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Brian Kennedy The Very Best Of Review

Compilation. Released 2010.  

BBC Review

The gentle bard’s best of set marks 20 years in the business.

Adrian Edwards 2010

This personable Irishman celebrates 20 years in the music business with this best of compilation. Across the course of his career he’s attracted several famous fans – former US President Bill Clinton to name one – and enjoyed a large following on MOR radio stations.

Sometimes his songs have been linked to external events. You Raise Me Up, his highest-charting UK hit, rose to number four in the wake of his performance at the funeral of the footballer George Best. Its anthem-like tones are from the same school as Bring Him Home from Les Miserables, challenging for a while the supremacy of You’ll Never Walk Alone.

In 2006 Brian Kennedy represented Ireland at the Eurovision song contest with Every Song Is a Cry for Love, which earned him a respectable tenth place in the voting shenanigans of that annual songfest. Another career highlight was his appearance in the Broadway production of Riverdance, with a special set written by Bill Whelan. A fellow Irishman, actor Adrian Dunbar, joins him for the breezy Curragh of Kildare, and the sweet-voiced Juliet Turner duets on The Island, a song that hints at recent troubles (“They say that skies of lemon are a burnin’ / those mighty cedars bleedin’ in the heat…”) but softens its message by apologising that it wasn’t meant to be like this. 

However, the pithy message of the fast moving Get on With Your Short Life hits home, likewise Life Love and Happiness, though its impact loses out somewhat in the welter of the production. Kennedy clearly identifies with the poetic verses of traditional Irish song Carrickfergus as much as he does the reflective nocturnal musings on Christopher Street (in New York’s Greenwich Village), which is prefaced by a tender guitar introduction. He seems at home as the gentle bard who has won a place in so many hearts, in so many places.

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