Friday, January 25, 2013

Erin McKeown Beachland Tavern, January 24, 2013

I saw Erin McKeown last night at the Beachland. The 12-degree weather kept a few folks home, but fifty or so hearty souls made it, and the show was a delight.

McKeown was promoting her stellar new record, Manifestra, which had been released nine days earlier, and she did quite a bit of it. The record explores politics, both national and personal, and Baghdad To The Bayou (which she wrote with Rachel Maddow), Histories, Proof, The Politician ("If nobody knows, Tell me what's the crime?"), Manifestra and The Jailer were consistently good. This new one might just be her best yet.

She did plenty of older material as well, going all the way back to Distillation 2000 for Queen Of Quiet. Slung-lo and Lucky Day from Grand 2003, Aspera and We Are More from We Will Become Like Birds 2005, and Santa Cruz, You, Sailor, and The Lions from 2009's Hundreds Of Lions, all done with cool arrangements and a super tight band.

Everything was great. Her voice was perfect, her minimalist band (Marc Dileo on drums and Matt Douglas on alto and baritone sax and keys, and her own guitar and keys) made unusually full arrangements out of everything. The baritone sax filled in so that you never missed a bass player. The mix was great, the PA wasn't too loud, and most of the crowd shut up and listened. A fine songwriter, singer, and guitarist gave her all, and gave a highly entertaining performance. 

Go see her if she's coming your way- her upcoming shows in Scotland, the UK, the US midwest and west coast are listed here. You can listen to lots of her music at that same link. And you can buy Manifestra, there, too, available in CD, vinyl and download formats. It's wonderful, trust me (go listen).

I suppose there's plenty of fine artists that should be bigger stars than they are. Erin McKeown is a perfect example.

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