Joan Kennedy Submitted photo

EDITOR’S NOTE: This event has been postponed, this article will be updated as more information is made available.

Canadian-born and raised singer/songwriter Joan Kennedy has made quite a mark on the country music scene in her homeland after winning a Canadian National Talent contest in the early ’80s. She’s recorded six albums, toured Canada, the United States and Europe, and has been nominated for Album of the Year, Single of the Year, Fan’s Choice, Female Artist of the Year, Independent Artist of the Year, two Juno Award nominations, and CMT’s Canadian Video of the Year. Kennedy has received a CCMA’s Humanitarian Award, was East Coast Music Association’s Entertainer of the Year, and is a New Brunswick Music Hall of Fame member. She’s also got a strong fan following here in Maine for her performances and she will headline a show at the Snow Pond Center for the Arts’ Alumni Hall (8 Goldenrod Lane in Sidney) on March 4 (to be rescheduled). To that end, a phone interview was arranged and when I reached her in Gray, I began by asking her to talk about the organization which would benefit from the show.

Kennedy: I’ll kind of start from the beginning of when I got involved with the “ShineOnCass” organization. Last year,  and the year before, I was asked to sing at the “Shine On Blue Christmas” that happens every Dec. 21 in the Waterville/Oakland area … it’s really quite an amazing event and I ended up wanting to do more with the organization because of what it meant to the community, but also what it meant to the family because they were carrying on Cassidy’s legacy into the future so that she will be remembered. The foundation has done a lot of work in ways of scholarships and things like that; so this particular show, as I understand, is to raise money but also raise awareness for families who have lost a child or have lost someone tragically. So, it’s heartwarming and it’s sad — and it’s all those emotions that you feel when you’ve had such a great loss.

Q: As a father, I can’t comprehend or imagine what folks have to go through when something like that happens. But onto the subject of your music, the last CD of yours I have is “A Dozen Red Roses” from 1996, that isn’t your latest release, is it?
Kennedy: No, it isn’t. I recorded a live album about five or six years ago. Actually, the last record that I have done, a single, was the “Yeeha Hallelujah” song and I did that in Nova Scotia; we recorded it in a church, it was a show that we did, and we just recorded it off the floor, so that was really kind of fun and cool.

Q: I’m sure you’ll be performing that one at the show. Are there any other surprises for that Snow Pond gig?
Kennedy: My daughter will be singing with me at that performance. We’re planning on working on a project together whenever things settle down, like the pandemic, which seems to be still hanging around.

Q: Has she been doing this with you for a long time?
Kennedy: She sings with me a fair amount now. She’s a senior in college and has a job and has all kinds of things going on, so she fits me in when she can (laughter), which I’m grateful for because the harmonies that we have when we sing together, it’s that same family harmony that I grew up with.


Q: And you cannot beat that family harmony sound, for sure, it is so special.
Kennedy: It is, it is. I grew up as one of eight kids and we were the church choir (chuckle) and people will ask, “Have you ever had formal training?” and I say, “Well, only church choir at Scotchtown Unity Church in New Brunswick, I had formal training there!” I was the alto and when you’re singing church alto, you’ve got to know what you’re doing.

Q: Now, when it comes to your own songs, do you still write nowadays?
Kennedy: I haven’t really spent a lot of time writing. I have a full-time job and I travel to Canada as much as I can to see my family; so it’s just finding the space, physically and mentally, to be able to get my head around writing again. I wrote a little bit during the pandemic but never really finished anything, I have a lot on my plate.

Q: How about your daughter?
Kennedy: Well, it’s something she wants to do and I think that if we push each other to work toward that goal, especially if we do a project together, it’s something that we’ll certainly spend some more time on.

Q: Nice. Just out of curiosity, when you’re putting together a set-list for a show, do you have a lot of material to draw from?
Kennedy: Well, for me I have a lot of my own material that we do, but I also have material that are the songs I grew up with or with my daughter, more modern stuff like modern country, a little pop in there, as well. We do just a variety of stuff, I try to do a mixture. It really depends on the show and the venue and what people want to hear, I try to do a little bit of everything.

Q: Is there anything, Joan that you’d like me to pass on to the folks reading this article about your upcoming show in Sidney on the 4th of March?
Kennedy: I’m just really thankful that my music was able to touch people in the way that they want to come to see me, and they want to invite me … especially this show for the “ShineOnCass” organization. I’m just very, very grateful to be a part of it and feel that my music plays a role in what they are doing and what I’m trying to do as a person and as a performer and a singer. I have a lot of gratitude.

Lucky Clark, a 2018 “Keeping the Blues Alive” Award winner, has spent more than 50 years writing about good music and the people who make it. He can be reached at if you have any questions, comments or suggestions.

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