Caleb Russel Kennedy
is a singer/songwriter from Honolulu, Hawaii who makes alternative rock music mixed with a dash of classic rock. His latest release is a three-song EP called You're Not Alone
, a collection of songs which features co-writing from industry vet Gabriel Wilson (Rock N Roll Worship Circus / The Listening). "Human Condition" opens with a driving guitar riff before diving into a late '90s/early '00s alt rock sound that almost reminds me of The Elms (even vocally). The guitar work is really solid; Kennedy proves to be quite handy with the instrument, making it the main highlight of the song. Though the honest lyricism is also really refreshing ("Do You care about how we feel? / Even the feelings we feel are wrong? / Like when we're disappointed in You / Even though we know You're God? / Do You listen when we sing our depressing songs? / And are You disappointed in us when we don't trust in Your love?
"). "Futile Fight" leans even further into the '90s alternative, with an upbeat rhythm and both acoustic and electric guitars leading the charge. A similar message as the first track carries over, as Kennedy deals with trusting God when things are looking bleak. The song does have an unfortunate use of the F word. Although the context makes sense and it's brutally honest songwriting, I'm not sure it feels totally necessary ("Attempts to solve the mystery / Added to my misery / Trapped inside a cycle of despair / Bitterness ate me alive / I screamed "f--- you" in the van that time / Truth is I was terrorized by shame / But You see through my disguises / You see the child that I'm hiding / And I can hear You calling out my name
"). As quickly as it starts, the EP comes to a close with "You're Not Alone," as an acoustic guitar and harmonica complement Kennedy's encouraging words to those listeners feeling the weight of the world on their shoulders. His voice seems a bit shaky in this song, but it sounds natural as he sings, "When peace is hard to come by / And all's out of control / There's serenity buried deep within yourself / When comfort's at a distance / And you feel like all is lost / You can rest assured in knowing you're not alone
." You're Not Alone
is a short, 13-minute excursion, but it's a good taste of what you're going to get from Kennedy. If you're looking for some new alternative to dig into, this is the perfect sample size in which to try him out.
- Review date: 6/5/23, written by Scott Fryberger
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