Whiskey in the Jar, Kenley on the stage

Kenley returned to his Irish roots last Monday when he played for the first time at Molly Malone’s, an Irish pub in West Hollywood.

(Kenley’s great-grandfather on his mother’s side is from Ireland. He’s named “Kenley” for its Irish sound. Plus, he played regularly at Delaney’s Irish Pub in Five Points in Columbia, S.C.)

Molly Malone’s has a long tradition of showcasing live music. Irish punk band Flogging Molly  played there every Monday night in the late ’90s and early 2000s.

It’s an old-school Irish pub — dark, with a laid-back vibe but a sense that it can get rambunctious when it’s packed and everyone has had one too many pints of Guinness.

There’s a door in the back of the long narrow bar that leads to a separate room with a stage.

It is one of the largest and most professional venues I’ve seen Kenley play in, and it was his strongest performance so far in Los Angeles. The venue seemed to showcase his songwriting skills, and his voice sounded strong, yet vulnerable around the edges.

Old-school Fling favorite “No More Than Enough,” about a defiant loser, continues to make an appearance on the Los Angeles set list, as does “Kristen.” Perhaps he thinks that there’s a chance the inspiration for the song — actress Kristen Bell — will hear his promise that he’s a stand-up guy. Let’s just hope her significant other, Dax Shepard, doesn’t hear it first. Or maybe we can go on a double date.

In addition to songs from his first solo album, “Standard Candle” — which was released in 2009 — Kenley also has been playing several unrecorded songs, including “Signal,” in which he questions why his is breaking up. He’s also threatening to go back into the studio soon.

You can read my blog post about Kenley’s first Los Angeles gig at The Cinema Bar or check out Kenley’s music on his website.

The show was the first time we had a chance to see Josh Penrod and his wife, Elizabeth. Josh is a native of Clover, S.C. (the little town with “love” in the middle), and is also a former sports designer at The State newspaper in Columbia, S.C. He’s now a designer at the Los Angeles Times and lives in Pasadena.  (I’m kicking myself for not taking a picture of them and promise I will post one the next time we see them.)

Thanks to all our old and new friends who came out to support Kenley on a Monday night, especially Sid, who came straight from LAX after returning from a trip to Germany.


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