Bap Kennedy Releasing Limited Sailor's Revenge Deluxe Edition
Kennedy will celebrate the release with a rare U.S. East Coast tour bringing him to Washington, DC's Hill Country BBQ (Jan. 3), Philadelphia's World Cafι Live (Jan. 4), New York's Hill Country BBQ (Jan. 5) and Boston's Club Passim (Jan. 6).
The Sailor's Revenge was named one of MOJO magazine's Top Ten Americana Albums of 2012. British DJ and NoDepression.com blogger Alan Harrison named it the #1 Americana album of the year, calling it "truly a masterpiece from a man who is finally comfortable in his place in the world."
Among The Sailor's Revenge's 11 bonus tracks are "Moonlight Kiss" from Kennedy's Lonely Street as featured in the Miramax movie Serendipity; "Unforgiven" from the Steve Earle-produced Domestic Blues; "On the Mighty Ocean Alcohol" featuring Shane McGowan from the Morrison-produced The Big Picture; "Milky Way," a writing collaboration with Van Morrison, also from The Big Picture; and the previously unreleased bonus track "Into the Arms of Love" from the recent sessions with Mark Knopfler-produced The Sailor's Revenge.
Kennedy's solo career has been distinguished by fruitful partnerships with the brightest and best. Steve Earle, who has hailed the Belfast-based artist as "the best songwriter I ever heard," produced his 1998 solo debut, Domestic Blues. After Lonely Street (2000), a tribute to two of Kennedy's childhood musical heroes, Hank Williams and Elvis Presley, he recorded The Big Picture (2005) at the studio of Van Morrison, who co-wrote the album's "Milky Way," while Bap was joined by the Pogues' Shane MacGowan on another track, "On the Mighty Ocean Alcohol."
The Big Picture caught the ear of Knopfler, who took Kennedy on tour with him as a guest artist and offered to produce his next album. Scheduling conflicts prevented Knopfler from working on 2009's Howl On, a song cycle focusing on the Apollo moon landings, but the Dire Straits auteur has now made good on his word, helming Kennedy's latest effort, The Sailor's Revenge.
"It's great to have the validation of someone like Mark Knopfler, and getting a chance to make a record with him, it's not bad, really," Kennedy says, with characteristic understatement. "I have a couple of different gears when I write, and Mark really likes my Celtic melancholy side. There's a cinematic, widescreen quality in his work that I love, and we agreed that was where we wanted to go with this record."
Kennedy's first encounters with the record business were as rhythm guitarist, lead singer and primary songwriter for Belfast rockers Energy Orchard, with whom he recorded 5 albums. When the band left Belfast, they established themselves as legends of London's live music scene. It was while he was in Energy Orchard that Kennedy first worked with compatriot Van Morrison, who gave the band several support slots to supplement their own hectic touring schedule of both the USA and Europe.
When Energy Orchard split up, Kennedy had little time to rest, because alt-country superstar and longtime Energy Orchard fan Steve Earle soon contacted him, suggesting that he would produce Bap's first solo album. Kennedy agreed, and soon found himself on the plane to Nashville, TN, where he would record Domestic Blues. The album featured several of Nashville's most highly regarded musicians, including Jerry Douglas, Peter Rowan and Nanci Griffith. It was a real success, getting into the Top Ten of the Billboard Americana chart. Kennedy's song "Vampire" appeared in the soundtrack for Hollywood film You Can Count On Me, and three other songs from the album were used for cult classic Southie. More touring of the USA cemented the acclaim.