Songs inspired by New
York City with a touch of melodic rock
HEART OF GOTHAM marks singer-songwriter Pete Kennedy’s first solo album in two decades, which was recorded over a five-year period in his Manhattan studio. As part of the band, The Kennedys, which he formed with his wife, Maura, more than 20 years ago, he has focussed on a roots-rock, Americana sound. But this new venture is all his own work, with a definite rockier theme.
Union Square, The Bells Rang and Williamsburg Bridge showcase Kennedy’s alternative, whispery rock vocals, with a focus on storytelling. It’s clear New York has inspired this album, so much so that you can hear it in the grain of the lyrics. Kennedy wrote it during early morning coffee breaks at an East Village diner and his interpretation of the city’s diversity and characters is fascinating.
The songs do take on a similar vibe and tone throughout the album, which is probably down to Kennedy’s trademark husky vocals. This is changed up in the track, Asphodel, which takes on faster guitar work, with a 70s flavour and, Riot In Bushwick, displays a rock ‘n’ roll feel that offers variety.
The highlight of this album has to be a New Yorker’s perception of his city as he sings about the people and surroundings of such a vibrant and diverse place.
‘The Chrysler Building and the Empire State entwine, Kundalini rising up a granite spire/ While the hawks circle over Central Park/ They scan the skies and wait for dawn to spark. New York.’
– New York. Megan Gnad