DIY Top 12 Pick
December 01, 2008
by L. Bowen, Performing Songwriter
This debut album from Oregonian-turned-New Yorker Kelleigh McKenzie abounds with promise. The triple-threat singer/songwriter/musician plays guitar, banjo and dobro, contributing songs that address a range of contemporary issues. The haunting "Underground" tells a story of innocence lost; the blues-influenced "War for Sale" and the women's-rights advocacy tune "2017," though both short on lyrics, make strong points. McKenzie lightens the mood with the seductive "Easy Time," an assertive come-on, and the tongue-in-cheek "Roark," an ode to her favorite companion, the "naked adventurer." McKenzie's versatile chops (she's a student of jazz and bluegrass) and her unique voice, sometimes channeling the Appalachian melancholy of Dolly Parton or the Texas twang of Nanci Griffith, should carry this adventurous project far.