Signup for a folk alley account


Album Review: Lori McKenna, 'The Bird & The Rifle

July 21, 2016

by Kelly McCartney (@theKELword) for FolkAlley.com

Lori McKenna 300x300 The Bird & the Rifle copy.jpgWhen talents as enormous as Lori McKenna and Dave Cobb come together in a studio, the resulting record is bound to be special. Exhibit A: The Bird & The Rifle. Both music-makers have been riding high lately, with hit records and Grammy Awards to spare. But, if any two folks ever deserved such accolades, it's these two.

The secret to McKenna's success is that she understands that life -- and, therefore, art -- is all about the details. The real stuff happens in the space between the breaths, the calm between the storms, and the quiet between the words. That's where she lives (along with her husband and five children) so it's also where she creates. In McKenna's hands, the often arduous daily toil gets sculpted into magnificent vignettes.

Even when McKenna takes a hard look at long-term commitment, as she does so wondrously in the album's opener, "Wreck You," she makes the lack of romanticism somehow romantic. And Cobb's intuitive production -- the gently soaring strings, in particular -- lets the piece lean over and peer into the abyss of what a collapsing marriage can be, while still keeping it from falling into any sort of despair. The story's resolution is left for another day, but the listener might easily imagine that the singer's resolve will get the couple through the darkness and back to the light.

That same matter-of-fact handling works to great effect as McKenna prattles off the poignant check-list that is "Humble and Kind." With another singer -- let's say Tim McGraw, just for argument's sake -- the tune could go from sentimental to saccharin in four bars flat. But McKenna packs the punch of several decades as a mother and each line was written for one of her kids, so her grasp of the material is steeped in authenticity.

Other highlights include the breezy vibe of "We Were Cool," the Mary Chapin Carpenter feel of "All These Things," the thoughtful sway of "Old Men Young Women," and the telling shuffle of "Giving Up on Your Hometown." Really, though, there's nary a missed shot anywhere in the set.

###

'The Bird & the Rifle' is out on July 29 via CN Records/Thirty Tigers and available now for pre-order at iTunes and Amazon.com.

Upcoming tour dates







Posted by Linda Fahey at July 21, 2016 3:32 PM


Support Folk Alley During Our Spring Fund Drive!

 

Recent Topics

In Review: Guest DJ Hour with Kim Ruehl, MLK Day
Hear It First: Rayna Gellert, 'Workin's Too Hard'
Folk Alley's Best of 2016 - Kelly McCartney's Ten Best Singer/Songwriter Records
Folk Alley's Best of 2016 - Elena See's Top 10 Albums
Folk Alley's Best of 2016 - Cindy Howes' Top 10 Albums
A Q & A with Courtney Marie Andrews
Song Premiere: Billy Bragg & Joe Henry, "If We Make It Through December"
Hear It First - 'Christmas On the Lam and Other Songs from the Season'
'HOOT Thursday' Video Premiere: Tracy Bonham, "In the Pines"
'HOOT Thursday' Video Premiere: Dom Flemons and Brian Farrow,"Polly Put the Kettle On"
'HOOT Thursday' Video Premiere: The Brother Brothers,"Cairo, Illinois"
'HOOT Thursday' Video Premiere: Lula Wiles, "Leave Me Now"
Guest DJ Hour: Kim Ruehl
Guest DJ Hour: Kelly McCartney Recaps AmericanaFest 2016
A Q & A with Dar Williams
Album Review: Chely Wright, 'I Am the Rain'
Album Review: Amanda Shires, 'My Piece of Land'
A Q & A with Glen Phillips
Laura Cortese Guest DJs with Cindy Howes
PLAYLIST: Folk Alley nationally syndicated radio show #160929
Hear It First: Tom Brosseau, 'North Dakota Impressions'
Video Premiere: Gregory Alan Isakov, "The Stable Song"
PLAYLIST: Folk Alley nationally syndicated radio show #160825
Hear It First: Dietrich Strause, 'How Cruel That Hunger Binds'
A Q & A with Sara Watkins
Hear It First: The Stray Birds, 'Magic Fire'
Video Premiere: Parsonsfield, "Stronger"
PLAYLIST: Folk Alley nationally syndicated radio show #160721
Album Review: Lori McKenna, 'The Bird & The Rifle
PLAYLIST: Folk Alley nationally syndicated radio show #160714

 

 

January 2017
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31            


January 2017


December 2016


November 2016


October 2016


September 2016


August 2016


July 2016


May 2016


April 2016


March 2016


February 2016


January 2016


December 2015


November 2015


October 2015


September 2015


August 2015


July 2015


June 2015


May 2015


April 2015


March 2015


February 2015


January 2015


December 2014


October 2014


September 2014


August 2014


July 2014


June 2014


April 2014


March 2014


February 2014


January 2014


December 2013


November 2013


October 2013


September 2013


August 2013


July 2013


June 2013


May 2013


April 2013


March 2013


February 2013


December 2012


November 2012


October 2012


September 2012


August 2012


July 2012


June 2012


May 2012


April 2012


March 2012


February 2012


January 2012


December 2011


November 2011


October 2011


September 2011


August 2011


July 2011


June 2011


May 2011


April 2011


March 2011


February 2011


January 2011


December 2010


November 2010


October 2010


September 2010


August 2010


July 2010


May 2010


April 2010


March 2010


February 2010


January 2010


December 2009


November 2009


October 2009


September 2009


August 2009


July 2009


June 2009


May 2009


April 2009


March 2009


February 2009


January 2009


December 2008


November 2008


October 2008


September 2008


August 2008


July 2008


June 2008


May 2008


April 2008


March 2008


February 2008


January 2008


December 2007


November 2007


October 2007


September 2007


August 2007


July 2007


June 2007


May 2007


April 2007


March 2007


February 2007


January 2007


December 2006


November 2006


October 2006


September 2006


August 2006


July 2006


June 2006


May 2006


April 2006


March 2006


February 2006


January 2006


December 2005


November 2005


October 2005


September 2005


August 2005


July 2005


June 2005


May 2005


April 2005


March 2005


February 2005


January 2005


December 2004


November 2004


October 2004


September 2004


August 2004


July 2004


June 2004


May 2004


April 2004


March 2004


February 2004


January 2004


December 2003


November 2003


October 2003


September 2003


August 2003