Calgary singer-songwriter Sherry Kennedy and friends delivered captivating and electric performances on February 7 and 8, 2013 at the Engineered Air Theatre in the EPCOR Centre for Performing Arts. The event was a CD Release Party to introduce Kennedy's latest album, Little Secret. The CD marks Kennedy's tenth and is her first country album to be released in Canada. Little Secret was recorded at Sound Control Studio in Nashville, TN and she worked with "Magic Man" Mark Moseley.
The CD Release Party also featured Calgary musicians Derek Stoll (bass/musical director), Dave Hamilton (electric guitar/acoustic guitar), Keith Day (keyboards), Gavin Sorochan (drums), Denis Dufresne (acoustic guitar/mandolin) and Barbara Olorenshaw (fiddle). Lisa Ryan, Gemira McClary, Maureen MacDonald and Chris Herard lent their talents as back up vocalists, while Artists Elite lit up the stage with some fancy footwork.
Healing Art of Music Foundation Bursary Recipient Irene Sommerville Performs at Little Secret CD Release Party
CBC Daybreak host Russell Bowers introduced a very special opening act to an appreciative audience, Irene Sommerville. She is the first recipient of a bursary offered by The Healing Art of Music Foundation.
Irene has been diagnosed with Rieger's Syndrome, which has presented her with several health challenges. It doesn't hold her back from pursuing her dreams. She delivered a confident performance of Big Deal and God Bless the Child, which was not only delightful to hear but also an inspiration to everyone in the theatre.
Sherry Kennedy Performs Country, Rock and Ballads at Little Secret's CD Release Party
One highlight of the evening was "Wild Night". This R & B number showed off how tight the ensemble was. Derek Stoll laid down some cool licks, while Gavin Sorochan got into the driving grooves on drums. On stage left, some really neat call and response action was happening between David Hamilton and CCMA Award winner Denis Dufresne. That gave Sherry Kennedy and her back up vocalists free rein to really cut loose with the driving melodies.
Written by renowned country songwriter Richard Fagan, "Here After" is a catchy two-step. It topped the country music charts in Denmark on New Year's. I wouldn't be surprised if it makes the country music charts here in Canada.
Sherry shared with the audience how incredible she found the experience of working with some of the people in Nashville to record Little Secret. She then expressed her appreciation of the musicians who shared the stage with her at the CD release. "I am honoured to be with these players tonight," she said. "They are my 'Sweet Inspiration' ." At the song title, the band launched into this 1968 soul hit single, which featured a funky mandolin solo from Denis.
The ensemble performed another three songs in the first half of the show. "Think of Me" is a toe-tapping two-step. "The Legend of Rainbow Powers", is a ballad inspired by one of the "characters" from Sherry's hometown or Fort Macleod. They closed Part 1 with "Sugar in My Bowl".
Don't Touch Me, Please - Music Video World Premiere Featured at Little Secret CD Release Party
The second half of the show opened with the "Don't Touch Me, Please" music video world premiere. Shot in Turner Valley, Alberta, the video showcases the breathtaking beauty of rural Alberta in the winter as well as the velvety warmth of Sherry's tone. The refrain contains a beautiful earworm that stuck in mind's of several audience members for hours after the show.
For the second half of the show, Sherry and her back-up singers changed from svelte black to fiery red outfits. This marked a switch to more songs about love and passion.
Dancers from Artists Elite two-stepped, teased and twirled on-stage to "Mama He Treats Your Daughter Mean". Keith Day set the keys on fire during his keyboard solo.
Another highlight was "Do You Love Him". This steamy blues number was written by Sherry Kennedy. The back up vocalists crooned beautifully in support of Sherry's passionate melody.
Part Two featured four more songs, including a rousing' performance of "Sisters Are Doing it for Themselves", "If Only" and the title track, "Little Secret". For an encore, Sherry performed "Don't Touch Me, Please". This featured some wonderfully melancholy strains from Dave and Denis on guitar.
Staging and synchronization was top notch for the show. What you didn't see were the looks of pleasure on the musicians' faces as they enjoyed the music they made together - the little smiles, the nods and looks of appreciation after a well-played lick. You missed how Barbara Olorenshaw improvised beautifully in more than the four songs that called for fiddle and how electrifying the synergy was amongst all the musicians. It was a great show.
About Sherry Kennedy
Sherry Kennedy is a Calgary-based songwriter, recording artist, entertainer, actress and vocal coach with over 20 years in the music business. She's a versatile performer. From musical theatre to jazz, and from R & B to country, Sherry enjoys performing in these diverse musical styles and more.
Her music has been played in over 15 countries and she has been on music charts in Europe for over 15 years. Sherry has toured 12 countries, including Australia, Norway, Japan and the USA.
About The Healing Art of Music Foundation Calgary
An avid painter, Sherry Kennedy has merged her two passions in 2011 with the establishment of The Healing Art of Music Foundation. She has worked with musicians from all walks of life, some, like Irene Sommerville, have blossomed against adversity due to the impact of music. "My intention is to use the knowledge, passion and the skills that I have to assist anyone with the desire to experience the "magic" of music," says Sherry on her website.
Sherry Kennedy's paintings have garnered commercial success. Proceeds from her artwork go towards running the HAMF.