The sun rises on a beautiful San Francisco morning. The seagulls come alive and scatter into the atmosphere as if to signal the start of a new day, and amidst their heavenly cries, we find the beginnings of a gilded melody. After deciding on the right pair of shoes to take on the impending walk through the city, Liz Kennedy emerges from her home to find a couple of players from her band waiting to greet her. There’s a smile on her face that captures the warm glow of the morning light, and before we know it, she’s made her way down to the cigar joint on the corner, saying hello to all of the interesting characters that dot the landscape on her way.
There’s a guitar slung across her back. The trolley slides down the street like it would on any other day. People fill the sidewalks and storefronts looking for a bit of the cultured California lifestyle that North Beach has become so synonymous with.
All the while, Kennedy’s “Hike Up Your Socks” is playing in the background, its tender vocal harmonies echoing into the ethers and leaving a trail of evocative textures in their wake that are hard to turn away from, even with all of the interesting content taking over the screen in this stunning new music video. The buildings, their caretakers, the silent passersby – together they comprise a patchwork of visuals that encapsulate the energy of the song without overstating the theme of its narrative.
The hook ebbs and flows like the tide on the bay, but the charismatic crooning of Kennedy never drifts very far from the spotlight as “Hike Up Your Socks” nears its fever pitch conclusion. The video starts to feel more and more like a daydream as we find our star and her backing band performing in a perfect open-air venue that only this particular city could provide, but the postmodernity of this climactic moment doesn’t descend into surreal excess. We finish the track with a strong harmony that hangs above us in the air for a few minutes after the band ceases the play, and despite the single’s rather lengthy duration (almost five minutes), it’s tough to resist playing it all over again on the spot.
Whether you’ve been listening to Liz Kennedy through the last ten plus years of her career or are just now finding out about her work through the erudite melodicism of “Hike Up Your Socks,” discriminating pop fans can’t go wrong in acquiring this latest release from the San Francisco pop stalwart. “Hike Up Your Socks” was written in honor of Kennedy’s husband, whose love for the community of North Beach’s Telegraph Hill inspired both the video and the music for this single prior to his passing. It’s a grand gesture from a woman whose voice is one of the more sophisticated of the west coast indie singer/songwriter movement today, and if it is a taste of what we can expect out of future recordings bearing her name, then you can definitely count on seeing her and her awesome music in the headlines again soon.
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