My sister lives at a ranch right on the ocean. A train rolls past daily. They have this great bocce ball court that looks out at the trains and the sea beyond. Her whole family surfs. They walk under the tracks and out to the beach. I visited with my grandkids once. While there I wrote this song, using some piano keys on my cellphone as I had no other instrument handy. Young Jamie had just mastered knowing all the state capitols at the age of 6, so I threw in Lincoln, Nebraska. As a kid I would love waving at trains. You don’t see who’s there, always, but hope someone is looking. And as the song says, I’ve always lived near the sea. And where I grew up trains are often sailing right along the beach.
Liz Kennedy "Waving At Trains"
Liz Kennedy "Snow in San Francisco" Official Video
"Everyone Knows How It Goes" Liz Kennedy featuring Taj Mahal
Liz Kennedy "It's Late" Lyric Video
About Liz Kennedy
After going through a whirlwind of life changes, the San Francisco based singer-songwriter, Liz Kennedy, has come to see songwriting not as a choice but something she has to do. She says music sustains her and offers a way forward. Her decade plus as a critically acclaimed recording artist has brought her confidence in her ever-unfolding identity as a quirky, often humorous and ever insightful storyteller committed to honesty and finding something unique to say.
Jaffe, whose credits include Maria Muldaur, Lenny Williams and Magic Christian, is the renowned engineer and producer of Studio D in Sausalito, where legendary artists like Bonnie Raitt, Ringo Starr and Carlos Santana have recorded. One of the greatest influences on Kennedy’s development since she took the plunge into recording, he has helmed all her previous recordings, Clean White Shirt, A Good Peach, Nothing Like an Angel, Speed Bump, and Hike Up Your Socks. Jaffe adds numerous string textures to Kennedy’s songs, including acoustic and electric guitar, dobro, mandolin, lap steel and ebow.
Kennedy describes herself as honest and observant and adds, “I sure hope I can easily laugh at myself.” Her songcraft – where the lyrics always follow the music – perfectly reflects that thoughtful self-assessment. The fascinating part of the process is not knowing just where the inspiration will come from. “It’s strange how emotional pain and joy can equally send you racing to the piano to capture something … whether it's a butterfly or a heavy brick.
After graduating from Stanford University, where she studied anthropology and journalism, she settled in the Bay Area and worked for film companies that made TV commercials. Long before reality TV became a mainstream part of our culture, Kennedy specialized in casting real people (instead of professional actors) for commercials. She also married and raised two children. In her later 40s, around the time she began realizing she had “songs in my head” that had never been recorded, she met Jaffe, who liked what he heard and encouraged her to take her work as a singer/songwriter more seriously. In addition to her growing catalog of recordings, she has performed over the years at such renowned Bay Area hotspots as Sweetwater Music Hall, the Throckmorton Theatre and Club Fox. Kennedy enjoys performing live in an intimate setting and finding a connection people make to her songs. I love to hear what someone gets from a song, in their own way. A good song should translate into another person’s language. Yet before performing there is recording. “I’ve had inexpressibly sublime moments in the studio, listening to what these great musicians bring to my songs,” she says. “I have literally fallen to my knees with the joy of an unexpectedly beautiful touch. There’s no greater moment for me than when we are all listening to the finished product and loving what we hear, experiencing our collective ownership.”