MIKE KENEALLY Wooden Smoke (2001) & Wooden Smoke Asleep (2002) + Bonuses

Wooden Smoke (2001)
Because We All Miss Carl Wilson

Guitarist Mike Keneally made his name as Frank Zappa’s last guitarist, replacing Steve Vai (no less) for FZ’s final 1988 tour. And, since 1992, Keneally has released many an album that shares his love for his master’s voice. But you wouldn’t know any of that by listening to Keneally’s 9th solo LP, Wooden Smoke. Largely acoustic, yet retaining plenty of Keneally’s innate musical playfulness, Wooden Smoke is unique to MK’s catalog for its quiet sophistication and appreciative nod to The Beach Boys – more specifically… Carl Wilson. It takes an inner ear to appreciate the nuance that Carl brought to the Beach Boys (most notably during brother Brian’s late 60s/early 70s withdrawal) and Keneally savours those moments in “2001,” which is ripe with echoes of Carl’s Beach Boys staples, “Trader” and “Long Promised Road.” Along with that, Wooden Smoke offers up the delicate soft white underbelly to Keneally’s frantically diverse catalog. Worth getting at Amazon.


New England
Nanny-Ass Crow
Dee ‘n’ A
5 Legs
Father’s Day

Wooden Smoke

Wooden Smoke Asleep (2002)
More Quiet Ruminations, An Alternate View

Big thanks to our pal, Yotte, for offering this limited edition companion disc to Wooden Smoke, entitled Wooden Smoke Asleep – featuring alternate versions and altogether different instrumental asides that quietly compliment the (already wonderful) original. I’ve only begun listening to this for the first time this morning and am already smitten. 10 years later, this limited bonus disc seems to only be available in MP3 form at Amazon.

David Lynch’s Curtains (2:29)
Me, Innate (3:47)
4 Legs (2:28)
The Canyon (1:18)
Kane St. (2:40)
Testing (1:29)
Paloma (0:59)
Boom 2001 (1:58)
Hi (2:53)
Haunted Wind (1:23)
The Velvet of Knowing (4:28)
The Haunted Wind of Commanche (0:50)
David Lynch’s Curtains – Sleepwalk With Me (1:49)
Thanks (0:57)
Nanny-Ass Coda (1:49)
And, So (1:29)
Mumbledy Bag (1:48)
Manhattan (2:25)


Piano Reductions Vol. 1 (2004)
The Music Of Steve Vai. At Amazon (HERE).

Dancing + Dancing With Myself (2000)
2CD Version w/Bonus Solo Live Disc. At Amazon (HERE).


  • Capt. Willard
    November 11, 2010 - 21:58 | Permalink

    Find it HERE.

  • Don From Oregon
    October 1, 2012 - 01:16 | Permalink

    You know-
    It’s funny (and strangely synchronous) that mere hours after I ape out because RS appears to be functioning like a service should, using the gentleman in question as my “aping out” point, that this link magically appears! Are you now going to up “Synchronicity”?
    Ha, Ha… That was sort of funny…..
    BTW- I have never asked if you were an XTC fan, although I almost (sort of) assume you might be because of your love of really good pop music, so- have you heard “Wing Beat Fantastic”? the Mike Keneally/Andy Partridge collaboration? And if so- what did you think?
    PS- thanks a LOT for this. I hope you enjoyed listening to the “Hat” remaster. It brought back fond memories for me.

  • Willard
    October 1, 2012 - 02:22 | Permalink

    Actually, what happened was, after seeing your Keneally link, I noticed that this particular post wasn’t in my big ole list of links on the right side of the blog. It’s been “up” for the last 2 years, but there’s been no link to it so nobody has seen it or visited it. So I refurbished, re-upped and re-posted it. Thanks. Already have Hat and haven’t heard the Mike & Andy show.

  • October 1, 2012 - 06:16 | Permalink

    Hi Cap’n-

    I pre-ordered this and was so glad I opted for the 2cd version. – Wooden Smoke Asleep instantly became my favorite.

    I like Wing Beat Fantastic quite a bit. It’s worth seeking out.

