Bryan Kennedy was born in Shreveport, La., but would later relocate and grow up in the Nashville area. Early on, Kennedy found he had a knack for athletics and would receive his highest accolades in the sport of football. He went on to be a two-time All-State performer in High School and then got a scholarship offer to play defensive end at Ole Miss. He earned the starting job his sophomore through senior years and was awarded the John Howard Vaught award of excellence his senior year.
“Playing football at Ole Miss was a dream come true.” Kennedy says, “As a kid I had painted my electric football men in Ole Miss uniforms. I loved the atmosphere, I loved the campus, I loved the players I met and played with. It was the greatest time of my life.”
In 1983, just six credit hours shy of graduating, Kennedy left the university. Twenty years later however, he came back to Ole Miss to complete his degree in Broadcast Journalism in the spring of 2003.
“As crazy as it sounds today, I could not pass the second year of Spanish,” he says.
But after years of telling young people in Nashville to finish out their education Kennedy began to feel a little guilty. Plus after hearing each time how many football players do not go on to graduate Kennedy decided he would not be part of that statistic any more. “My High School Coach taught me better” he says.
Outside of athletics, Kennedy also has a strong passion for music which is no surprise given his familial background. His father, Jerry Kennedy, was a pioneer in country music, while running Mercury Records in Nashville for over 20 years. While at Mercury, Jerry worked with artists such as Roger Miller, Reba McIntire, Johnny Rodriguez, the Statler Brothers, and Tom T. Hall. In addition, he also was an accomplished musician in his own right, and played on records for such artists as Bob Dylan, Ringo Star, and Roy Orbison, and Elvis Presley.
Bryan began his musical quest as a song plugger for his father and later for Ricky Scaggs. It was during this time he gained a lot of know how into song writing, and he was influenced daily by all of the great songs he heard. His writing gained a lot of notoriety and later earned him a deal with EMI music publishing where he would go on to work for 8 years.
Kennedy has written six hits that have appeared on Garth Brooks’ records, including two #1 radio hits “Beaches of Cheyenne,” and “American Honky Tonk Bar Association.” Some of Kennedy’s other Garth Brooks cuts include “Cowboy Cadillac” “The Old Stuff”, “Rodeo or Mexico”, “The Fever” and the current hit “Good Ride Cowboy”. In addition, Kennedy was the opening act before Garth Brooks performing in front of thousands of people. Although he will tell you that all he really did was provide back ground music for those buying T-shirts.
Today, Kennedy has co-written and is starring in a musical comedy entitled “Toe Roaster”. ‘Toe Roaster’ has been described as a ride through life, delivered with humor yet touching each person in a personal and very real way.
“My grandmother taught me that laughter was one of the most important gifts to give anyone,” he says. “She gave it to me and I want to share that with others”
Oh yes, it is hilarious, but it is also very thought provoking, and that makes ‘Toe Roaster’ perfect for every venue.
“I have had many terminally ill patients come up after the shows and tell me their situation, and share with me that they have not laughed in years, and they needed it so badly. Then on the other hand, I have had grown men cry during the play when they realize something about the depth of Toe Roaster goes beyond humor, and reaches into normal lives..”
You can find out more about Bryan and the play Toe Roaster at www.toeroaster.com.