Liam Kennedy-Clark. Photo suppliedLiam Kennedy-Clark will take a massive leap forward in his career this weekend when he joins the band of country music icon, Lee Kernaghan.
The opportunity is a game-changer for the Ashburton-raised artist, meaning he will be performing to packed crowds every weekend as part of the singer-songwriter’s 25th Anniversary Tour.
Now based in Queensland, Liam will be playing guitar and piano as part of the headlining band, but learning the songs won’t be a problem as he’s been a long-time fan.
“I was absolutely stoked,” he said.
“I found out the other day, I was down teaching and got a message from Tom Wolfe (of The Wolfe Brothers) who is currently on tour with Lee.
“As well as being lucky enough to tour with such a big name, I know quite a few of the songs.”
Liam estimates he could be performing to about 1500 fans for each show and has already been in contact with the Australian star.
“He’s been supportive and said he’s had a look at some of my stuff,” he said.
“Lee’s really iconic; he’s a household name and everybody knows most of his songs (in Australia).”
Liam first saw Lee Kernaghan play at the Tamworth Country Music Festival five years ago, saying the whole experience opened his eyes to country as a genre.
As well as gearing up to the series of shows, Liam is also about to launch his EP, Travelling Lines on June 23.
He has funded the project himself and brought in a talented bunch of musicians who support him on the release.
While the multi-instrumentalist has been influenced by the likes of, Vince Gill, Albert Lee, Joe Walsh, Brad Paisley and Keith Urban, his own style has morphed into a unique sound all of his own.
“I grew up on classic country like Merle Haggard, The Highwaymen … so there’ll be a little bit of that and I’ve also found my own style,” he said.
“I’ve listened to a lot of Pink Floyd to REM, with country being my main love, so it’s a new style of country that caters to a wider audience.”
Liam is now looking forward to a trip home next month where he will hold the Hometown Show at The Ashburton Trust Event Centre on June 24.
The show will feature some of New Zealand’s best young artists, including Kayla Marshall, and Campbell & Alyssa Landrebe, along with a house band made up of musicians from Christchurch and Timaru.
“We have made it a whole lot bigger,” he said.
“We’ll have a lot of original music in the show, a lot of music I grew up on, and a few curveballs.”
By Megan Knad © The Ashburton Guardian - 25 May 2017