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Jeremy Kennedy: A New Chapter in Blues

Jeremy Kennedy: A New Chapter in Blues

Here comes Jeremy Kennedy – a 19 year-old blues slinger wielding his guitar with a high level of natural freedom that comes along only every once in a while. He’s been playing a mere 3 years, is self-taught – yet, is “one” with his guitar like he’s been at this for decades. 

Kennedy’s language comes from his reverence to Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jerry Garcia, John Mayer and more. He does it right, too, wowing audiences wherever he performs with his group the Rattlesnake Trio – his power trio blues project based here in CNY.

I threw him under the bus by having him join us on a gig recently. “You’re gonna walk the plank with us.” I told him. We just jump in and play everything we don’t know. He was excited to accept this invitation knowing he’s gotta bring “game.”

So then, there we are…going into set 2, his guitar is behind his head while he’s spewing sick licks as the rest of us can’t help but focus at the sight of how he’s “‘brningin’ it back.” I haven’t seen anyone do that in a while, so I got a kick out of the fun. It was cool to see how the new generation is embracing the blues and carrying it forward.

Among other things you’ll be able to catch him at this year’s NY State Bluesfest https://www.nysbluesfest.com/

Three years into a career as a musician, Jeremy is off to an exceptional start. It will be exciting to see how he and his music grow from here. 

Chuck Schiele: How old are you, again? How long have you been playing music?

Jeremy Kennedy: I am 19 years old; I’ve been playing since I was 13 and I began my blues journey when I was 16. 

CS: How did you get started?

JK: It started with lots of alternative rock. I was digging people like Nirvana, Green Day, Puddle of Mudd, Incubus and many more 90s to early 2000s bands. 

CS: Obviously, you dig the blues. Tell us what the blues mean to you.

JK: I’ve always struggled to be accepted for who I am; as a blues guitarist it gives me the freedom to express myself however I feel. The blues as well as Music in general has impacted my perception on the world and lifestyle. It’s nice to have something where people aren’t judging me. I found something I enjoy doing that people love and I’m grateful to have such supportive people around me.

CS: By now it’s pretty clear that you aren’t just learning from lessons and classroom work. You’re listening to the greats and learning from them. Tell us about some of those influences.

JK: I’ve always been a self-taught musician, just playing whatever excites me and inspires me. I’m looking to go to school for music so I can learn about music and understand it better. My influences stretch from Kurt Cobain, Jerry Garcia to Philip Sayce and many more fantastic guitarists such as Hendrix, SRV and Mayer. 

CS: What else do you like to do aside from playing music?

JK: If I’m not playing music I’m going out and experiencing music. I love seeing Psychedelic Jam bands and any upcoming guitarists. It’s really inspiring to see so it also helps to keep me going. 

CS: What’s coming up for you, musically? What do you aspire for yourself and your music?

JK: I hope to have an album released whether that’s with the trio or on my own. I’d really like to start getting my solo stuff out at some point and doing more acoustic stuff. 

CS: What do you think about the crazy music scene, all these musicians and music lovers… as you enter it?

JK: I think it’s exciting and from what I’ve witnessed the blues and the psychedelia scene is making a comeback in my opinion. I’ve had tons of support and continue to strive for bringing back that intense energy and face melting experience that idols such as Hendrix and SRV have laid out.

CS: What is the best advice you’ve received, musically or non-musically, or both?

JK: Some advice that changed my outlook on things was hearing the words “people project who they want to be, so it’s important to be humble and true to yourself.” Some great Musical advice I take from what Buddy Guy once was told, “Don’t be the best in town, just be the best till the best come around.”

CS: How do we all stay in touch with your music endeavors?

JK: Through Facebook, Instagram and my own social media. I’m working to put together a YouTube channel for us as well as a website, all in good time.

CS: Thanks, Jeremy. I enjoy getting to know you. Keep up the good work, man.

JK: Thank you Chuck for this opportunity, I hope we can do something like this again in the future.

Chuck Schiele
Chuck Schiele is a lifelong, award-winning musician, art director, producer, editorialist, artist, activist, member Quatrocollective.com and fan of the CNY music scene. To be considered for this column, please write chuck.schiele@gmail.com.