Twangy Buddhists? You Betcha. The Doobie Brother’s classic tune, “China Grove,” set the stage with the lines “and though it’s part of the Lone Star State / the people don’t seem to care / they just keep on lookin’ to the east” and the husband and wife duo, The Kennedys, pick it up from there with bright, well-composed, well sung songs on Half A Million Miles. The 10 original tunes and 2 covers on the CD are full of sunny, happy music that verges on pop music but manages to feel grounded in Americana folk. “Half A Million Miles,” the opening, title track, establishes the duo’s pleasant harmonies while telling a ballad with an acoustic/electric guitar mix. The second track, “Nameste” makes it clear that Pete and Maura are ambassadors of Buddhism and you’re going to learn something from them while tapping your foot to their folk tunes. They are at their best though when the Buddhist teachings take a back seat to the story telling on tracks like “Midnight Ghost,” “Nuah,” and “9th Street Billy.” Bob Dylan’s “Chimes of Freedom” fits in nicely with the collection adding a bit more earnestness and dramatic tension to the otherwise very light collection of songs. Give them credit for musical skills and singing talent that place them a cut and a half above typical folk duo, but way too many songs feel like Buddhist Sunday School and are more suited to preaching to the converted than entertaining average folk.
Track Number / Title / Notes
1 / Half A Million Miles / the most mainstream tune
10 / Chimes of Freedom / cover of the Bob Dylan tune
3 / Midnight Ghost / a song about a train. It must be country then, right?