Brian J. Kenny

Brian J. Kenny's notes on "It'a A Mean Season"


Music can heal people; I have seen it: it is real. I touch on this in the title track, and it can be a bit mind-blowing, but both energy and matter can neither be created nor destroyed.

Neither energy nor matter can be created or destroyed. While "It's a Mean Season" was surprising to me on every level, it came from somewhere. I am grateful to have received the energy and the inspiration to make this album, which is the culmination of every day in my life that has lead up to it.

Liner Notes For "It's A Mean Season"


 Here we have a self-described compulsive writer. By the time you’ve cracked your eggs in the morning, he’s already written a song. By the time the toast pops up, he’s finished an album. These aren’t hasty sketches. The layers, concepts and structures (or, more often than not -- non structures) reflect a deep level of channeling, a deft ability to let the muse flow.

Obituary For Darce Chriss


He was a musical healer and he ministered to the north state's senior citizens at community centers between Sacramento and the Oregon border. Seniors would walk into his gigs, but after 15 or 20 minutes, the room was full of 18- and 20-year-olds. Aches would go away, pains would disappear, and spirits would soar. The music rejuvenated and healed; the crowd was reborn.

Deus Ex Machina: Ray Cepeda, iTunes, and the Slow Death of the Music Industry


The iTunes music store recently sold its one-billionth song. This fact is as sobering as it is staggering. Music industry executives, alternating between wearing a brave face and vociferously lamenting the erosion of their beloved intellectual property and distribution rights, are slowly realizing that their business model is a thing of the past. Consumers want choice and for the past fifty-odd years, since the Rock-N-Roll explosion, the music industry has worked to monopolize choice.

Take the case of Albany, Ca. musician Ray Cepeda. After recording his recent album “El Matrimonio del Sol y Luna,” Cepeda decided to sell the album directly to music stores in the Bay Area. He was flatly rejected by every store he approached. “The message was pretty clear,” Cepeda explains, “they told me that they would never buy the album because it would never sell. They told me that the album was a loser and, by extension, I was a loser.” 

Obituary For Sublety


But there will be neither funeral nor memorial service, nor graveside repose
Subltety has perished, slowly, silently, anonymous; unnoticed by all of those
who were fleeing from reality lest their glass houses be rent assunder
in the face of the product divine staring slack-jawed in wonder.

Merle Haggard, Oroville, Ca. 2005: Part of the Backstory to "It's A Mean Season"


I road-tripped to the Merle Haggard show at the Feather Falls Casino in Oroville,Ca the other nght. Fortunately, I travelled with a road-wise prophet. The last place I had slept was in Seoul, Korea. It had been 30ish hours since I had last slept when we arrived at the casino, a hideous neon apparition nestled in the foothills of Oroville. 

I nearly had a nervous breakdown when we walked into the casino. I was assaulted with "git 'er done" camo flame-adorned NASCAR messages borne by mulleted quarter slot jockies. They looked strangely reptilian to me. I swear that those machines are programmed to play their music interactively with the other machines. There are only two things that sell in this world, hope and fear. The casino plays the shill for both hope and fear; hope that the next hit/pull will bring untold riches and deliverance from the pecuniary constraints of this mortal coil and fear that they will run out of currency before they are able to access that selfsame deliverance.

Hunter S Thompson – 7/18/37 – 2/20/05 Father Of Gonzo Journalist, Free-Thinker, Incisive Cultura


He was no choirboy; he was known to start his days with a bloody mary or a shot of chivas regal and a joint or a line of cocaine. He was active and an outdoorsman but he was not a picture of health or a model sextagenarian. 

However, he was a writer of incisive wit who had a deep grasp for the finer points of politics, sport, and culture. His command of language, both the formal and the vernacular, gave his work a level of depth that is seldom found in journalism or cultural criticism and his political writing was always informative and entertaining. He laced is articles with quotes from diverse sources such as Tennyson, Bob Dylan, and the Book of Revelation. He always had a sense of the bigger picture and had a knack for bizarrely concise and fitting analogies that gave hive work a rare intellectual weight.

Songwriters set for Old City Hall - By Jim Dyar


Chances are Britney Spears won't be singing about the plight of American farmers anytime soon. But Redding's Brian Kenny certainly will.

Kenny and others who engage in honest issues are treasured commodities among the newly formed Northstate Songwriters' Group. The group will showcase 15 of its members in a 7:30 p.m. Saturday concert at the Old City Hall Arts Center in Redding.

"When any group of more than one person gathers in the name of music, great things can happen," said Nick Ciampi, who organized the show and will also perform. "We're trying to launch this songwriting group and make people aware that there are really good songwriters here."

In addition to Ciampi and Kenny, who often play together as the Otisville Sluggers, the performance will include radio personalities/songwriters Don Burton and Lorraine Dechter; bluesrock guitarist Aaron Lucero; veteran rocker David Thompson; and recent Bay Area transplant Erin Friedman, a co-founder of the songwriting group.

The Next Bob Dylan: Part of the backstory to "It's A Mean Season"


Unfortunately, there won’t be a “next Bob Dylan,” at least not in any realistic sense. Perhaps there will be Dylan impersonators as there are Elvis impersonators. However, these folks will make the impact on the world that the original has made. The closest thing to the next Dylan is the current, constantly-evolving, human Bob Dylan. He who is “still on the road heading for another joint.” He who “keeps on keepin’ on.” He who is coming to Red Bluff on October 7. Dylan is constant in only his touring and his evolution. The next Bob Dylan is the one who is playing tonight, tomorrow night, and, hopefully, many tomorrows to come. More than likely he will not only continue to change, he will also continue to delight and inspire.

Darce Chriss: Grass Roots, True Country


I was in the presence of Darce Chriss and the Travelers and I was experiencing what Darce calls “true country,” music marked by an implied groove and beautiful ensemble playing. With all of the attention focused on Roots music these days, seeing Darce and the band play is a timely yet timeless experience. The lead guitar lines of Darce and Bill Dale add the high and low end dynamics to the song, while Mary Chriss and the other guitarist, recently Dwayne Walker or Dan Locke, add the cymbal and the drum aspects of the rhythm section. 

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