Any listener mistaking the compelling O Mother"—the lead track on McKenzie's strong debut—for Dolly Parton can be forgiven. With her banjo, foot-stomp and soaring melody, she does sound a hell of a lot like the great lady on this track.
But then Chances steps onto the long, hard road that has led this native Oregonian determinedly through New York City's theater and music circles to upstate NY's deep musical clime, revealing an artist coming into her own. Nearly a decade after a mystery ailment left her unable to play her trusted instruments, Gin and the acoustic bounce of the lusty Call It A Day take center stage and McKenzie, like any artist knowing her time has come, commands the spotlight.
With an embracing froth of roots, rock, and Americana; a high, clear voice unafraid to tweak a melody; and songs both personal (the slinky and decisive In Between) and social (the Appalachian blues blur War For Sale), McKenzie joins the ranks of NY's singer/songwriters well worth your listening time.
Post script: If I may, one naysay: It perplexes me why McKenzie and multi-instrumentalist co-producer Jeff Michne concludes this fine collection with two weak songs. The Tom Waits wannabe The Bus Song and the cutesy closing snippet Roark just feel like filler and do no justice at all to the ten songs that precede them.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
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