Kennedy Follows His Heart From Nashville To Ireland
“I just followed my heart, that’s what lead me to Nashville in the first place. And that’s what I’m doing now too, by deciding to come back home to spend more time with my family. I’m just following my heart again.”
Those are the words of singer/songwriter Pete Kennedy, one of the many star names on the bill for this year’s Harvest Fest music event in August, as he spoke for the first time about his decision to leave Nashville and return to Ireland on a full-time basis. Kennedy, a dad of four, lost his own father in tragic circumstances when he was just a boy himself. So not having a parent around is, he reveals, “…sadly something I know too much about.”
The Offaly man continued, “Audrey [Pete’s wife] and I have a young family, and the heartache I felt each time I’d leave to head back to Nashville is something I can’t even describe. I mean, I love Nashville, the city and the people. And I’ve had some of the most amazing experiences there. And for my career, Nashville, as the home of country music, well that was the only place to be. But for my heart, home is wherever my family are. And for right now, that’s going to be Offaly again. I’ll still be writing songs, still looking to perform whenever I can, but most importantly, I’ll get to be home at night to tuck my children into bed, and there in the morning when they wake up. I’ve missed a lot of nights and days like that, and I don’t want to miss anymore.”
So while Kennedy is calling time (at least for the time being) on his long and regular stays in Nashville, the two-time BCMA (British Country Music Awards) Album of the Year winner is by no means pressing the pause button on his career. In fact, his participation in this year’s eagerly awaited Harvest Fest event promises to be one of the highlights of his career to date.
“I can’t wait for it, it’s going to be amazing. Not only will we have ACM history maker Miranda Lambert (Female Vocalist of the Year for EIGHT years in a row) right here in Ireland, but also the legendary Charley Pride, too. And so many more wonderful artists from the States, and of course some of the best from here at home. I’ll be part of a very special songwriters’ session that’s going to be happening, with people like Earl ‘Bud’ Lee and Victoria Shaw, both of whom have written super-huge hits for Garth Brooks, among many others. It’s more than just a pleasure to be involved, although it’s certainly that. It’s an honour. And fans are in for a treat. And I think I say that as much as a fan myself as I do as a performer!”
“So yeah”, Kennedy concluded, “I’m looking at this as just a change in the location of where my career is based, but my career itself, that’s still the same. I’m a songwriter and I’m a performer. And I’ll be looking forward to doing much more of both around Ireland again. But by far the most important thing of all for me is that I can do that with my family. As a songwriter, you get used to listening to your heart. But I guess as a man, or a father, you can sometimes forget the importance of that. But when you hear it, you can’t deny it. And like I said, that’s why I’m home again, just following my heart.”
Find Pete online
* Harvest Fest 2017 takes place at Westport House and Enniskillen Airport on August 26th and 27th.
His contribution to the Irish music scene has been recognised by his inclusion in the entertainment industry directory, the Hot Press Yearbook 2017, which is the essential music and media who's-who in Ireland. Anthony was also asked to present John Farry (Nathan Carter's manager) with his award for Best Original Album at the 2017 Hot Country Awards and in 2015 presented Lisa McHugh with her Female Entertainer of the Year award.
In his role with HEM Country, Anthony has interviewed many artists who are well known names on the international stage, among them Clare Bowen, Imelda May, and Una Healy, as well as rising stars like Courtney Marie Andrews. Anthony's features for HEM Country have also helped to shine a spotlight on many of the best Irish country acts like Robert Mizzell, Cliona Hagan, Barry Kirwan, Bernie Heaney, and Hurricane Highway, bringing their talent and achievements to an even wider audience.
During his time writing 'On The Right TRAX', Anthony has interviewed most of the biggest stars on the Irish country scene, including Mike Denver, Nathan Carter, Lisa McHugh, Philomena Begley, Sandy Kelly, and Derek Ryan. He has also chatted with international artists such as Sunny Sweeney, Jim Rooney, Max T. Barnes, the late George Hamilton IV, and Tony Christie.
Anthony's sphere of influence extends well past the boundaries of country music, however, with time spent in conversation with international popstar Kiesza also to his credit. He has also shared time with several other artists from the Emerald Isle whose fame reaches beyond those shores, including Mundy, The Fureys, Frances Black, Pete Kennedy, Rackhouse Pilfer, The 4 of Us, Roisin O, Ham Sandwich and Mick Flannery.
As a writer, lyricist, and poet himself, however, songwriters have a very special place in Anthony's heart and some of his favourite interviews (together with the songwriters already mentioned) include those with Jimmy McCarthy, Johnny McEvoy, Charlie McGettigan, Kieran Goss, and Niall Toner.
Other household names whom Anthony has interviewed for 'On The Right TRAX' are the famous comedians Tommy Tiernan, Des Bishop, Neil Delamere, Jason Byrne, Andrew Maxwell, and Brendan Grace, as well as celebrity chef Rachel Allen, and television presenter Kathryn Thomas.
Anthony also does some artist representation and PR work, and has successfully secured national television and radio appearances for Irish and American artists.