Songwriter Erin McKeowní new album, We Will Become Like Birds, hit stores this week. Itís the best work so far for the former Brown student, and her second set for Nettwerk, the label that put her on the map. Where on that map? Mostly in Europe. "The label is much bigger overseas than it is here," says Erin, "so I have to go where the work is, and the work happens to be over there." While the US record industry focuses more on activity and tours centered around the release date, Europe is less so, allowing for albums to take on lives of their own without worrying about being dated. "I think I can do three tours around a US release," says Erin, who actually did that with her last album, the acclaimed Grand. "But I went back five times to Europe since that album came out." The principal difference? Media. "Thereís more television and radio over there than here," she says. "There are more outlets in more countries, and that makes a difference in the number of shows I can play."
If Erinís reception is greatest in, say, Ireland right now, that might all change with the American release of Birds. Compared to Grand, which sorta lived up to its title in terms of its gilded arrangements and stylistic swings, the new album is downright straightforward and focused on hooks. Erinís songs ó on which she played nearly all the instruments ó are more conventionally arranged and played, and generally more user-friendly.
"It was meant to be a straightforward record," she admits, "with no concept or positioning. Those were the songs I had to write. That hasnít happened in a long time for me, so it was easy in a way. It was written in less than a year and recorded in less than six weeks. For me thatís fast!" That relative alacrity also makes listening to the record a breeze. For much of her career, Erinís music has involved concentration and attentiveness. Now, you can just spin the sucker and enjoy it without getting too involved. The melodies are accessible and immediate, and the lyrics, though she calls it a "break-up album," donít have that complex quality which often overburdens good songwriters.
"I think of writing as less of a chore now," she says, "and as more something that I simply do. Things are coming to me quicker, and the more you do a job, the more graceful things are that you can produce. Iím already excited and pretty far along with the next project."
Erin McKeown will perform at AS220ís 20 Fest on July 16 | 401.831.9327
BAYOU & BOOGIE
On Sunday (the 3rd), the Second Annual Bayou & Boogie fest goes down in the wilds of Foster, brought to you by the good and true music folks behind the late, lamented Salís R&B Club in Johnston. Indeed, is there a better way to kick off the Fourth of July than with some dance-happy accordion craziness? C.J. Chenier & the Red Hot Louisiana Band ó man, this guy sure covers some territory ó will headline. Liíl Anne & the Hot Cayenne Band will also lay it down, adding a spicy blend of rock íní roll, blues, and funk to an uptempo zydeco beat. Jesse Lege & his All Star Cajun Band opens the show; itís said heís one of the most admired Cajun accordionists outta southwest Louisiana. So bring some comfortable shoes, ícuz this is one day where you wonít spend a lot of time off your feet. The event is the first outside gig to be held at the Woodland Meeting House in Foster. The music gets going at 2 pm and there will be a large tent and dance floor set up; food and libations will also be available. Pre-registration is suggested. You can call 401.647.3838, visit www.mardigrasri.com, or go to www.salsrbclub.com for more information.
A call for assistance has come in from Pete Rock Enterprises. Pete has a slate of benefits lined up for September and heís looking for acts to fill the bills. Every Thursday throughout the month, Pete will be throwing the shows to help raise money for some important causes. All shows are 21-plus and will take place at Cats in Pawtucket (www.kcstap.com). On 9/1 itís the "Cancer Benefit Show," on 9/8 itís the "9/11 Related Fund," the "Homeless Vets" benefit is on 9/15, 9/22 is for "Homeless Kids," and the 9/29 show will help "Station Night Club Victims." Of course, lots of bands are needed for all of these lineups and anything anyone can do to help will make life easier for Pete Rock and his posse. E-mail email@example.com to contribute.
In other gig news, Eric Fontana will play tonight (the 30th) at the Sunset Music Festival in Newport, which you should all consider hitting just for the atmosphere. Heíll be opening for Anna Nalick and the Pat McGee Band.
Things are going very well with the Jason Colonies Band. Their three-year-old disc Bittersweet just found new life at mp3tunes.com. Itís been hanging around the charts for a couple of months now and climbed as high as #2. Theyíre also continuing to work on their upcoming Live At the Ocean Mist CD. To that end, theyíll be recording one more show at the Mist this Friday (the 1st), with Route 44 opening.
The Blackstone in Cumberland will host a night of tasty tunes on Saturday (the 2nd). The Jazz Bastards headline the night with Forest Henderson and Brite Phoenix sharing the bill ó all for only $5. Call 401.726.2181.
Roomful of Blues hits Newport on Monday (the 4th) at the Newport Blues Café on Thames Street. The show starts at 9 p.m. Then, on Wednesday, they head down to the sandy beaches of Westerly, where theyíll play the Town Beach pavilion, always a good time. You can go to www.bluesonthebeachri.com for a complete rundown of the great acts the Town Beach will be hosting this summer. The shows start at 6 p.m and admission is free. Bring a picnic!
E-mail your music news to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Issue Date: July 1 - 7, 2005
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