Exposé Online banner

Brian Kenney Fresno — We'll Always Have Fresno
(Bonghit Records no#, 2013, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2013-09-18

We'll Always Have Fresno Cover artWe’ll always have what? Those in the know, and almost anyone who’s ever lived in California will know that Fresno is one of the state’s largest cities, located about 200 miles south of Sacramento in the state’s fertile San Joaquin valley, and remains an important part of California’s “bread basket.” Home of Cal State Fresno and Fresno City College, the city has an undeserved bad reputation. Brian Kenney Fresno (henceforth BKF) is a songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who pretty much marches to his own beat, well outside the mainstream, but certainly one who deserves greater acclaim than the obscurity that he now seems to wield. He has three or four recordings prior to this one, and a few live DVDs also. Oh, and did I mention? Most of his songs are about, or somehow related to Fresno! BKF’s approach is a good fun, singalong absurdist style that covers a variety of topics: The opener “Gina Pepe” is about a girl he used to know in high school; “Daddy Doggy Daughter Day” is a song about his adorable little dog that’s featured on the CD cover with a little red coat; “Chick with a Dick” is... well, a hilarious true story I guess. The latter is performed by his band E Is for Elephant, but on all the other tracks here, BKF plays all the instruments – his main instrument being a 12 string Warr Guitar – and sings all the vocals with a little help from his friends. A couple of the dozen tracks are just short narratives, and there are a couple of ‘serious’ tunes here also: the first one you’ll encounter is the beautiful acoustic instrumental “Prelude de Fresno in E Minor” (he had to get Fresno in there somehow); others include “Orcas Island” and the surprisingly avant-garde exploration “Trees,” written by fellow traveler Mark Growden. “Ozone” is another fairly avant-garde piece dealing with Fresno’s air pollution issues. So what is this comparable to? BKF is certainly operating on his own wavelength, but I am occasionally reminded of Captain Beefheart (but without the strong blues roots), or his acolyte Zoogz Rift; and the crude stuff is actually more just injected humor, nowhere near the raunch level of Flo & Eddie era Zappa. So all taken, this is probably like nothing else you’ve ever heard.

Filed under: New releases, 2013 releases

Related artist(s): Brian Kenney Fresno

Latest news

2019-08-20
Alex's Hand Seeks Spa Treatment – American / European band Alex's Hand has a new album in the works called Hungarian Spa, which looks to be their biggest and best yet, featuring a large roster of guest musicians. They're seeking funding to take the project on the road, and are looking for help from the crowd of wisdom. » Read more

2019-06-05
Legendary Co-Founder of The 13th Floor Elevators Passes Away at Age 71 – Sadly, Roky Erickson passed away on May 31, 2019. Known as the father of psychedelic music and co-founder of the ground breaking 13th Floor Elevators, Roky had a profound influence on music from the 60s to today. Plagued by his own personal demons, Roky had a difficult life and is now free of these burdens. » Read more

2019-04-24
Help MoonJune Bring Great Music to Life – Like many music lovers around the world, we’ve been thrilled and amazed to hear the recordings that have been released by MoonJune from sessions at La Casa Murada in Spain. Such label stalwarts as Mark Wingfield, Markus Reuter, Asaf Sirkis, Tony Levin, Dusan Jevtovic, Vasil Hadzimanov, and many more have gathered in various combinations at the studio to produce some of the most creative music in recent years. Now, label head Leonardo Pavkovic is offering a compilation, La Casa Murada - MoonJune Sessions, Volume One, as a fundraiser for upcoming sessions. » Read more

2019-04-10
The Pineapple Thief to Tour North America – November and December of 2019 will see The Pineapple Thief bringing their music to Canada, Mexico, and the US, and famed drummer Gavin Harrison will be on board. The band has been touring extensively in Europe, but North America will be new territory for them. » Read more

2019-03-25
Scott Walker RIP – Noel Scott Engel, better known as Scott Walker, was one of the most intriguing and enigmatic musical figures in the second half of the 20th Century. His strange career started with The Walker Brothers, an American pop group that featured no one named Walker and no brothers. After moving to England in 1965, they had a series of hit singles. Scott's solo work started with Scott in 1967. Starting in the 80s, his work took an increasingly avant-garde turn. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Beardfish - Sleeping in Traffic: Part One – Over the years there have been so many “next great things” in progressive rock that the phrase has lost meaning. The world is big enough, and prog varied enough, that there are always good things...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues