June 11, 2011
Erin McKeown comes to the Cafe in support of Hundreds of Lions, her first collection of original songs since 2005’s We Will Become Like Birds.
Although Erin started writing songs while still in high school in hometown Fredericksburg, Virginia, she really began earning her chops while attending Brown University, releasing two albums before graduation and gigging on weekends, whenever and wherever possible. She hasn’t slowed down, famously averaging 200 live shows a year. As a multi-instrumentalist, Erin’s become in demand as a session player; recording vocals, piano, bass lines, and of course, guitar tracks, for other artists’ records… all while steadily working-on material that became her new Hundreds of Lions release.
At the center of the album, the song “The Lions” brims with bright piano, cathedral spire atmosphere, and traces of carnival-noir pop as Erin sings, “There’s a risk, there’s a twist, in anything worth doing,” with a voice clear and strong as glass ribbon.
“A gifted singer/songwriter with a deft touch on the guitar, mandolin, piano and banjo, Erin McKeown calls herself a mix between Django Reinhardt and G. Love. But even that description only scratches the surface of her music’s sly lyrics and rip-roaring swing.” –David Dye, World Cafe, NPR
“Her clear mezzo-soprano sounds perpetually optimistic, and so do the syncopated electric guitar parts she picks and plucks through the sparsely arranged but fully realized songs. A degree in ethnomusicology, and African undercurrents, separate her from more rhythmically earthbound folk-rockers. The ballast is lyrics about breakups and aftermaths; her first words on the album are ‘I’m in shambles, blown to bits by our troubles.’ Those troubles give her something to rise above.” –Jon Pareles, New York Times
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