It’s like seeing double. Carli and Julie Kennedy are a Canadian powerhouse duo with a musical bond that only identical twins can share. With Carli on vocals and guitar and Julie on vocals, violin, mandolin and bass guitar, they have developed a sound that is all their own: a fusion of their background in country, folk, jazz and classical music. Originally from the small town of Powell River, these sisters are known for their exceptional harmonies, fine musicality, and sincere songwriting style. An undeniably energetic duo, the Kennedys’ performances bring a mix of toe-‐tapping tunes and intimate, heartfelt songs to the stage.
Carli and Julie have been making music together for as long as they can remember. They started piano lessons at five years old, and three years later, discovered the guitar and violin. Needless to say, there was always plenty of music in the Kennedy household. Carli and Julie spent many years honing their skills in a family band, playing country tunes at community events. Taking their musical aspirations to the next level, the sisters entered the School of Music at the University of Victoria and both graduated with their Bachelor’s degrees in music performance in 2008.
Their classical chops took them far. Julie was named Concertmaster of the 2007 National Youth Orchestra of Canada and Carli’s guitar playing achieved third prize at the Canadian Nationals – but they both felt their true country roots calling. They released their first EP of four original songs produced by Adrian Dolan (The Bills) in 2008. In 2011, the sisters recorded their second EP, “Small Town Stories”, with the 2011 BCCMA Producer of the Year, Paul Shatto (The Higgins) and received a nomination for Roots Album of the Year at the 2013 Vancouver Island Music Awards.
Throughout their career, these twin sisters have commanded hundreds of stages, including performances at Sunfest, Merritt Mountain Music Festival, Vancouver Island Exhibition and the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. Most recently, Carli and Julie completed their “Classical to Country Tour”, bridging their seemingly contradictory histories as they performed shows from BC to Ontario, receiving numerous standing ovations along the way.
When they’re not on the Trans Canada, The Kennedys are often found writing and performing with Nashville’s best. They had the privilege of representing Canada’s Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers as the SOCAN Artist of the Month on the Billy Block Show, second only to the Grand Ole Opry and Midnight Jamboree as Nashville’s longest running live radio show and concert series.
Carli and Julie have over 30 Nashville performances to their credit and recently returned from two months of writing and performing in preparation for their upcoming album. This new album will include some definite Nashville influences, but will be undeniably Canadian and has already received FACTOR funding for its completion.
Nominated for five 2012 BC Country Music Awards, including The Ray McAuley Horizon Award, Roots/Canadiana Award, All Star Band Specialty Instrument Award for Julie on fiddle, Producer of the Year (Paul Shatto for Small Town Stories) and Website of the Year, Carli and Julie were also nominated for 2013 Roots Album of the Year and 2012 Best Live Act at the Vancouver Island Music Awards. They were chosen to represent BC and showcase at this year’s Alberta Showcase and Ontario Contact in October 2013 and CAFE (Canadian Association of Fairs and Exhibitions) in November 2013.
Reviewers, colleagues, and audiences alike describe Carli and Julie as “true pioneers in the folk, jazz and Celtic genres. Carli is bouncy and effortless on her acoustic while Julie works the fiddle like Jimmy Hendrix on an electric guitar” (Lithium Magazine). This dynamic duo is winning over a wide range of audiences with maturity beyond their years as instrumentalists, vocalists, and songwriters. With a musical connection reminiscent of other Canadian family groups, such as Leahy and The Rankins, audiences are falling in love with the music of Carli and Julie Kennedy.
Band MembersCarli Kennedy: vocals and guitars
Julie Kennedy: vocals, violin, mandolin and bass guitar