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Kerry Kenny Band Debuts With Genre-Bending New LP ‘Pining Time’

kerry kenny

Kerry Kenny is a veteran of the stage whose musical journey started as soon as she could walk. Raised in a Scranton, Pennsylvania Irish Pub, Kerry grew up entertaining. She performed as part of the popular local sibling group, The Kenny Kids. Music has remained at the center of Kerry’s life, ever since.

As an adult, Kerry Kenny has continued to create with insatiable curiosity. The multitalented musician has traveled throughout Europe and Asia performing, studying composition, and teaching. Her eclectic sound reflects the songwriter’s international biography.

Pining Time is the debut album from Kerry Kenny Band, released worldwide via all major streaming services on March 17, 2023. The twelve-song set is a fun genre-bending ride with a virtuosic set of players. At their helm is a versatile and talented bandleader and storyteller who also loves a good jam session.

From the sexy country funk of “Wake Me ” to the epic 8:19 dark-pop/art-rock meditation “Vultures”, Kerry Kenny and her band mix folk traditions, pop sensibilities, and a jam-band soul. A band of apparently boundless versatility, they swing a melancholy country waltz (“Aerosol”) with the same ease as they do a fiddle-infused tango groove (“Zapatos”).

The blues beats at the heart of all of Kerry Kenny’s stylistic explorations. She and the band lay down some swampy bayou grooves on sultry and rhythmic tracks like “Good”, “Jockey Full of Bourbon”, and “Freddie”. The group adds plenty of rock & roll to the sauce as well. 

The title track’s funky main riff kicks off an epic anthem built on equal parts Broadway, chamber-pop, and 60’s psychedelic rock. On “Vultures”, Kerry Kenny sings esoteric and visual poetry over a dark and bluesy meditation that introduces a healthy dose of 70s art-rock to the sound. The record closes on a super cute home recording of The Kenny Kids singing some good ole mountain music.

Watch a partially animated Kerry Kenny traverse the streets of Midtown Manhattan in the title track “Pining Time” video below. You can also hear that song and “Aerosol” on the Deep Indie Dive playlist, or listen to the entire album on your favorite streaming service. We had the chance to chat with Kerry Kenny about the record. Check out her answers to our 8 questions below. And follow the links at the end of this article to connect with Kerry Kenny Band.

8 Questions with Kerry Kenny

Kerry Kenny Band Debuts With Genre-Bending New LP 'Pining Time' 1
Kerry Kenny

Where are you from?

Kerry Kenny: I was born in New Jersey but raised in Archbald, PA, near Scranton. My great-Grandmother from Ireland lost her husband and two of her sons in the mines in NEPA and, soon after, she built Kenny’s Pub. The Pub is still going to this day. We moved back from NJ to run the Pub when I was in kindergarten. As a result, I was brought up in a very hardworking, social atmosphere where you have no choice but to be extroverted, friendly and “on stage,” almost all the time. Both sides of my family have music in them,  but the Kenny’s were exceptional musicians and performers. 

Side note: My grandfather (the youngest of 13) was ordered to run the Pub to save him from having to work the mines. In the meantime, his older brother had an incident (where some mules escaped) and he was fired from the local mining operation. That brother decided to take tap dancing lessons in Scranton as a way to perform and earn money. He would come back home and teach his 11 siblings everything he learned. As a result, there was always a show at Kenny’s Pub. It was a very welcoming and busy place with a lot of character…and characters.

How long have you been making music?

I have been making music since toddlerhood (evidenced by the last track on the album). Check out “Boil That Cabbage Down” sung with my Dad and brother when I was 4.

Who are the musicians involved in your project?

Musicians on the album “Pining Time”:

Kerry Kenny on vocals, backing harmonies, rhythm guitar and bodhran (Irish drum)

John Ruffi on Lead Guitar

Jon Ventre & Paul Kuzik on Bass Guitars

John Kennedy on Rhythm guitar

Mark Woodyatt on Violin

Mark Grasso on Drums and Percussion

Tara Kenny, Erin Kenny, Jimmy Kenny (Siblings) – on Backing Vocals.

Who are your biggest musical influences?

Kerry Kenny: I adore Elvis Costello – He’s always been my absolute favorite. I also love the songwriting and performance style of Tom Waits. The female influences are many and varied: PJ Harvey, Lauryn Hill, Kate Pierson, Patsy Cline, Grace Slick, Linda Ronstadt, Chrissie Hyde, Tina Turner, Joan Jett, Carly Simon, and the list goes on and on. 

