This debut by Irish singer Cormac Kenevey is almost the very definition of pleasant. Kenevey has a light, pleasing voice that is well suited to airy, romantic material. Likewise, his band, led by pianist Phil Ware, keeps things moving smoothly and melodically. Listening to This Is Living
, one can imagine someone's grandmother coming across Kenevey performing on say, PBS, and finding the young man and his music very nice.
Some of the most effective performances on the album are the most straightforward. "You Call It Jogging, written by John D. Loudermilk, has a nice bluesy bounce that suits the wry lyrics. Kenevey sings it with just the right amount of humor; that is, he holds back enough so it doesn't become a novelty tune. On the ballads, he turns in an assured performance of the perennial "I'm Through With Love, and his own composition, "Movies, is sweet and lyrically observant.
Another original song, "Just A Day, is unfortunately the album's one serious misstep. Built around what sounds like an ill-conceived human beatbox performance, on top of which Kenevey declaims overly precious lyrics, the tune is exceedingly gimmicky. Egregiously, it's placed right in the middle of the album, leaving a lasting impression.
Otherwise This Is Living is sure to please fans of the musical hybrid created when Broadway and jazz overlap. It is smooth, accomplished, and assured. In a word, pleasant.
Personnel: Cormac Kenevey-vocals; Phil Ware-piano; Dave Redmond-bass; Kevin Brady-drums; Danny Healy-trumpet; Robert Geraghty-tenor sax, bass clarinet; Karl Ronan-trombone