|Studio album by Bap Kennedy|
|Released||August 3, 2009|
|Label||Lonely Street Discs|
|Bap Kennedy chronology|
Howl On the fourth solo studio album by Bap Kennedy, was released on August 3, 2009 (see 2009 in music) on Kennedy's new label, Lonely Street Discs. Excluding a cover of "Hey Joe", all songs on the album were written by Kennedy. This is the first album he has written and recorded in his native Northern Ireland. This album features songs that were inspired by Kennedy's childhood memories of growing up with the influence of the popular American music rock icons Elvis Presley and Jimi Hendrix and the country music of Hank Williams. The songs also relate to 1960s American political figures: John F. Kennedy and to events: the 1969 moon landing and with Kennedy's childhood obsession with the American Dream. Although the worldwide release was August 3, 2009, the album was released in Northern Ireland on July 4, 2009 with Kennedy's appearance at the Black Box in Belfast.
Kennedy's inspiration for most of the songs on the album came forty years ago when the American astronauts on Apollo 11 landed on the moon on July 20, 1969, when Kennedy was a seven-year-old boy living in Belfast. A month later, Jimi Hendrix's appearance as the final act at the Woodstock Festival with a performance of "Hey Joe" served as further inspiration.
The opening song on the album, "America", reflects on Kennedy's childhood memories dreaming of all things American and when cowboys and the astronauts of the Apollo 11 spacecraft were his heroes. The Skinny comments that "Album opener America is a sentimental look across the ocean with a slow and smooth acoustic-driven beat with laid back vocals that unsurprisingly declare, ‘All I want to do/Is to be like you’.
"Cold War Country Blues" namechecks more of Kennedy's boyhood heroes, Hank Williams, Elvis Presley, John F. Kennedy and Apollo 8 astronaut Jim Lovell. Critic Nic Oliver calls the song, "pure Hank Williams honky-tonk, all toe-tapping melody and acoustic guitar".
The song "Brave Captain" is dedicated to the Apollo 8 crew and on "The Heart of Universal Love", Kennedy imagines the earth as seen from the view of an astronaut standing on the moon and looking up at the illuminated planet in the darkness of space.
"The Ballad of Neil Armstrong" celebrates Apollo 11's mission commander Neil Armstrong and the song "Irish Moon" is Kennedy's ode to another of the three astronauts, Michael Collins, who piloted the spacecraft as the other two astronauts landed on the moon.
A video of "Hey Joe" is a feature on YouTube videos at Kennedy's Official Films: Link on YouTube. This song was previously best known as the debut single by The Jimi Hendrix Experience in 1966. Kennedy's 2009 cover was reviewed and given a four and one-half star rating by Leeds Music Scene with the reviewer commenting on Kennedy's cover: "While some of the lead guitar parts are very 'Hendrix-esque' the overall feel of the song is lot more uplifting than it's [sic] well known predecessor.
Kennedy performed on the Acoustic Stage at the Glastonbury Festival on June 27, 2009, featuring songs from the album, with the official launching in Northern Ireland on July 4, 2009 with Bap Kennedy and his band's appearance at the Black Box in Belfast.
As a promotion before the album's release, Kennedy's website offered a free download of the title track, "Howl On".
|The Irish Times||link|
|Leeds Music Scene||link|
|The Observer||n/r – favourable link|
|RockSnail||n/r – favourable link|
Howl On has been well received by music critics with mostly favourable reviews. MusicOMH calls the album "another object lesson in economic songwriting and solid musicianship." Hot Press rated it four stars and summarizes the album: "Howl On is a lovingly-crafted set of tunes – one giant leap for a talented Belfast man." The LIst also rated it four stars and refers to the album as "his best so far".
- All songs and music by Bap Kennedy, except where noted.
- "America" – 3:05
- "Cold War Country Blues" – 2:22
- "The Right Stuff" – 3:47
- "Irish Moon" – 2:57
- "The Blue One" – 2:23
- "Hey Joe" – (Billy Roberts) – 4:44
- "Howl On" – 4:09
- "One of Those Days" – 3:20
- "Brave Captain" – 2:41
- "The Heart of Universal Love" – 3:27
- "Last Adventure" – 2:29
- "Ballad of Neil Armstrong" – 2:35
- Bap Kennedy – guitar, vocal
- Brenda Kennedy – backing vocals on all tracks except: "America" and "Ballad of Neil Armstrong"
- Pete O'Hanlon – acoustic guitar, electric, rhythm guitar, bass, drums, percussion, backing vocals
- Henry McCullough – lead, rhythm guitar on "Hey Joe"
- Percy Robinson – pedal steel
- Produced by Bap Kennedy
- Engineered, mixed and mastered by Pete O'Hanlon
- Ken Haddock (taken in Nashville, Tennessee 2009)
- "Bap Kennedy: Howl On". amuze.me. Retrieved 2009-06-07.[dead link]
- "Bap's Friends-Bap Kennedy-Gigs and Events". bapsfriends.com. Retrieved 2009-06-11.
- "Howl On. Bap Kennedy album". bapkennedy.com. Retrieved 2009-07-18.
- Allan Valente (2009-07-21). "Bap Kennedy – Howl On". theskinny.co.uk. Retrieved 2009-07-22.
- Oliver, Nic (2009-07-20). "Bap Kennedy – Howl On". MusicOMH. Retrieved 2009-07-22.
- "Bap Kennedy: Hey Joe – CD Review". leedsmusicscene.net. Retrieved 2009-06-11.
- "Future Gigs Events". bapkennedy.com. Retrieved 2009-07-23.
- "Howl On-Free Download". bapkennedy.com. Retrieved 2009-07-18.
- "One giant leap for Belfast man". hotpress.com. Retrieved 2009-07-22.
- Strong, Martin C. (2009-07-23). "Bap Kennedy – Howl On". list.co.uk. Retrieved 2009-07-23.