Kennedy sisters to sizzle the Grill
For fans of Powell River natives Carli and Julie Kennedy, there won’t be many chances to see the classically trained country music stars this summer.
In fact, because of their busy recording and touring schedules, they’ll just have one gig in the Lower Mainland, and, luckily, that will be in the Tri-Cities.
The identical twins with the bubbly personalities will appear on Saturday at Coquitlam’s Evergreen Cultural Centre for the Music on the Grill series.
They promise to play tunes from their first and second EPs — the latter of which was mixed by producer Paul Shatto at Vogville Recording studios in Port Coquitlam — as well as their favourite country covers and new songs from their first full-length album.
Reached in Calgary on Monday, where they played during the annual Calgary Stampede celebrations, the pair said their CD will include eight to 10 new tracks with the first single due out early next year; the album will be available for purchase in the spring.
They look forward to debuting the new songs in Coquitlam. “We’d like to get everybody’s feedback and give them a taste of what’s to come,” Carli said.
What’s to come is the culmination of years of hard work by the Kennedy sisters. The “small-town girls” — as they like to call themselves — started honing their musical skills with their family: around camp fires, jamming at home, before crowds at local events.
Country music was in their blood but, behind the scenes, they trained classically. Twice a month, their parents drove them to Vancouver for lessons. Carli studied Royal Conservatory of Music guitar techniques while Julie learned the Suzuki method on the violin.
“That’s what got us ready for university,” Julie said. “That was our first introduction to the big city.”
After graduation, both moved to Victoria to study classical music at the University of Victoria, where they obtained their B.A. in 2008 in performance. And they earned accolades along the way: Julie was named concertmaster of the 2007 National Youth Orchestra of Canada while Carli strung up third place for her guitar playing at the Canadian Nationals.
The same year they became UVIC grads, the sisters released four original tracks for their first EP, with producer Adrian Dolan at the controls. Four years later came their second EP, titled Small Town Stories, under Shatto’s guidance. That work won them a nominations at the 2013 Vancouver Island Music Awards, including one for Roots Album of the Year.
For their upcoming album, which has received FACTOR (Foundation Assisting Canadian Talent on Recordings) funding, their songwriting has been influenced by recent visits to Nashville — and they have stayed true to their country and classical blend.
“We have always sort of come from both worlds,” Julie said. “The classical world and the country music world. We have a real love for both and I think that, what you’ll find in our evolution as artists in our shows and on our album, is that diversity.”
• Tickets for Carli and Julie Kennedy’s show at the Evergreen Cultural Centre (1205 Pinetree Way, Coquitlam) on Saturday, July 19 are $52 for a barbecue dinner and concert, or $32 for the concert only. Gabriela Geneva and her band will entertain prior. Meanwhile, the final Music on the Grill event is on Aug. 9 with Zakiya Hooker. Call 604-927-6555 or visit evergreenculturalcentre.ca.