Shout out to Andrew Krause for hooking it up! I had the opportunity to play bass and perform for 8 shows with the very talented band, Hey, King. The best part was we were opening for Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals, which is one of my all time favorite bands. The tour consisted of three weeks on the road, 2 countries, and 5 different states. It was such a cool experience and we played some awesome music as well!
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The song Last November is the brain child of Kevin Kennedy iii and Tom Kahre. It is the first song that Kennedy has written that wasn't about his life. "It was fun writing a story from a different perspective", Kennedy explained. "I also don't have such folkie songs in my repertoire."
The video was completely shot in Aachen, Germany. Kennedy hooked up with local director Max Kirschning to create something unique and beautiful. "I figured since I was traveling around Germany, it was the perfect place to shoot a video. Also, the fall in Aachen is absolutely beautiful," said Kennedy. The movie was shot using Go Pros and the Dinij Drone.
So sit back, relax, and enjoy the newest single from Kevin Kennedy iii.
Aachen is a beautiful German city located right across the border from the Netherlands. It is known for its large university and for being the home of Charles the Great in the Middle Ages who used Aachen as his imperial city. So I thought: why not come to the home of the King of the Franks and busk right in front of the Aachen Rathaus?
Upon arriving in the city, I met up with a friend of mine, Max, who showed me around. It was a cheery town that radiated a feeling of youthfulness and excitement, most likely due to the large university. I met some of Max’s friends and we enjoyed a night of bar hopping, music, and a late night jam session in a bands studio rehearsal room. Of course, I enjoyed my food of shwarma and the famous currywurst, which was actually just a sausage in ketchup and french fries.
The next day I took off to play right in front of the Aachen Rathaus, which sits on the old castle of Charles the Great. After setting up and playing my first song, Picture of Love off my new album, I quickly realized how amazing the acoustics were. It seems like these old squares were designed just for me. Even with a small little amplifier the sound like you are in a concert hall. Of course, my sound engineering success was short lived because the police showed up and told me to shut it down. Apparently in Aachen you need a license to play on the street, you are not allowed to use amplification, and finally you can never play in front of the Aachen Rathaus. I guess I broke three rules all at once. However, the cops were really friendly and also explained to me where I should get a license.
All in all, Aachen is an awesome town that I would highly suggest visiting. And if you are looking to busk here be sure to stop off at the green building across from the main train station. For only 5 euros you can have a week long busking pass.
It took me over 4 1/2 hours to get to Brussels from Paris. To be honest, I thought about skipping Brussels altogether but I am so happy I didn't. I arrived near the Bourse in Brussels and took a little stroll around the city. It was beautiful and I knew the only thing that could make this adventure better was to bust out the guitar. I decided the best place to set up was in front of the the Grand Palace. This turned out to be an awesome decision! As soon as I finished the first song, I knew it was going to be a great set. The acoustics in this plaza were absolutely amazing. It was loud and clear and the echo off the buildings across from me were perfect. The best part was people were loving the whole scenario. They were dancing and singing along and I was getting applause after each song. Towards the end of my set a group of university students came to thank me for playing, which is better than any tip.
I really wish I had more time to stay in Brussels but it is time to head to Aachen, Germany to see friends and play music for the germans!
Sometimes it is important to take a break. Over the past year, I feel like I have been running from town to town, state to state, and even country to country playing music and supporting the Buena Onda. The truth is I have loved every minute of it, but I also believe at some point you need to take a break and clear the mind.
Luckily for me, one of the coolest dudes I know happens to live in Etel, France. Mickaël and I met in El tunco, El Salvador a few years ago and we have stayed in touch since, always planning to meet for a surf trip "one day." That day finally came, when I decided to go to France on a surf trip. I decided I would be searching for shows and gigs if it was possible, but this week would be about surfing and writing as much good music as I could. I can tell you now it was a complete success. Not only were the waves pumping, but there was no wind and Mickael knew where to find all the firing spots.
For five days, I did nothing but eat, sleep, write, and surf. It was amazing, just like our days in El Salvador. All that is left to do is get this new material into the studio. You may be hearing some french on my upcoming album too!
Well the car broke down, so much for that idea. John and I were stranded in Castro Urdiales. We were almost to Bilbao when the clutch completely gave out. There was no power and so I had to steer the car as we rolled backwards down the exit ramp. Luckily, there was a fire station at the bottom of the ramp and we rolled right into there driveway.
After examining the car we came to the conclusion we were going to need seem help, so I went and knocked on the door to the firehouse. I was greeted by a fire fighter who helped us call the police. When the police showed up there was nothing they could, expect help us push the car across the street and give us the number to an insurance company in Spain. This was no help as I soon found out that the car had not been registered into my name. After speaking with the local mechanic and wasting two days sitting around Castro Urdiales, I through my keys under the right wheel and hopped on a push.
With my hopes slightly beaten and the reality of the situation sinking in, I tried to come up with a new plan. John and I would go to Bilbao and I would wait to see if Xachi could help me get in touch with the original owners. I wasn't going to let this situation put a damper on the trip, so I decided to take my mind off the current situation by exploring Bilboa. Luckily, for us our buddy Pedro had a friend, Gabriella, Bilbao. So we called her up and long and behold she lived right across the street from our hostel!
