Influenced by legendary artists like Bonnie Raitt, Paul Simon and Randy Newman, San Francisco based Liz Kennedy puts the unique, inviting stamp of her sandpaper and honey tinged vocals on her latest release Speed Bump. The 14 dynamic folk/blues influenced pop/rock tracks were produced by renowned engineer and producer Joel Jaffe, who helmed Kennedy’s previous recordings, Clean White Shirt, A Good Peach and Nothing Like An Angel. Jaffe’s credits include Maria Muldaur, Lenny Williams and Magic Christian, and he’s also the pivotal guitarist on all the tracks.
From the high flying opening title track through the horn fired, whimsical closing track expressing her desire to write “A Hit Song,” Kennedy, who recorded her first songs in her late forties and began performing in her 50s, tells cleverly spun, deeply lived stories that might not have surfaced in her younger days.. “I’m proud of my age and though I’ve been writing music since I was 12, maybe I’m finally getting somewhere with all this at 62.”
The talented musicians who join her, among the Bay Areas finest, help propel the tracks towards magical stops where the heart and mind can get off and walk around. “Stowaway” is a piano driven pop/folk ballad about a woman being left alone in a new lover’s home, wishing she were “squirreled away in the pocket of your coat.” Colored beautifully with a violin, the traditional flavored tune “Half Sad” reflects the precarious junction of longing and moving on. Kennedy also has a moment of spirited fun with male/female communication in “Take A Break” before engaging the listener with the love song “Arugula” … “you’re the sting on my lips” … and the image rich, autobiographical “Raised By The Orange Trees”. One of the most touching pieces is the haunting and poignant “How Was Your Life,” a speculation on how past lovers might catch up after 30 years have passed.
“The songs and production on Speed Bump are what I have always envisioned as an artist,” says Kennedy. “I like the diversity of the songs and I guess that might come from being of a certain age. I’m old enough to have found some style and not to try to impress anyone. I’m deeply interested in making music and enjoy the surprise of what I can create. And you never know, maybe other lives will be nudged by my songs.”