Being that I first listened to the advance copy of Better Dreams on my birthday, I'd like to thank Pete and Maura for the birthday present. It brightened my day indeed.
After being somewhat disappointed by their 2006 disc of covers Songs Of The Open Road, you can imagine my absolute elation when, three songs into 'Better Dreams' I knew I had Pete and Maura back where I've loved them: Joyous 'n jangling; Maura's hopeful, soothing, and effervescent voice filling the room with those first hints of sunlight after dreaming.
There's not a song on 'Better Dreams' (well, maybe the closing track, Pacé which teeters too close to New Age for my taste) that's not a full-fledged Kennedy's song. All the beloved elements of this uniquely gifted duo come to the fore from the get-go: The assuring counsel of Breathe. The chiming, summer-single bop of Speed of Soul. Driven by Pete's electric sitar, I Found a Road is as catchy and full of Maura's playful girlishness as any love song before it. "No vineyards left for the autumn wine to sip among the bowers" is just some of the poetry found in No Mornings.
But as every American knows, there are sinister nightmares a-many and The Kennedy's, as we all are or damn well should be, are troubled by them. Thus unfolds the driving Give Me Back My Country followed by the folksy resonance of American Wish. As if taken from any page of our early industrial history, last year's Sago Mine disaster, a national nightmare made all too real by the publicity and 24 hour news coverage, is the source of the Appalachian haunted Sago Mine.
In summary, Better Dreams further evolves the grand tradition the Kennedy's have forged throughout their long, traveling careers: Honest-to-God music made by honest-to-God people.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2008, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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