Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Brotherly shove

Musical siblings emerge from creative slump with six-song album

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In 2009, local band of brothers Sons of York -- Luke, Jake and Cody Kennerd, sons of former Blue Bombers kicker Trevor Kennerd -- released a take-notice full-length debut, Black and White Summer. It was a nostalgic love letter to '60s pop, informed by everything from The Outsiders to the Beach Boys -- but even though it was an ode to a decade the Kennerds -- in their late teens to mid-20s at the time -- could only know through music and movies, they proved they were true students of their genre.

It's fitting, then, that their latest EP -- and first outing since 2011's slight three-song NYC Demos -- is called Forever Potential. This scrappy six-song slice of garage rock, produced by Indicator Indicator's Sandy Taronno, certainly makes good on the promise of that first album.

It also signals a triumphant return to the local scene for the band, which has been relatively quiet over the last few years. "We were in a bit of a slump," says Luke, 29. "We weren't writing much, we weren't playing much. I think that's the way it is with a band; it ebbs and flows. You're going to have periods of low creativity and low morale."

Still, calling it quits was never on the family dinner table, so to speak. "I think it was easier to get the wheels turning again because we're brothers. It's harder for us to break up."

Besides, Sons of York still sound like they're having the most fun in the room. "(Forever Potential) is the sound of a band coming out of a slump," Luke says.

The band now counts Darren Hebner among its ranks. The 21-year-old guitarist, who has been playing with the trio on and off since 2011, has proved to be a missing link.

"We wanted a second guitarist for a while," Luke says. "He's a (music) student at Brandon University, so there's nothing he can't play. He's got an ear for detail. I always felt like there was something missing as a three-piece."

Having Taronno at the board, too, helped the band get its groove back.

"He's an excellent producer, especially from an arrangement standpoint. We'd have 80 per cent of a song, but there'd be no bridge and he'd come in with an idea. He played all the keys on the album, too."

Buoyed by new music, the band is looking forward to getting back in the game. "Things are better in every way," Luke says. "We're excited to play music again. We're excited to play shows." Shows such as Saturday night’s benefit concert in support of Save a Child’s Life, an Israel-based humanitarian project whose mission is to improve cardiac care for children in developing nations.

That said, Sons of York aren't careerists, and they're managing their expectations. A lot has changed since 2009; their lives include relationships, day jobs and mortgages. "We're less gung-ho to tour," Luke admits, "but we want to do as much as we can in the city."

And they're just fine with that.

"We're quite happy doing this on our own terms."

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 20, 2014 C3


Updated on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 1:06 PM CST: Clarifies that concert is benefit in support of Save a Child's Life

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