Mo Kenney in the UK

The Guardian: In My Dreams prescribed in Cerys Matthews’ “music to beat the end-of-summer blues”

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Lethargy is a fact of life once the summer holidays are over, but our musical agony aunt’s alter ego has just the remedy

By Cerys Matthews, The Guardian

Dear Doctor, I’m feeling uninspired. Please suggest some music to battle this lethargy.

The Doctor understands: it’s the end-of-summer blues. So make some time and take a jaunt to the local record shop. Walk slowly, and look around as you go. The Doctor likes nothing more than examining plant life, for example. Take moss – bright green and alien-like – which is able to eke out life on stone garden walls. Or the passion flower, which is fruiting now: it’s hard to imagine a stranger or more beautiful bloom. With endless expectations and to-do lists, its easy to forget to wonder at the miracle of life.

Follow this walk of wonder by selecting from some of the best new releases and reissues from around the world. On Far Out recordings, check out Novissima Musica Brasileira, a compilation of great new Brazilian music: I particularly love the muted trumpet and organ stabs on Iconili’s O Rei De Tupanga. Keep your blood flowing with Black Feeling Volume 3, a collection of retro funk soul and Latin from Freestyle Records. Your dance moves will be cooking now, so add Dave Formula and the Finks to the mix, and visit some class grooves, including Cissy Strut, The Cat and One Mint Julep (out now on Motorrad).

Next, settle down with guitar legend John Renbourn’s final offering, The Attic Tapes, out on World Music Network. Read his heartwarming liner notes while you listen to his fingerpicking on Candyman, Buffalo and Blues Run The Game. And if you want to try a new young artist as well, you’ll have to go some to beat the smart songwriting of Nova Scotian Mo Kenney on her album In My Dreams (New Scotland records).

Feeling energised now? Then throw on some ebullient young punks, Philadelphia’s Sheer Mag, with Fan The Flames. That’s bound to get you jumping around your living room, for a little while at least.

In My Dreams featured in R2 Magazine

coverBy Ian Pickles, R2 Magazine

Mo Kenney’s eponymous first album scooped a bucketload of awards and nominations and I’m ashamed to say that it passed me by altogether unnoticed, which makes it really good news that this new disc dropped through the letterbox.

In My Dreams is a forensic dissection of failed relationships, spare and unflinching and full of perceptive thoughts about modern love and manners. Kenney’s songwriting is direct, honest and fearless and she does not choose to censor herself. Of course, it’s dangerous to assume that all or any of her poetry is autobiographical but you wouldn’t want to cross her and get a song written about you, for sure. You’d imagine that she’d think twice before getting mixed up in another messy affair, too.

Highlights are the painfully blunt “Take Me Outside”, which combines confessional lyrics with a cheerful trippy 60s pop vibe: ‘Booze in my veins and blood on the floor’ and ‘Wind Will Blow’, a song of obsessive love – ‘You run right through me like a blade.’ It’s powerful and moving stuff but it never descends into the predictable or maudlin and by the final track, ‘Dancing’, it would appear that Kenney is in love again so it’s a safe bet that there are more sweet and angry songs on the way.

The Revue reviews In My Dreams

By Ben Yung, The Revue

Instead of focusing on a new album release, I’m going to look back at an album that was released almost a year ago to the day in North America but was just released in the United Kingdom in early September.

Mo Kenney has emerged as one of Atlantic Canada’s most beloved singer-songwriters, and her sophomore album In My Dreams was critically acclaimed last year. It was awarded the 2015 East Coast Music Association’s Pop Recording of the Year and her lead single “Telephones” was nominated for Song of the Year. It’s been a terrific twelve months for the 25-year old native of Waverley, Nova Scotia, who currently is in the United Kingdom, touring solo in support of her album.

It only takes a single listen of In My Dreams to understand why thousands of fans across Canada and overseas have been drawn to Kenney, whose folk-pop style is comparable to Joel Plaskett. In addition, like many artists from the east coast, her songs are stories, some personal and many often about other people or characters. The album opens with the smooth and acoustic “I Faked It”, on which Kenney showcases some excellent guitar work. The pop single, “Take Me Outside”, follows, and despite its summery feel Kenney tells the story of a down-on-her-luck individual.

The fantastic “Telephones” anchors the entire album. The song is filled with some terrific lyrics about a broken relationship, such as:

I have a strong heart but you play too rough
You listen to techno I hate that stuff
At people’s parties hey we don’t say much

But when we’re alone together talking like babies
I know just how to keep you in my head
If I had another lover could I keep you on the side

The song also shows one of Kenney’s great strengths – her ability to take simple arrangements and limited instruments to create an infectious melody and a lively mood. She applies the same approach to create a variety of different moves, such as on the mellow but delirious “Field Song”, the dreamy title track, “In My Dreams”, and the lush and beautiful “Wind Will Blow”.

