringbusters
- 2007: Rhapsody in Uke (self-released) - an album of Hawaiian/swing/jazz music played largely on ukulele.
As The Snacks
- 2007: Meet the Snacks - An album of rock/pop for children
Pete Kennedy solo recordings
- 1978: Fingers On Fire (Powerhouse) - Pete Kennedy and with Tom Principato - released 2002
- 1992: Channel 3 (Third Floor)
- 1994: Shearwater: The Art of the Unplugged Guitar (Guitar Recordings)
- 2008: Guitarslinger`` (The Kennedys LLC)
- 2014: Tone, Twang, and Taste (Andy Childs)
- 2015: Heart of Gotham (The Kennedys LLC)
Maura Kennedy solo albums
- 2009: Parade of Echoes (Planned Effervescence)
- 2015: Villanelle-Songs of Maura Kennedy and BD Love (Varèse Sarabande)
- 2007: The Nuah Suite DVD (self-released)
- 2007: Season of the Witch (self-released via CD Baby)
- 2005: Bedsit Poets - The Summer That Changed (Bongo Beat)
As primary artist/song contributor
- 1997: various artists - A Holiday Feast, Vol. 2 (Hungry For Music) - track 6, "Nothing But a Child"
- 1999: various artists - Main Stage Live: The Falcon Ridge Folk Festival Album (Signature Sounds) - track 2, "River of Fallen Stars"
- 2000: various artists - Full Circle: a Tribute to Gene Clark (Not Lame) - track 5, "Here Without You"
- 2001: various artists - Americana Motel (Bay Gumbo) - track 13, "Tell Me How"
- 2003: various artists - We Are Each Other's Angels (Hungry For Music) - track 1-18, "Angels Cry"
- 2005: various artists - Remembering Rachel: Songs of Rachel Bissex (Rachel Bissex via CD Baby)) - track 13, "Hey Marianne"
- 2006: various artists - Five Way Street: A Tribute to Buffalo Springfield (Not Lame) - track 17, "Pretty Girl Why"
- 2006: various artists - A Case for Case: A Tribute to the Songs of Peter Case (Hungry For Music) - track 3-2, "Great Big World"
- 2007: various artists - Timeless Flyte, a Tribute to the Byrds: The Byrds Dylan Connection (REO) - track 7, "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere"
- 2012: various artists - Trouble in the Fields: An Artists Tribute to Nanci Griffith (Paradiddle) - track 3, "I'm Not Driving These Wheels"