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From historic downtown Plymouth, Indiana, where the Lincoln Highway and Michigan Road cross the banks of the beautiful Yellow River, it's The Wild Rose Moon Radio Hour. It airs the first Monday of the month at 7 PM on 88.1 WVPE.

Kennedy’s Kitchen Warms Up the Heart and Hearth on The Wild Rose Moon Radio Hour

Kennedy’s Kitchen
Episode # 76
May 6 at 7pm

Kennedy’s Kitchen Warms Up the Heart and Hearth on The Wild Rose Moon Radio Hour
John Kennedy and his band began their fourth appearance on the radio hour with one of their early ballads, “Come Sit Down.” They deliver yet another pleasing and prayerful presentation as the lyrics unfold the healing intentions situated firmly in all their performances. They are true heralds of what is best to be found in the old pub traditions of Ireland.

Come sit down and pour the glass,

Of fine porter and stay a while,

Sing some songs and let us be together.

Listen to some stories with old friends,

As we laugh and we pretend our lives will never end.

The songs we sing are almost always old,

Oh, the stories often told of lovers lost and heroes bold.

The problems of the world are discussed here,

Illuminated by their beer, diminished by the cheer.

It's such a beautiful arrangement—Chris O’Brien steady on bouzouki, Mike Bill weaving a plaintive whistle through John’s hushed storytelling, and Nancy Turner’s heartbeat bodhran steadying the course. Nailing the drive of the piece, Joel Cooper and Nathan Waddill weave their steady basses (standard and piccolo) through the tender-hearted mix.

Stories of the band’s origin quickly ensue as Joel and Chris each recount their discovery of John’s work at Lulu’s Cafe. Soon, the jigs are cut loose, including “Tripping up the Stairs,” “Six Penny Money,” and “Ten Penny Bit.” Mike Bill’s whistle and Nancy Turner’s drumming lead us into the piece. The song bubbles along until the polyrhythms of the two bases and drums are keenly woven into a frenzy of spirited play. One can almost imagine the step-dancers taking the floor and kicking up their heels.

At the break, John Bahler presents one of his fine songs about a love gone wrong, “Devil of a Man.” The tune highlights John’s breakneck cross-picking and Nathan Waddill’s unbelievable bass playing synced up with the fantastic drive. Also featured to great effect is John Bahler’s remarkable vocal style—strong, pitch-perfect, and remarkably convincing as he spins the old-timey-sounding tragedy.

Following this driving number, Corrinne Becknell Lucas of the singing group Return to Normal, from North Judson, Indiana, and the beloved Plymouth architect and visionary of Plymouth, Brent Martin, compete against each other as they answer questions biographically tied to Kennedy’s Kitchen on the popular, “Shoot the Moon,” game show. Questions unfurl related to hand drums (Nancy Jack Turner), Northfield, Minnesota (Joel Cooper), Clonmel, Ireland (Mike Bill), Bass Playing (Nathan Waddill), and Willey Clancy and Uilleann Pipes (Chris O’Brien). Of course, as always, they all win!

In the show's final section, Kennedy’s Kitchen performs a song by George Schricker, the host, entitled “Yellow River.” The music, partially based on an anonymous verse in McDonald’s History of Marshall County, is performed as a kind of mystical prayer – as opposed to its heraldic delivery, on George’s album, Back on Track. As John’s soothing voice unfurls the chorus and Chris and Joel join in, the reverie of the arrangement takes hold:

Oh, the Yellow River, twinkling in the summertime,

Flowing like a nursery rhyme, my heart remembers best.

Oh, the Yellow River, painted carpet in the Fall,

Leaves pass by, reminding all that time can never rest.

Oh, the Yellow River, peaceful in the winter snow,

Dreamlike banks that always know each of my requests.

Oh, the Yellow River, waking me to Spring,

Full and wide, she sings of this life,

With which we’re blessed.

Immediately following the song, the fiddle leads the band into its closing number – another medley consisting of three jigs and a reel in this order: “Christy Barrys,” “Rolling Wave,” “The Old Favorite,” and “The West Claire Reel.” The collection picks up speed as it moves along until the audience joins in with spirited clapping, closing the show. The whistle, fiddle, guitar, drum, and the two bases curl together like ghosted smoke above a hearth fire–bathing the room in a warm golden glow. Once again, Kennedy’s Kitchen had worked its magic.