Kenney, though, also expands her musical palette beyond the folk-pop realm. “Mountains To The Messes” is grinding, folk-rock tune. It shows a gritty side of Kenney and one that is blisteringly awesome. “Untouchable”, likewise, is a fantastic, soulful indie-rock number. Kenney’s voice takes on a smokey nature, showing an unexpected diversity that extends well beyond her instruments.

You can catch this rising star right now if you reside in Europe. Kenney only has one North American date on her calendar, but no other dates have been confirmed. See tour dates below.

In My Dreams is out now via New Scotland Records and Pheromone Records. Purchase the album on Bandcamp, iTunes, Amazon, and eMusic.

Mo Kenney Tour Dates

Sep 14 Gaslight Club – Leeds, United Kingdom
Sep 15 Servant Jazz Quarters – London, United Kingdom
Sep 18 Levis – Skibbereen, Ireland
Sep 19 Clonakilty International Guitar Festival – Clonakilty, Ireland
Sep 20 Clonakilty International Guitar Festival – Clonakilty, Ireland
Sep 22 Whelan’s Upstairs – Dublin, Ireland
Sep 30 Der Herbst ist eine Frau – Sugenheim, Germany
Oct 04 Privatclub – Berlin, Germany
Oct 05 Nochtspeicher – Hamburg, Germany
Oct 06 Moritzbastei – Leipzig, Germany
Oct 07 Cafe Galao – Stuttgart, Germany
Oct 09 Jazzhaus Freiburg – Freiburg Im Breisgau, Germany
Mar 19 Common Fence Music – Portsmouth, RI

Mo answers Americana UK’s Dirty Dozen

Mo WFP

By Rudie Humphrey, Americana-UK

Mo Kenney is a 25-year-old singer-songwriter from Nova Scotia. The iconic Canadian musician Joel Plaskett, has produced an album of grace, power and insight. More than just another “girl with a guitar”, the elfin and androgynous Kenney combines aching vulnerability with world-weary cynicism. In My Dreams is a stunningly accomplished and exciting follow-up to Mo Kenney’s 2012 much-decorated and universally-acclaimed self-titled debut.

Tell us about yourself and what you do?

I am a singer/songwriter/musician from Nova Scotia, Canada. I write songs and play them for humans.

How did you get together/start out?

I’ve been playing music for as long as I can remember. I met producer/musician Joel Plaskett when I was 17 and I sort of got my start because of him. We first worked together back in 2012 on my first, self-titled album.

What is your current release/future release?

My current release is titled “In My Dreams”.

What is the best part of being a singer/song writer?

The best part about being an artist is doing what I love. I get to write songs and perform for a living. I also get to travel to all kinds of places to play my music. It’s pretty amazing.

What is your most significant moment yet?
Getting to see parts of the world I might not have if I wasn’t playing music. That’s been pretty incredible. I always wanted to travel when I was younger, and now I get to play music and see new cool places. Touring Europe, the U.K., and Australia have been some of the most incredible experiences of my life. I can’t wait to go back!

What are your biggest musical influences?

Elliott Smith was my biggest musical influence. I was inspired by his honest lyrics and his beautifully arranged and melodic songs. I taught myself how to finger pick after hearing his music for the first time.

What venue/gig do you most want to play?

I haven’t played in front of a really massive audience yet, so that would be an experience I’d like to have. Playing in front of a bajillion people.

What is your best/favourite song you have written?

I think probably the song I’m most proud of so far, is a song called “Carnivore”. It’s the last song on my first album. I wrote it after a High School friend of mine went missing. It happened so easily and I really like the guitar parts and the way the song unfolds.

What is your favourite album of this year?

Alabama Shakes – Sound & Color is an amazing album. Also, Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Multi-Love is really good. I’m sure there’s another album from this year that’ll top these two for me, but I haven’t gotten there yet.

What does the next six months have in store for you?

I’ll be heading back to the U.K. shortly for a solo tour, and maybe one band date in London. After that I’ll be heading to Germany. When I’m home I’ll be writing my ass off in preparation for the next album.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

I haven’t really thought that far ahead. My ideal situation would be to have a little spot in the woods with all my albums and books and a little wood stove, while still touring, writing and playing music.

What is the best thing about Americana-UK?

The Dirty Dozen!