Québécois singer-songwriter Ryan Kennedy introduces his third studio album, Libertine, via UniforcePro. The album showcases Ryan’s evolving sound, extending past his earlier folk sound to encompass flavors of pop, as well as tangs of country, rock, and hints of ‘70s and ‘80s disco.
At the end of March, Ryan Kennedy will observe the release of Libertine with a virtual concert captured at Le National in Montreal in partnership with Whitebox.
Produced by Dimitri LeBel-Alexandre, the album features Ryan Kennedy (vocals), François Lafontaine (keyboards), Robbie Kuster (drums, percussion), Mark Hébert (bass), Dimitri LeBel-Alexandre (guitars, pedal steel), Luc Lemire (saxophone), Quatuor Orphée (strings), and Marie-Christine Depestre (backing vocals).
A native of Morin-Heights in Quebec’s Laurentian region, Ryan Kennedy realized his passion for music as a child and was later discovered during the 2015 season of La Voix, followed by an invitation to The Voice France in 2018.
Ryan’s previous albums include Love Is Gold and Home Fires. His song, “Honest Song,” received the prize for the most popular French song in Quebec at the SOCAN Gala, ranking as one of the five most played songs on Quebec radio stations.
Embracing seven tracks, entry points on Libertine include “Wild Sky,” opening on graceful strings flowing into a low-slung velvety melody topped by Ryan’s delicious voice. When the rhythm enters and the music elevates, the tune conjures up suggestions of Christopher Cross, evocative and affecting.
For some reason, “Fast Ride” recalls the contagious sound of Bruce Springsteen as washes of rock savors merge with Ryan’s buoyant vocals to form a potent sonic palette. Rolling drums and lush waves of harmonies imbue the tune with swashbuckling energy.
“Say Hello” blends pop leitmotifs with gleaming guitars and sweeping strings into a luxurious, compelling song. This is definitely one of the best tracks on the album, surging with dynamic momentum and a marvelously braying saxophone.
“Say hello / No goodbye / It’s all right / You can try / Say hello / No goodbye / You can try / For a while.”
The final track, “Burning Cult,” travels on darker colors atop a measured rhythm. Luscious, cashmere harmonies imbue the tune with gospel-tinted suffusions as Ryan’s deluxe voice delivers aromas of melancholy and nostalgia.
Beautifully arranged and implemented, Libertine is well-worth listeners’ attention.