Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
It doesn't take much imagination to determine upon listening to either "Magnolia" or his latest album, "Two Matchsticks," that Andrew Kenny, the lead singer and songwriter for The Wooden Birds and the former mastermind of the American Analog Set, could make a great batch of cookies. He absolutely might spend an evening, home from crunching numbers at the day job he has in Austin, Texas, making the battering and baking them, while the wife is out for the night, in the kitchen that used to belong to Butthole Surfer Gibby Haynes. He might surprise her with them and they'll sit on the sofa, when she returns, listen to a record in the living room, eating a few warm cookies as midnight snacks before hitting the hay. He sounds like that guy and, in fact, he is that guy.
We've had some of these pecan-ed or walnutted cookies, thrown into a baggie for travel, and they're tremendous, obviously made with an attention to detail. They looked as good as they tasted and it's a similar distinction that Kenny's music holds. He writes sweetly sounding songs that are actually, at their hearts, sweet songs. Through and through, they maintain mostly good vibes. They are pretty and they are full of the kind of goodness that you offer wholeheartedly and unflinchingly to that person that you've found that you've decided that you want to be most madly in love with them forever. He recognizes that feeling and that need to be struck by lightning and to feel nothing else but that lightning and to bear the burden of needing to express what that lightning strike felt like in different ways. He even has a song called, "Struck By Lightning," on the new album, but it happens to be the darkest cut on it, a song that seems to have come from a darker place than most of the first half of the record.
He specializes in those songs that sound like they could be happening in the heads of those out, in the middle of beautiful swims. They are floating on a stagnant body of water, on their backs, with the water closing into their ears and around their heads, lips to the sky, able to stare up into that clear ass sky and feel as apart of it all as they've ever been. He tends to remind me of a character in the Ray Bradbury play, "The Veldt," a wife who prefers candles to overhead lightning, using the reasoning, "I rather like candles. There's always the chance they will blow out and then I can light them again. Gives me something to do." We think that Kenny would enjoy the act of lighting a candle, the same as the act of baking cookies, or of being solidly in love.