Three Rivers local to perform at the Riviera Theatre

Kennedy New

Three Rivers local to perform at the Riviera Theatre

Three Rivers Commercial News | Kate Kulwicki, C-N Intern

THREE RIVERS – Local performer Kennedy New will be filling the Riviera bar with her country-folk sound on Aug. 4 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

New said her love for music started at an early age.

“I have always played music,” she said. “I started out on piano for two years, I played violin for four or five years, and then I started playing guitar when I was 15.”

While New has been playing music for most of her life, she said she is new to live performances.

“I started performing when my dad forced me to go to open-mic night at the Riviera when I was 16,” she said. “After that, I then started going every week to play there.”

The Riviera is a special venue for New because it is not only where she got her start, but also where she met Johnnie Ballard, her performance partner.

“[Ballard] was at the Riviera when I was performing, so that is where it all started,” she said.

“I do a lot of thumb picking fingerstyles and that is what he was into. The type of [thumb picking] I do is not a very common type, so when he saw me doing it he said he wanted to teach more about fingerstyles. He taught me the fingerstyles that he learned when he was studying music in Nashville, and then we started performing together.”

New said thumb picking involves pulling strings rather than strumming them.

“Thumb picking is a fingerstyle, so instead of using a pick and strumming, you pull each string with a different finger,” she said. “Instead of playing all of your strings, you are only playing certain ones and you can make a melody out of it.”

Alongside playing guitar and singing, New said she is also a songwriter.

“I write my own music,” she said. “I kind of write about everything. I wrote one song for my grandma, I wrote another about a cow that I had, and then I wrote one about a boy that I had a crush on when I was younger.”

New, who recently performed in Nashville during a songwriter’s convention, said she tries to make every song its own story.

“There is much more to music than just music,” she said. “I try to deliver a message with each song so that the audience can get something out of it. I really want everyone to have a good time and I hope they can see I have a passion for it and that it is not just music to me.”

Through live performances, New said she has found her calling.

“When I started playing publicly, I realized music was something I wanted to do,” she said. “I want to pursue music in the future. I would like to do demo work or music therapy. Music is definitely a big passion of mine, so I play to make it my career.”