Monday, March 03, 2008

Albums You Should Own: Erin McKeown- Sing, You Sinners

To continue our occasional series:

I first became aware of Erin McKeown when she opened a couple of Nields shows that I saw back in the day (Nields bass player Dave Chalfant has produced several of her albums); her guitar stylings, jaunty and jazzy, instantly drew me in. Her voice was not of the times- she's always sounded like she should be fronting a jazz combo, not trying to make her way in the rock-folk world.

Well, you can imagine my joy, then, when she released Sing You Sinners, an album of well known (and not so well known!) jazz standards. With herself on guitar (and banjo!), Todd Sickafoose on bass, Sam Kassirer on keyboards, and Allison Miller on drums, she creates the atmosphere of a tight combo playing their hearts out in a club for ten or fifteen people. Her voice is crisp and full as she takes old favorites like "Get Happy" and "Paper Moon" and owns them in such a way that you forget that anyone else has ever sung them. And as though to prove she's not just a pretty voice, her guitar work on "They Say it's Spring" is note perfect, but laden with emotion at the same time.

But my favorite part is the dancing- oh, the dancing! The middle of the album, with "I Was A Little Too Lonely (You Were A Little Too Late)", the title track, and "Rhode Island is Famous For You", is so peppy, that I defy you to not want to get up out of your chair and dance around the room. I actually bought this album for my mom because of this part of the album- she wanted something that would lift her spirits on the ride home from work. Mission accomplished! Although I did have to warn her about dancing and driving...

I recommend this album for fans of : smiling, dancing, having a good time, french cafes, nearly perfect sound mixes

Side story: I had just purchased this album, and was listening to it constantly on my commute, when my car was broken into and the stereo was stolen, with the CD in it. This almost made me sadder than losing the stereo. When I got an iPod a couple of months later, I repurchased the album on iTunes, so as to make it harder for someone to take away from me a second time. :)

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