B.B. King has hailed Kennedy as Canada’s premier blues performer.

If the North Country seems a culture apart from the Deep South or industrial cities of the United States, Kennedy said his hometown has fronted a blues tradition of its own.

As a college freshman, Kennedy received a phone call that countless aspiring singers only dreamt about. Motown songwriter-producer Eddie Holland asked him to travel to Detroit and audition for a spot in a vocal super group that Holland, his brother Brian and friend Lamont Dozier were forming for their post-Motown record label, Invictus. Kennedy wound up singing lead and harmony with The Chairmen of the Board for the quartet’s three year run as an international soul sensation.

After the Chairmen busted up, Kennedy went home to Hamilton and split his time between working in a chemical factory and playing blues in clubs. His enthusiasm for 12-bar music never flagged.