I spent the next couple of days hanging out with Gabriela, since John had to head back to London. She was a hospital, funny, and extremely charming girl, who loved living in Bilboa and showing off all the sights and attractions. Bilbao is a beautiful city and the food is phenomenal. Each little cafe has it's own type of food which is a called a pincho or pintxo, as they would say in Basque country. These little delectables became my staple in Bilbao. Each cafe has their own menu but they all follow the same pattern: the pintxos are made prior to the customers arrival and they are ready to go as soon as you walk to the establishment. This means you need to get there early or they will run out of all the good ones and you will be out of luck!
After spending a couple of great days at the beach and enjoying way to many pintxos and cervezas, I was anxious to play some music. Gabriela told me that she had not seen any street musicians so she didn't really know if it was a "thing" in Bilbao, but she said she would be happy to join me on my musical quest.
We headed downtown to the riverside and there I began to play for over 2 hours. It was a great set mostly because two young boys Marcus and Sasha were mesmorised by my songs. They literally watched me for the entire two hours, while asking Gabriela a million and one questions. Who is he? Where is he from? When did he learn to play? Did he write the songs? I couldn't hear these questions and could only smile at Gabriela who had to patiently answer each question.
When I finally wrapped up my set the boys joined me for a photo and then had a bunch of questions for me. Including: Why didn't I have a dog? I guess in Europe owning a dog and being a street performer go hand in hand. I struggle to take care of myself, I don't know how a dog would fit into the equation. It's not that I don't want a dog, I just can't be bothered taking care of one. I think I will wait until I have kids, at least then I will have some other helping hands. Either way, I thought it was the funniest questions/suggestions I had ever heard.
Anyway, the boys were brothers and they were 9 and 11 years old. I gave them a cd and Marcus kissed the cd and couldn't stop thanking me. This was such a meaningful experience because I could see that I had true fans. Music isn't about making money or being famous, it is about sharing your art with people. The hope is that you can inspire them in some way or help them to enjoy a certain moment in time or just to bring some entertainment a situation. I could see that I had accomplished all three for the boys and I encouraged them to start playing and practicing. Who knows: maybe some day we will be listening to Marcus and Shasha the brother duo from Bilboa.
The next morning I decided it was time to leave Bilbao. I finally gave up on the old car and bought a ticket to Nantes, France. My days in Spain were over and it was time to get to France where the waves are waiting.
The gang and I arrived in Lisbon late tonight and we were in the mood for a party. So after showering and getting ready we hit the rowdy streets of Lisbon. Of course I had a different goal in mind from the rest of the group. I knew that on this Saturday night, Lisbon would be the perfect setting for a street show.
As the group moved closer to the clubs in town I searched for the best corner to set up my equipment. I choose a spot at the end of the Cais do Sodré street and began to play. It was awesome! The energy in this place was pumping and it surely helped that all my friends were there. Massimo played the guitar case, which you would have thought was a complete trap set the way his hands kept rhythm. And then Aurelio joined in with a modern day twist on flamenco clapping. Meanwhile people sang along and danced in the streets. It was so much fun.
I played a couple of originals including Umami from my album. I was also approached by a group who was doing a remote year, and they requested all kinds of 90s hits including Semi Charmed Life, Santeria, and Santa Monica.
All in all it was a great evening of music and fun. The gang wanted to continue into a club at 4:45 am, but after playing for a couple of hours I was spent and headed back to the hostel.
The following day, everyone woke up late, most likely because they came home at 9:00 am. Oh Portugal! It was slow moving, but evidentially everyone decided to go and visit the Miradouro de Santa Catarina which is a beautiful park known by the locals as Adamastor. On the left side of this park is a cool little cafe / bar and in the center everyone is sitting around listening to live music.
When we arrived there was already a musician from Brazil playing his music. He let me play one song while he took a break and I chose "Picture of Love." I wanted to keep playing but I had to wait my turn. Unfortunately what I did not know is that busking in this park is serious and territorial. While I sat and listened for over two hours another Brazilian started setting up and the first one told me he was next. There was nothing I could do, especially because at this point I believed them both to be locals.
After 5 hours of music I finally got the opportunity to play. It was well worth the wait. There was over a 100 people in this park and my built in fan base was there (thanks guys!). I played for about 1 1/2 hours and I really got a great response. However, my amp did have some issues. I think the park was just two large and the sound was lost in the wind. As a busker you are always learning how to tune in your equipment based on your surroundings. I guess this was just another learning lesson!
So in conclusion if you are looking for a great city to busk in, I would highly suggest Lisbon! It also has some amazing people and sites to see!
It is a officially here, the day I've been dreaming of for years. For the first time, I can say that I my debut album is out and available. This album has been 2 years in the making and I have put forth so much effort, time, and money into it. I could not have done this without all of the support from my family, friends, and fans. So thank you for believing in me. Without further adeou please check out the links below to purchase or listen to my new album "UMAMI."