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Artist Profile – Energy Orchard

June 2, 2011 by  

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Artist Profile – Energy Orchard

Energy Orchard were one of the lost bands of the 1980s and 1990’s. Led by singer songwriter Bap Kennedy, the brother of successful AOR crooner Brian, they were the rock band U2 would have been with more musicians, and less reliance on The Edge’s collection of Digital Delay Pedals.Their fusion of Irish Music, with an Americana sheen of country, blues, virtuoso musicianship (lead guitarist Paul Toner, and Keyboardist Kevin Breslin adding much colour to Kennedy’s words) and impassioned songs won them a loyal following.

They recorded their first album, Energy Orchard on the recommendation of Country Singer songwriter Steve Earle, and their high profile fans included such luminaries as Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, and The Rolling Stones.

The group’s song-writer and lead singer Bap Kennedy sang songs that dreamt of escape (Sailor-Town/ Surrender to the City/Big Town) and ballads such as My Pale Face, and Pain, Heartbreak and Redemption, as well as good versions of classic songs, such as Dylan’s It’s All Over Now Baby Blue, Van Morrison’s Madame George, One, Two, Brown Eyes, and live favourite Gloria, along with a radical re-working of old Irish favourite The Star of the County Town.

Energy Orchard’s biggest hit, 1990’s Belfast saw the band in the top 50, and a number of successful tours and gigs followed.

Their hard working live sound was lost on their first album, but it came through on later albums such as Stop the Machine and Pain Killer, and particularly in their live album, which was the last one released by the band, Orchardville, which shows the group in full flight.

The group split up in 1997, with Bap Kennedy pursuing a successful career (he has supported Mark Knopfler, and many other artists), whilst the rest of the group pursued careers in separate arenas.

The group’s legacy is five albums of high quality music, which nearly 20 years on have not dated, and show that there is more to Irish rock than U2.

Ben Macnair



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