Offaly born singer/songwriter Pete Kennedy, one of the many star names on the bill for this year's Harvest Fest music event in August, has decided to leave Nashville and return to Ireland on a full-time basis. "I just followed my heart," he said, "that's what led me to Nashville in the first place. And that's what I'm doing now too, by deciding to come back home to spend more time with my family. I'm just following my heart again."
Those are the words of singer/songwriter Pete Kennedy, who has been speaking about his decision to come home for the first time. Kennedy, a dad of four, lost his own father in tragic circumstances when he was just a boy himself, and so knows what it's like not having a parent around, revealing that, "sadly it's something I know too much about."
The Offalyman continued by talking about the effect of spending so much time in America away from his wife and children. "Audrey and I have a young family, and the heartache I felt each time I'd leave to head back to Nashville is something I can't even describe. I mean, I love Nashville, the city and the people. And I've had some of the most amazing experiences there. And for my career, Nashville, as the home of country music, was the only place to be."
"But for my heart, home is wherever my family are. And for right now, that's going to be Offaly again. I'll still be writing songs, still looking to perform whenever I can, but most importantly, I'll get to be home at night to tuck my children into bed, and there in the morning when they wake up. I've missed a lot of nights and days like that, and I don't want to miss anymore," he continued.
So while Kennedy is calling time on his long and regular stays in Nashville for the time being, the two-time BCMA (British Country Music Awards) Album of the Year winner is by no means pressing the pause button on his career. In fact, his participation in this year's eagerly awaited Harvest Fest event promises to be one of the highlights of his career to date.
"I can't wait for it, it's going to be amazing. Not only will we have ACM history maker Miranda Lambert (Female Vocalist of the Year for eight years in a row right here in Ireland, but also the legendary Charley Pride, too. And so many more wonderful artists from the States, and of course some of the best from here at home."
"I'll be part of a very special songwriters' session that's going to be happening, with people like Earl 'Bud' Lee and Victoria Shaw, both of whom have written super-huge hits for Garth Brooks, among many others. It's more than just a pleasure to be involved, although it's certainly that. It's an honour. And fans are in for a treat. And I think I say that as much as a fan myself as I do as a performer," he added.
Although coming back home, Kennedy concluded by saying that his career will continue: "I'm looking at this as just a change in the location of where my career is based, but my career itself, that's still the same. I'm a songwriter and I'm a performer. And I'll be looking forward to doing much more of both around Ireland again. But by far the most important thing of all for me, is that I can do that with my family. As a songwriter, you get used to listening to your heart. But I guess as a man, or a father, you can sometimes forget the importance of that. But when you hear it, you can't deny it. And like I said, that's why I'm home again, just following my heart."
Harvest Fest 2017 takes place at Westport House and Enniskillen Airport on August 26 and 27.