Gig review: The Kennedys, Glasgow

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THIS New York husband and wife Americana duo – Pete and Maura Kennedy – count Steve Earle, the Byrds’ Roger McGuinn and particularly Nanci Griffith (in whose band they play, and to whom this show was dedicated) among their admirers.

The Kennedys - Wood End, Glasgow

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And yet they continue to fly quite happily under-the-radar almost two decades into their career, touring routinely on both sides of the Atlantic.

They arrived for a Glasgow date at one of the Sounds in the Suburbs events at Jordanhill’s Woodend Bowling Club, ostensibly in support of new album Closer Than You Know – the latest of 11 studio sets since 1995, all of which are well worth investigating if this intimate, cheerful and enjoyable set (or pair of sets) was any measure.

Their originals embrace strummy folk-rock classicism, drawing on the Byrds, Dylan, Patsy Cline (all the good stuff), and inspired by slice-of-life tales from their East Village home patch (9th St Billy) or iconic literature (the Kerouac-influenced The Midnight Ghost).

But they’re solid interpreters too, and tribute covers came to dominate, with excellent takes on Nick Lowe’s Ragin Eyes’ and English folk song Matty Groves.

In the second half we got the obscure and the famous – from Dave Carter’s When I Go to Dylan’s A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall – and a party-piece by Pete of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue played on ukulele. The uke doubled as his guitar slide in Buddy Holly’s Not Fade Away, which peaked with the Kennedys leaning back-to-back, instruments raised triumphantly as they played. Because even an acoustic show in a suburban bowling club can be rock’n’roll.