Pete Kavanagh is a singer-songwriter, a musician and storyteller from Co. Kildare, Ireland. His style is best described as contemporary folk. His sound invokes the vintage quality of his musical influences (Bob Dylan, Nick Cave, Johnny Cash, David Bowie), but a contemporary feel that is unique to him surges through it. Pete Kavanagh sounds like Pete Kavanagh. With evocative lyrics and wry wit, Pete explores dark themes in his songs. He started the recording of his debut album, Join up the Dots, in spring 2019 but life intervened and then the pandemic hit the world. Finally, after all the twists and turns, the album is here.
To Hold the Red Rose has a jazzy feel thanks to the piano leading the way yet the darkness is lurking in between the notes and lines. Kavanagh's delivery carries the Cohen-esque vibe
"we stand through all that life throws"
Mercy is a dark reminder. The issues Kavanagh talks about here are still present. Still fresh and not talked about as much as they should be. Hence it's up to the artist to fly the flag for those who suffered in the hands of the Church. This is the longest (6:10) track on the album, carrying the darkness in both the lyrics and the arrangement. The whisperered vocal adds the haunting element to the already powerful track. You'll pick up the seriousness of the matter just from listening to the singer's diction.
"little fingers bleed on your sacred rosary beads..."
Can You See Me contains a hidden sadness. You sense nostalgia, sorrow and everything in between. The sparkling guitar leads the way, there are hints of positivity (" after the storm, get ready for the peace") yet the resolution remains hanging in the air.
Get Things Done is seemingly the most optimistic track but it is not as optimistic as you might think. It's more of an advice to keep your head down and doing what you feel is right, the results will show themselves, eventhough they may not be visible straight away, The piano brings the jazzy feel in once again.
Say You Will hits on the same colour, its arrangement seems to be taken right from the silver screen.
Sweet Friend will break your heart, hold you tight and try to comfort you. Deeply evocative piece about moving on after loss of someone you love. Their life may have ended but not yours. The song draws from Kavanagh's own painful experience throughout making of this album. His vocal is fragile, heavy with emotions, you can almost hear the tears falling.
"you have to take hold of the rain, learn to live with the pain"
We mentioned the silver screen before. Ashes is a song that would surely fit in there. Cinematic in a way it draws you in, stirs up your mind because here, as in everything Pete Kavanagh produces, the words aren't just meant to be listened to in the backround.
Join up the Dots is a love letter to authenticity and to the human spirit.