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Instead of focusing on a new album release, I’m going to look back at an album that was released almost a year ago to the day in North America but was just released in the United Kingdom in early September.
Mo Kenney has emerged as one of Atlantic Canada’s most beloved singer-songwriters, and her sophomore album In My Dreams was critically acclaimed last year. It was awarded the 2015 East Coast Music Association’s Pop Recording of the Year and her lead single “Telephones” was nominated for Song of the Year. It’s been a terrific twelve months for the 25-year old native of Waverley, Nova Scotia, who currently is in the United Kingdom, touring solo in support of her album.
It only takes a single listen of In My Dreams to understand why thousands of fans across Canada and overseas have been drawn to Kenney, whose folk-pop style is comparable to Joel Plaskett. In addition, like many artists from the east coast, her songs are stories, some personal and many often about other people or characters. The album opens with the smooth and acoustic “I Faked It”, on which Kenney showcases some excellent guitar work. The pop single, “Take Me Outside”, follows, and despite its summery feel Kenney tells the story of a down-on-her-luck individual.
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The fantastic “Telephones” anchors the entire album. The song is filled with some terrific lyrics about a broken relationship, such as:
I have a strong heart but you play too rough
You listen to techno I hate that stuff
At people’s parties hey we don’t say much
But when we’re alone together talking like babies
I know just how to keep you in my head
If I had another lover could I keep you on the side
The song also shows one of Kenney’s great strengths – her ability to take simple arrangements and limited instruments to create an infectious melody and a lively mood. She applies the same approach to create a variety of different moves, such as on the mellow but delirious “Field Song”, the dreamy title track, “In My Dreams”, and the lush and beautiful “Wind Will Blow”.
Kenney, though, also expands her musical palette beyond the folk-pop realm. “Mountains To The Messes” is grinding, folk-rock tune. It shows a gritty side of Kenney and one that is blisteringly awesome. “Untouchable”, likewise, is a fantastic, soulful indie-rock number. Kenney’s voice takes on a smokey nature, showing an unexpected diversity that extends well beyond her instruments.
You can catch this rising star right now if you reside in Europe. Kenney only has one North American date on her calendar, but no other dates have been confirmed. See tour dates below.
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Mo Kenney Tour Dates
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