The Official Home Page of Pete Kennedy, guitarist.

Pete Kennedy Official Home Page

Pete Kennedy releases 
"Tone, Twang, and Taste" 
an all instrumental CD celebrating pre-rock electric guitar.

Electric guitars were invented in the 1930's to accomodate the big sound put out by large swing bands. Guitarists soon discovered that the instrument had a voice all it's own, and top players in jazz, blues, country and rockabilly gravitated to the sound, led by musical and electronic pioneer Les Paul. The instrument didn't enter mainstream culture as a iconic and creative luxury item until The Beatles wielded them on The Ed Sullivan Show, launching an avalanche of sales to everone from kids jamming in the garage to high powered wolves of Wall Street with money to burn on expensive toys. This followed on the heels of a beatnick/coffeehouse singer interest in acoustic guitars, but the gap between the 1930's and the 1960's raises an interesting question: who were the guitar players before the folk boom and Beatlemania, before Hendrix and Clapton? What music did they play, what did they sound like, and how did they influence the guitar heroes of the boomer generation?

Pete has spent years studying these players, meeting with the ones who still played and those who wanted to pass along their largely forgotten style(Les Paul once said, "most people think I'm a guitar!"). It turned out to be a labor of love, because the level of sophistication of the pre-rock players, who combined jazz, country and early rock'n'roll with a solid grounding in musical theory and technique, was matched by their sense of fun and humor, and that all came across in the clean, bright tones and lyrical chops of the era...a sound quite distinct from the Claptonesque rock that has dominated the guitar world in recent decades.

Les Paul, Chet Atkins and Django Reinhardt are names that might be known to the general public, although their music probably remains unheard by most. Johnny Smith, Tal Farlow, Hank Garland, Lenny Breau, Mary Osborne, Tony Mottola, Lonnie Johnson, Leon Rhodes...the list goes on and on of top players who are nowadays known only to a small circle of guitarists, but to discover them is not only an adventure in American music's colorful past, but also a joyful plunge into a sound so fresh that it remains new today, preserved in amber from around 1959...the era of Tone, Twang, and Taste!


Guitarist Pete Kennedy's bio, photos and samples of music can be found here.
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Pete Kennedy, Guitarist (guitarkennedy@aol.com)


Studied with:

Joe Pass

Johnny Smith

Larry Coryell

Chuck Wayne

Larry Carsman

Larry Snitzler


Mentored by:

Danny Gatton

Tony Rice

Doc Watson

Chet Atkins

Charlie Byrd

Tommy Tedesco


Played with:

-The Kennedys; produced 12 CDs, currently touring US and British  Isles

-Nanci Griffith; produced latest CD, played on Grammy-winning “Other Voices, Other Rooms”, toured Carnegie Hall, Royal Albert  Hall, Tonight Show

-Mary-Chapin Carpenter


House musician at:

The Birchmere

Ford’s Theater

National Theater

Kennedy Center


Played one-off gigs with:

Elton John

Stevie Wonder

Patti Smith

Dr. John

Taj Mahal

Jackson Browne


WAMMY Awards (Washington DC)

Artist of the Year

Best Instrumentalist (9 times)

Best Freelance Musician (5 times)


“Among the acoustic guitar instrumental elite…destined to become a major player” (Jazziz Magazine)

“An exceptionally fluent jazz stylist…a consummate craftsman” (Washington Post)

“Very good technique, I wish you a lot of luck!” (Chet Atkins)

"He plays and sings pretty good, and he's not a pain in the ass"(Danny Gatton)