American folk duo, The Kennedys, have a busy year ahead of them. Singer/songwriters Pete and Maura, who have been performing together for two whole decades, plan on releasing three different records in 2015. The first of these, West, will be exclusive to Ireland and Britain when it hits on April 13th, preceding a UK tour at the beginning of May.

The album’s eponymous opening track is an altogether innocuous affair that blends together elements of folk and country and western. Its warm, relaxing riff and soft melody serve as a pleasant starting point.

“Elegy” features cool and crisp guitars that develop into an enthralling riff bordering on classical about three-quarters of the way in. A rousing harmony persists throughout the pressing instrumentation and is particularly arresting.

Musically, “Sister of the Road” has quite a sentimental feel, affording it a compassionate air. The transfixing vocal work washes over the senses and captivates entirely from beginning to end. “Signs” exhibits another mesmerising melody amid guitars that are a little more dark and serious. There’s something both intriguing and exciting about it all as it trucks along at a steady pace.

Light and breezy instrumentation joins upbeat, reassuring vocals during “Jubilee Time.” This song acts like it doesn’t have a care in the world, emanating a contented and unconcerned atmosphere.

Exotic guitars and romantic lyrics breathe life into “Locket”. Their heartwarming disposition results in a touching and amiable love song. The cheeriness continues into “Southern Jumbo”, which is a bright and jovial entry. Its music and melody glide along merrily, evoking feelings of joy and happiness.

The guitars and vocals of “Black Snake, White Snake” build steadily, forging a strikingly stirring and powerful piece. “Bodhisattva Blues” follows along whimsically with riveting instrumentation and a swift melody. “Travel Day Blues” opts for a heavier approach, recalling the rock and roll anthems of artists such as Chuck Berry while adding a country spin. It’s an irresistibly enthusiastic addition, loaded with energetic vocals and vigorous riffs.

The hushed acoustic guitars and optimistic vocal work of “The Queen of Hollywood High” develop gradually to become lively and hectic, building suspense and anticipation as they do so.

“Perfect Love” is a bustling ballad with a tender melody and spirited instrumentation, after which a mellow acoustic riff and sobering lyrics take over for “Good, Better, Best”. Its affecting tune ensures that it serves as an eloquent finale.

The Kennedys’ work here showcases a splendid blend of acoustic folk and easy listening pop. West is a collection of thirteen enchanting tracks whose heartfelt and passionate execution makes for a wonderful listening experience. Be sure to check the album out upon its release in April and in the meantime, head over to Facebook and Twitter to keep up to date with the band.

Graduate of NUI Maynooth's Department of English, passionate writer of fiction and creative non-fiction alike. Mad about music, movies and books. If there's anything I enjoy more than listening, watching and reading, it's writing about what I listen to, watch and read! Check me out at davecsimpson.wordpress.com, find me on Twitter @davesimpson1 or drop me a line at dave@puremzine.com