“Connecting with music kept me out of trouble—a lot of the kids I knew when I was younger ended up in jail.” says Kennedy, who grew up in a working-class neighborhood of the upstate New York town of Saugerties.
Connor Kennedy was raised near Woodstock NY, a region well known for its prior musical contributions (the Big Pink house made famous by Bob Dylan and The Band is right up the road). He started on guitar at 10 and by 13 was playing open mics and writing songs. Initially timid about performing his tunes, he honed his live chops as a solo blues player. At 14, he got a job emptying trash cans at Levon Helm's celebrated Midnight Ramble events in exchange for free admission. “I’d sit right behind Levon and watch him play,” he recalls. “It taught me so much."
Kennedy’s songwriting confidence was bolstered by his 2013 solo debut, Nothing Lasts: Nothing’s Over, a rag-tag collection of tunes he'd written throughout his latter adolescence. The buzz kicked up by his soulful indie rock led to rabidly received opening slots on North American tours with The Waterboys and Gipsy Kings.
Although his songs have proud links to earlier styles, by no means is Kennedy overly beholden the brown suede and buckskin of decades past. “I think The Flaming Lips deserve to be called Americana as much as anyone,” he says. “I’ve been influenced by The Lips as much as I have The Band.” <br>