Welcome to the twenty sixth instalment of Monday #MusicMatters as part of the JAMS Canada PRO Series – “Here’s What I Know”.
We caught up with Joe Kennedy for his insight in Christian Music
As a Christian Singer/Songwriter, what are your aspirations and goals?
I have written a number of songs that enfold the topic of faith, hope and love. I intend to have them heard as an album of songs; maybe an EP or full length. I have waffled back and forth on keeping them topical and therefore release them in small EP format. I could easily form a theme in each of these EP’s.
I would like to perform more but the present situation has left that answer unattainable at the moment. As we know, close contact performance is unadvised. Before the Pandemic, I was just beginning to play these songs live. My first concert was at my church. It felt close and safe to play songs that are very personal and heartfelt.
When you write your songs, what is your process?
The spirit of God is a big director to my musical endeavours. I listen to my heart and when an idea manifests, I put it to thought and begin; whether it is music first or lyric I ponder the idea and always pray about what this concept is. I always focus on how will this play a part in the human condition and how we interact with God. As a Roman Catholic Deacon, I am preaching and thereby always writing a sermon or “homily” monthly. There is a similar process to that and I use the same steps in editing and rewriting concepts. God is present throughout. I hope.
Having worked in a music store for many years, what are some lessons you learned that would help other musicians?
As a guitar player and singer, as well as working the retail market in music for as long as I have, I have always been excited to see a person come into their calling of being a musician. I have seen many begin and excel at different paces. I would tell anyone to try and fall in love with a musical instrument and see what it does for you personally. If you can add your voice to the mix, it is an amazing bonus. Even talking the words of a song while playing, a la Leanard Cohen, the experience of hearing the two instruments together will be a spiritual moment and thereby life changing. When I am stressed, my happy place is with my guitar and my voice. I can get a lot out of my system and replace it with a new rhythm with melody.
You are also a guitar repair technician so what are some things musicians should know about caring for their guitars?
The guitar will sound only as good as it feels for both of you. It is wonderful to play a well intonated setup and tuned instrument. New strings are not expensive and even if you buy cheap and change often, your guitar will thank you for it and so will your music.
How has COVID-19 impacted your life? What good things will you bring forward and what will you leave behind?
Covid19 is a life changing experience for many. On one hand, I feel exasperated by the constant barrage of information that we get daily. This will affect me from day to day of course. But the long term effect on my way of life is devastating. As I mentioned, my music is taking a direct hit, not to mention my emotional state. I pray that we will all come through this, in some way, changed for the better once the dust settles. I believe there are things in our society that will change for the better that should have changed by natural human direction. By this, I mean the real importance of money, stuff and human rights and dignity. Each person needs to place them in their own order of importance but there is the greater good to which we all need to come to a consensus that will be for everyone. Caritas, God love, is so important in the process of human development and in these present times.
Isn’t it wonderful that we have the many gifts we can share with each other that lifts the human spirit. Music is at the forefront for millions of people to accomplish this. Please keep singing and playing the love song of life to each other. God Bless.
I was born in St John New Brunswick on the east coast of Canada in the early sixties. I lived in Toronto from age four and at thirteen Moved around Ontario a few times. I was quite independent at sixteen and set out to make my own way. My musical beginnings started from family roots in country music and led to performing in bands at eighteen.
I came to Belleville Ontario Canada in 1982 playing in a family band called the Renegades. I have played in various groups over the years including: The Kennedy Brothers Band, Blind Archer, Blue Zoo, Cup of Joe and the Grind and Ed’s Garage. By the early nineties, my formal vocal training took root in St Michael’s Choir as tenor and leader of song. In 2011 I was ordained Deacon in the Roman Catholic Church.
I have worked in music retail since the mid 80’s. I repaired guitars since I first held one and have brought this with me through the music stores I have worked in; starting with Centre Stage Music in Kingston, Harmony Music Plus in Belleville and Pinnacle Music Studios in Belleville. I love to teach new players some of what I have learned over the years.
Now that Pinnacle Music Studios retail has ended, I have started my own business called “Joe Kennedy Guitar Repairs” I can be contacted through Facebook to arrange an appointment to have your guitar or any stringed instrument repaired or set up.
I write Christian songs that encompass the hard knocks and the precious moments of love and compassion that enter our life. I have applied my pastoral knowledge and experience to my song writing. I express the needs of the human journey through my songs and hope that I will strike a chord in the hearts of those who listen; that I may convey love, hope and faith in one’s life.
My eclectic music background in country, folk, rock and blues enables me to add this variation to my original songs. Once I found my voice in my original compositions, my musical background shone through more intensely. The songs I write embody all that I have seen and done over the years.
My intention is to gain a following and apply my art through my solo efforts as a singer/songwriter/guitar player.
Find out more about Joe on his Facebook page @JoeKennedyGuitarRepairs
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