By Anna Lothson
Country singer Annie Kennedy doesn't always have to be in the spotlight, she just wants to be part of the crowd.
The Nashville-based recording artist will have that chance as she returns to Oak Park to play at Eastgate Cafe at 102 Harrison St. this Friday, Aug. 24 at 8 p.m. She'll also have the opportunity to visit her parents and relatives who live in Oak Park, and be streets away from where she lived growing up in Berwyn.
Kennedy will add to her list of coffee-shop type performances where she'll share her music in a venue she enjoys most.
"I just really like it because you feel like you're background music" she said, "and then you catch people's attention. [And] you get to meet a lot of people."
The diverse crowd a cafe attracts also helps widen her fan base, Kennedy said.
"I really like seeing different parts of the country. I normally don't get to do that," the 25-year-old singer said. "No matter where you go you can find people who love music. Even if you don't have a lot in common, music can bring people together."
Kennedy's visit will be part of her tour supporting her debut album, "Highway Songs," that showcase her ability to merge traditional country into modern sounds in a way that tell the stories of love and life. Her music, she said, offers a little bit for every type of music lover.
"I think there is something on this album for everyone; young or old, man or woman, country music fan or not," she said. Kennedy's visit to Oak Park comes not long after she came in June for Oak Park's Day in Our Village event. During the past year she's been featured on numerous local, national and international radio shows and continues to make a name for herself on the Nashville stage. The young singer headed south not long after graduating in 2009 from Millikin University, and it wasn't long before she made the connections needed. Reel Love Recording Company picked up her debut album and Kennedy couldn't be happier about the outcome.
"They have a lot of very cool vintage equipment," Kennedy said about one of the successes of the album. "I'm very proud of my studio effort and I'm looking forward to getting back."
The album features seven originally written songs that she hopes can spark inspiration for her next venture.
Until she had that chance though, she'll enjoy being back where it all started.
"It's always nice to come home," Kennedy said. "I'm a Chicago girl. I love getting home and getting around my people."
For more information about Kennedy's music, visit anniekennedycountry.com.