    • Willard
      October 1, 2012 - 09:30 | Permalink

      Yotte, you are a kind soul. Many thanks for the share… and nice to hear from you again.

  • October 1, 2012 - 06:23 | Permalink

    This is a great album for this time of the year

  • October 1, 2012 - 14:34 | Permalink

    After listening to this album (thanks Willard and Yotte), I am struck by how good it is, and I urge anyone reading this to check out his latest “Winged Beast Fantastic” as well for more of the same. I tended to avoid Mike a little bit, because he releases like 300 albums a year, and because of the latter day Zappa association, which was the period of time I liked Zappa the least. However- his collaborations with the late Kevin Gilbert, and now this and “WBF” are really hitting home. His sense of melody is as incredible as Paul McCartney, Todd and Andy Partridge, and he self-edits well. I am now going to see about finding some of his other stuff. Any suggestions?

    • Willard
      October 1, 2012 - 15:42 | Permalink

      Personally, I’m not much of an authority on his work. Especially his later stuff. If you like smart pop, though, you should seek out his early band, The Mistakes.

  • October 2, 2012 - 11:23 | Permalink

    Hi guys,
    Glad I could help! Another MK fav of mine is Dancing. I think it was the album just before Wooden Smoke. It’s a long one – just a few seconds shy of 120 minutes with several of Zappa-esque sections and some very beautiful moments.

  • Willard
    October 2, 2012 - 11:33 | Permalink

    Many thanks for the Dancing link, Yotte.

    • October 2, 2012 - 19:30 | Permalink

      Yes, thanks to both of you for turning me on to this stuff. Can you suggest any others of Kenneally’s albums Yotte? (no worry, I can look them up myself, you have done more than enough!) I was told the “Piano Reductions of Steve Vail ” are pretty cool. Has anyone heard those?

  • Willard
    October 2, 2012 - 19:44 | Permalink

    Actually, I’ve got Piano Reductions in a download folder I’ve never had time to listen to. I’ll try and get it up in the next day or so.

    • Willard
      October 2, 2012 - 19:47 | Permalink

      Whattaya know… I’ve got Wing Beat Fantastic in there, too.

      • October 2, 2012 - 21:40 | Permalink

        Heh Heh!
        WBF is a treat. Very intelligent stuff. I just you-tubed some of the Piano Reductions, and they are amazing. I was surprised at how good his piano technique was. Good stuff!

  • Willard
    October 3, 2012 - 20:24 | Permalink

    Hey Yotte, don’t know if you have it or not, but I’ve got the 2CD version of Dancing (which includes Dancing With Myself (live)) that I’ll be upping later tonight/tomorrow. Forgot I had it sitting on the shelf.

    And, Don… Piano Reductions Vol 1 is now up (with the original link for Wooden Smoke). I’ll add a cover to the post to make it more noticeable tomorrow.

  • October 6, 2012 - 09:47 | Permalink

    Thanks Cap’n!
    I have the 2 CD version. I haven’t played ‘myself’ in forever but I remember not really caring much for it.

    Hey Don from O, another good one is Nonkertompf if you’re still trying to hunt down some winners.

  • zappahead
    August 19, 2013 - 06:54 | Permalink

    First heard Mike with Zappa and truthfully….he was stunt guitarist but…..these recordings are slightly different than what I was expecting…..excellent with a nicer softer sound all round…..thanks Willard for the share…keep up your fantastic blog….cheers.

    • Willard
      August 19, 2013 - 09:26 | Permalink

      My thoughts exactly. I didn’t really give a shit about him, outside of curiosity, for years. Then I started hearing his stuff and realized what a dedicated innovator he was. He’ll tackle any and all kinds of music and usually possesses a flair and uniqueness all his own. Every release is a surprise… Wooden Smoke is no exception.

  • Anonymous
    October 9, 2015 - 17:36 | Permalink

    Willard, thanks for once again calling my attention to someone I’d have been completely unaware of otherwise.

  • jmucci
    October 12, 2015 - 18:31 | Permalink

    Great stuff! Do you have any other Keneally stuff ?

  • Leave a Reply