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.

updated: 12 years ago