Mo Kenney

Just like a mask—that so-called disguise which, in fact, often reveals something profound and otherwise secret about the individual who wears it—cover songs offer a glimpse into the molecular musical composition of the artist interpreting them. With her lonesome take on the legendary Patsy Cline’s “You Belong To Me,” Mo Kenney hints at her own longing, and asserts the universality of the song; to consider the distance between us and our loved ones, to miss them with all our heart, is as natural as breathing.

As the introduction to a covers collection that will further unmask Kenney’s artistic identities, “You Belong To Me” also represents a place and time in her own history with rural Nova Scotia.

"Old country songs always remind me of hanging out with my grandfather Ozzy in West Gore,” Kenney says about the song. “The radio was always on and those tunes were always playing. I’ve been a fan of Patsy Cline since I was a kid, and this is my favourite song of hers."

Over Kenney’s career, she’s explored numerous facets of herself. There’s the understated folk and angsty, fuzzed-out rock ‘n’ roll of her self-titled 2012 debut; the expansive sonic palettes of In My Dreams, which frequently dip into psychedelia; and The Details, which found her confronting demons through experimental songwriting and an idiosyncratic synthesis of sounds. Cover songs have been a significant part of her work since the beginning. Her heavy, intense version of Bowie’s “Five Years” and her bouncy take on Mardeen’s hyper-catchy “Telephones” are both beloved staples in her live sets.

Kenney’s willingness to unflinchingly pursue her artistic impulses on her own terms has resulted in numerous accolades over the past decade, including a 2013 SOCAN Songwriting Prize for her song “Sucker,” a nomination for the 2016 Adult Alternative Album of the Year JUNO for In My Dreams, and too many East Coast Music Awards and Nova Scotia Music Awards to count. And despite the uncertainty of live music in 2020, the year will find Kenney exploring new and innovative ways to connect with her fans.