In terms of personally-connected musical influences, I grew up sitting in front of the stereo and scouring my Dad’s record collection. I memorized every lyric to every Dolly Parton song, every single note on Elton John’s “Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy,” and mimicked every one of John Fogerty’s twangs (to name a few of Dad’s albums off the top of my head). My Dad’s record collection also included Dave Brubeck, the Kingston Trio (his favorite), Wayne Newton, Barbara Streisand, Dionne Warwick, The Four Tops, and tons of Beatles. I practically wore those albums through. My Dad also taught me to sing at a very young age – as evidenced on the last track on the album. 🙂 He and I are the music trivia nuts you want on your trivia team. I call him now and we talk on and on about songwriters and bands. I love talking to my Dad. He’s my BFF.

My Aunt Theresa (my Dad’s sister) was a professional pianist. She was a prodigy and, as a result, was a pretty consistent entertainer since the age of 4 or 6 at the family Pub. Aunt Theresa was an incredibly strong influence on my musical pursuits. When I was a young child, she taught my brother, sister, cousin and myself traditional Irish music and we formed a troupe called: “The Kenny Kids.” We also learned Irish dance and performed throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania. We were featured on local television. 😊  

Before she passed away unexpectedly, she and I performed jazz standards and show tunes around the Scranton area when I was in my late teens. I was belting out Judy Garland’s “The Man that Got Away,” long before I even knew what those feelings felt like. 

Funny, since I heard Judy Garland’s version just a few weeks ago and I became entirely goosebumps. No one can top her performance.

What is your greatest non-musical influence?

Kerry Kenny: From a writing perspective, I’ve been fortunate to have had some amazing teachers.  My grade school English teacher, Mr Andy Tomcavage got me psyched about grammar and analyzing text (yes, people can actually like such things). My sophomore English teacher in high school, Mr Mark Clarke was a huge influence when he introduced the idea of music as poetry. We studied every line of Paul Simon’s, “Sound of Silence” and I was in heaven. When I took Mr. Vincent Vanston’s Creative Writing class at Scranton Prep, my writing took off. Some of my pieces were chosen to be published for the school and I began to realize I could write a bit. Later, at the University of Scranton, I was able to study with the brilliant and inspiring professor, Jay Hill. His encouragement gave me the courage to write songs for my college band. I never looked back.

The biggest influence however, I would have to say is my mother — though I would never call her “non-musical.” She loved Elvis, Rod Stewart, Cindy Lauper and would often be seen rocking out to Cypress Hill’s “Insane in the Brain.” She embraced all styles of music and liked hip hop a lot. My mom was hilarious and always encouraged me to perform. Besides my Aunt Theresa, my mother was a force behind “The Kenny Kids.” She was proud that her kids could sing. Don’t worry – she kept us in line too. She was completely unselfish and dedicated to her family in every way. I lost her in 2021 so, I am still deeply grieving that.

What inspired you to create this project? 

Kerry Kenny: I have been writing songs since I was a kid. Recently, I have had so many experiences that have taught me that life is short!  So, I finally want to focus on getting my art out there into the world – – documented.   I would give anything to have my mom hear this album. She would love it – all of it – but especially the fact that I dip into various genres. She would so appreciate the musicianship. She would be over the moon and so proud. I’m very grateful I get to share it all with my Dad. He is thrilled about it. I even brought him to the studio to see the process. He loved seeing how much recording has changed since the days when he was using DAT.

What are your plans for the future (musically)?

Kerry Kenny: Our future holds an upcoming US and International tour and many more albums and EPs. I am already back in the studio recording and have more songs written than I know what to do with. I am enjoying focusing on professional songwriting and aspire to get my music into films. I studied Film Scoring at NYU in their Music Technology Program. While at NYU, my professor said: “Good luck pursuing this as a woman. You never see any female names listed for music credits in films.” That kind of soured me on the idea and I gave it up. After that, I studied at the Academy of Music in Krakow, Poland and with my Professor’s unlimited encouragement (Prof Marek Choloniewski), I pursued computer music composition, did animated film scoring, and wrote musical theatre. I loved all of it so much. 

Is there anything else you would like to say?

Kerry Kenny: I am beyond grateful for being surrounded by such amazing musicians who I can truly call friends. Everyone involved in the project has been so excited about the Kerry Kenny Band and so supportive. Our live shows are a testament to that. We bring Madison Square Garden energy to every single show we play. It does not matter the venue or how many people are in attendance. 

I also have the gift of being able to make music with my partner Mark (drummer on the album). Mark is an absolute force of nature. No one has more energy and passion for this Band and this business. Everyone in the band sees that in him. 

Lastly, there are no words to express my love and appreciation for my family and my two incredible sons. My boys are brilliant, creative individuals (spoken by a true Mama). We are so close and they have been extremely supportive of my career. They are so happy that I am living my truth and being my creative self. They make me the happiest Mama on the planet.