Kerry Kearney Band

Kerry Kearney, a slide guitar master, plays and works his instrument to limits that amaze even the most seasoned musician or cultured music fan. The sounds Kerry creates from his vintage, stock and custom made guitars are as unique as his song writing and original melodies. Kerry was voted "Best Guitarist of 1999" by the LI Voice and “Bluesman of the Year 2004” by the LI Blues Society. He is also the recipient of the prestigious Long Island Sound Award (L.I.S.A.) from the LI Music Hall of Fame and most recently, in 2013, he and his band mates were each inducted into the New York Blues Hall of Fame. He has toured nationally and internationally with the Allman Brothers Band and Dickey Betts, and has performed with such contemporaries as Sonny Landreth and Robert Randolf. Kerry and his band have shared the stage with the great BB King at the NYCB Westbury Theater and at the Paramount Theater in Huntington, NY. They have also opened for the Robert Cray Band with the Blind Boys of Alabama,the Blues Brothers starring Dan Akyroyd and Jim Belushi, and most recently for Legendary ZZ Top front man Billy Gibbons in New York and Washington, DC. Kerry and his band can also be seen performing on the main stage entertaining the blues crowd at the annual Great South Bay Music Festival on Long Island.

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Review by Graham Clarke Friday Blues Fix Blog

I don’t know where this Kerry Kearney character has been hiding, but its way past time to flush him out for all to see and hear.  Actually, Kearney is based in Long Island, where he’s been plying his wares for over forty years, earning awards in the region for his slide guitar wizardry, including induction in the Long Island Music Hall of Fame and the New York Blues Hall of Fame in 2013.  He’s toured and performed with the Allman Brothers Band, Dickey Betts, Robert Randolph, and Sonny Landreth. 


Kearney has managed to release seventeen recordings over his career and I’m seriously considering searching out for a few of them after hearing his latest, Smokehouse Serenade (Highlander Records).  This powerhouse set features Kearney (guitar, banjo, vocals) with Mario Staiano (drums, percussion), Gerry Sorrentino (bass), David Bennet Cohen (keys), and Charlie Wolfe (harmonica) with a host of guest artists.  Kearney wrote nine of the twelve songs and he covers an impressively wide range of blues styles with these songs.


The rousing shuffle “Shakin’ Like Jelly,” a driving blues rocker opens the disc with another local legend, Frank “Kingbee” Latorre, supporting Kearney on harmonica.  “Long Tall Mama” is an easy-rolling acoustic number that will get toes tapping and fingers snapping.  It’s followed by a retooled version of “Statesboro Blues,” that has a rollicking Crescent City feel (with trombone from Victor Poretz and piano from Mark Mancini), the funky rocker “Fireplug,” and “No Way Back Blues,” another fantastic acoustic workout, this time with a real Delta vibe.


The breakneck-paced “Wake Me, Shake Me, Bake Me” is an engaging mix of blues, rock and funk, and Kearney’s cover of the pre-war standard “Sittin’ On Top Of The World” is delightful, with more a crisp acoustic guitar solo and great piano from Mancini.  Next up is the amazing “Camptown Races/Smokehouse Serenade,” a six-minute-plus instrumental that Kearney opens with banjo, but quickly launches into a dynamite electric guitar work out that will have listeners hitting “replay.”


On the acoustic “Girl From Memphis,” Kearney plays guitar and dobro, backed by Wolfe on harmonica, and plugs in again for the sizzling “Creole Woman,” which is bound to be a crowd favorite.  The band stays down south for the Second Line party tune “Goin’ To The Mardi Gras” before closing out with the stirring rocker “Pretty Baby.”


I’m not sure how I missed hearing the Kerry Kearney Band before now, but rest assured that that won’t be the case anymore.  Smokehouse Serenade is an awesome set that will not only satisfy blues rock fans, but even the more traditional-minded blues fans.  There’s something here for everybody.

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