This is Harrison Kennedy
HARRISON KENNEDY in 1968 joined the Detroit POP GROUP “The Chairmen of the Board.” and played all the top venues including JOHNNY CARSON'S TONIGHT SHOW, SOUL TRAIN , AMERICAN BANDSTAND and ENGLAND'S "TOP-OF-THE-POPS', doing their hit, “Gimme Me Just A Little More Time.” C.O.T.B. had performances with B.B. KING, JAMES BROWN, SMOKEY ROBINSON, STEVIE WONDER, FUNKADELICS and more. C.O.T.B. also performed many times at New York's Famous HARLEM'S APOLLO THEATRE.
- The Reverend John C. Holland Arts and Culture Award in 1998.
- FIRST JUNO: Award Nomination for best original blues album “SWEET TASTE”.. 2004.
- SECOND JUNO Nomination for “VOICE & STORY”.. 2006.
- THIRD JUNO Nomination for "HIGH COUNTRY BLUES".. 2008
- FORTH JUNO Nomination for "SHAME THE DEVIL"..2012
- 15 MAPLE BLUES Award Nominations for Best Acoustic act, Male Vocalist,producer,and writer of the year..2006-2008-2009-2010-2012
- Won for BLUES Album of the Year at the HAMILTON MUSIC AWARDS, "Sweet Taste", "Voice/Story and "High Country Blues".
- 1ST Runner up at the 2011 International BLUES CHALLENGE IN MEMPHIS TENNESSEE
- Released on Electro-Fi Records "ONE DOG BARKIN" has recieved great reviews in Boston's DOWNBEAT MAGAZINE, LIVING BLUES, The UK's MOJO, FRANCE'S SOUL BAG... and Italy's IL BLUES magazines.
- The Reverend John C. Holland Arts and Culture Award in 1998.
2013 Hamilton Music Awards @sweetharrisonk Songwriter, Male Artist, Male Vocalist, Blues Recording of the Year & Lifetime Achievement Award.
This is a great article by Ric Tayor, in this weeks View Maginzine
Harrison Kennedy is up for five nominations this year for his newest release, Soulscape, but he is also one of the recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2013 HMAs.
A lifelong Hamiltonian, Kennedy grew up with a strong musical influence from his extended family but only focused on making music himself during his post-secondary education. Studying Chemistry and English at McMaster and then Brock University, Kennedy was getting smarter but also poorer. Looking for work, his dashing good looks and superior singing skills immediately caught the attention of many a Torontonian and eventually landed the audition to join a 12-piece Toronto group. They’d eventually take him to Detroit for an ill-fated concert but it did get him in front of Motown song writing legends, Edward Holland, Jr., Lamont Dozier and Brian Holland. He was invited to join a four-singer supergroup, the Chairmen of the Board, and the next four years Kennedy was living the rock and roll lifestyle you think only belongs in the movies. Beginning in 1968, the Chairmen of the Board and played top venues including Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show, Soul Train, American Bandstand and England’s Top of the Pops, doing their hit, “Give Me Just A Little More Time.” The Chairmen of The Board performed with B.B King, James Brown, Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, Funkadelics and more. But after a few years, that lifestyle wasn’t what Kennedy wanted.
He’d return to Southern Ontario after the glitz of transatlantic pop stardom wore thin, but the Chairmen of the Board experience did encourage Kennedy to learn to write his own music and play the guitar. By the time he’d gravitate back to Hamilton, Kennedy had rediscovered his original loves in soul and country blues and simply made music for its own reward for the next few decades.
With a half dozen solo CDs under his belt, fans were crestfallen to learn that Kennedy had been diagnosed with cancer and rallied around him to celebrate him and help him beat it. We’re happy to report, the diagnosis is Kennedy is currently cancer free and the experience helped further motivate his music in a new direction.
“My mind is like a sponge and I’ve always had an affinity towards music ever since I was very young,” explains Kennedy. “I’ve been fortunate to be exposed to different levels of music and the music I was exposed to in my youngest years has finally come around and that’s what I’m doing now. It’s the country blues peppered with a little funk. My relatives come from Rogersville, Tennessee so it’s not like the country blues you hear from Memphis and the funk comes from my relatives in Detroit. You put all that together in Hamilton – and it comes out me.
“I grew up with a Hamilton that called itself the Ambitious city and I feel the city has come full-circle and I have, too,” adds Kennedy. “If I had gone to a mountain top, and fasted and meditated for maybe six months I might have got to that spot but what happened was I didn’t have to go to the mountain, I found out I had prostate cancer. In the process, friends came out and supported me when they found out I had to pay for it and wanted to help. I was gobsmacked at the response. We raised some money, not all of it but when I talked to the fellow about doing the operation and told him my story, he said, ‘I’m going to do it’. With this experience, I just found everything I thought was important, wasn’t. When he told me that my cancer was gone, all of that worrying and negativity went with it. Maybe I was holding it in my prostate. SO all of the tunes that I started writing came back to the roots of the feeling I have in the music. All of the parts of me that I feel comfortable are in this music and I never debated whether I should do it. That’s how Soulscape happened. It’s deeper than just the music, it’s my essential self and I feel great.” With Soulscape, Kennedy oozes with that feeling that so makes the blues. It’s gritty, raw and undeniably real. I tell him the blues should make you want to f#@% or kill yourself.
“Or it should make you want to f#@%ing kill yourself,” laughs Kennedy in reply. “The music is all about the feeling and sometimes older people can learn the notes but they just can’t play the music the way it was meant to. I guess I’m lucky because I learned the feeling first and then I learned the notes.”
At the age of 72, Kennedy looks and acts much younger and his fans can revel in his latest album and look forward to much more music from this living legend.
“There’s still so much to learn and so much to do,” says Kennedy. “I’m still curious; my imagination is still quite alive. I’m not at the point where I think I’ve got it together; because when that happens you lose all the juice out of your body and you get rigid. Everything’s a mystery and I like it.
“I’m excited because these awards this weekend because they are from the people in Hamilton,” adds Kennedy. “I have other accolades but I don’t know how I feel about them. I’ve been nominated in Toronto twenty one times and never won one. In Hamilton, it’s not about anything but the music. It’s not about any of the other stuff like cold calling people to ask them to vote for you. My Hamilton peers are the ones that are listening and caring and Hamilton always shows its true colours. I love that and I hope it never changes. Hamilton is tribal and tribes can be very antagonistic but if they love you there is no bond stronger.”
Blues Music Awards-Cook Convention Centre-Memphis Tennesse
Nomination for acoustic Artist 2013