Songwriting

The Recorder – Erin McKeown to celebrate the release of her new album at the Shea Theater

“I like to think I’m the one who ran away / I like to think I’m in the 21st century / too keen to fall in love with this ancient mythical – / how someone so smart could it be so suddenly stupid / somehow thinking that I would reinvent cupid, ”sings Erin McKeown on“ CupidoStupido ”, one of 13 tracks from her new album“ Kiss Off Kiss ”.

As you might have concluded from those lyrics and the album title, much of the material was inspired by a relationship gone awry. But this is not a collection of tearful “I can’t live without you” songs. The material here is smarter, funnier, and a little more sarcastic than that. Songs like “Go Along / Get Along” and “Today / Sex” are more like cathartic exercises to remind an ex how much he has lost.

“Kiss Off Kiss” is McKeown’s 11th album and is his most rock album to date, full of dazzling electric guitar and irresistible hooks. The Franklin County singer-songwriter continues to delve into genres such as rhythm and blues and 70s-style jazz, but many songs here lean towards an 80s rock sound. “Kiss Off Kiss” might be a breakup album, but feeling bad has never sounded so good.

McKeown will celebrate the release of the new album at the Shea Theater in Turners Falls on Friday evening (October 8) at 8 p.m. ET. Local band Spouse will open the show and then play the backing band role in a show that is sure to be rock.

“It’s been my wheelhouse for years – I can write sad lyrics but I don’t really know how to write sad music,” McKeown said in a recent interview via Zoom, speaking about how the lyrics here often contrast. with upbeat music. “I wanted to write little irritating things like ‘you can’t live without me’ and that might not be quite true but it’s really fun to say,” she added with a laugh.

McKeown, who during the pandemic was a practice professor at his alma mater Brown University, wrote these songs in the summer of 2020 and the focus was on a split that had occurred two years earlier.

“I had spent the previous seven years writing this musical and using my storytelling skills to advance this narrative which was not my personal story,” she explained. “When I had all this time at home because of the pandemic, I decided to work through this relationship that I never really had time to manage and deal with. And that’s how this record happened.

She wrote the album quickly and said working on the musical “Miss You Like Hell” had an impact on her writing. On this project, McKeown wrote the music and lyrics for the play in collaboration with Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright QuiaraAlegríaHudes. “Miss You Like Hell” opened Off-Broadway at the Public Theater in 2018. It was McKeown’s first time writing a musical and she said she learned a lot from working with the talented Hudes. She found working in the theater world to be very different from anything she had explored in her solo career.

For example, McKeown said that when writing for a musical, you have to be clear at all times and know where the song is going, and that’s just one example of something she picked up on in “Kiss. Off Kiss “.

Once she wrote the material for “Kiss Off Kiss”, she recorded a demo version of the entire album on her personal computer, playing all the instruments herself.

“It was really fun spending last summer playing guitar and writing drums parts and playing bass and just doing those little rock songs,” she said of the song. ‘experience. “I really enjoyed it.

My roots are in the southern rock bar and that’s what I grew up listening to and playing, and that’s how I learned to play guitar.

After listening to the last two albums by another local musician, the Suitcase Junket and hearing the tremendous work of producer Steve Berlin, she contacted the saxophonist from Los Lobos and arranged for him to produce “Kiss Off Kiss” . The album was recorded within a week in Berlin’s hometown of Portland, Oregon with a group of aces that it assembled. McKeown was thrilled that the band played the parts exactly as she wrote them.

The cost of making the album was paid for by an unexpected gift from a friend, and as a way to pay it up front, one can purchase a download of the album from their website on a “pay-as-you-go” basis. what you can ”. At the end of 2021, McKeown will withdraw the proceeds from download sales and use the funds to provide micro-grants to deserving individuals who add value to their communities through their services. She will solicit applications for the grants through her social media. Additionally, if people wish to “trade” and send McKeown a physical item in exchange for the digital album, this is also an option. For full details on the Term Payment Plan, visit ErinMckeown.com

Now that “Kiss Off Kiss” has been released to the world, it’s time to shoot. McKeown is doing something different this time around as she will be using pickup bands to prop her up. For the first stop on the tour, which will begin with this show at the Shea, she picked local indie rock band Spouse. The group, led by singer / songwriter Jose Ayerve, have been together since the mid-90s and will accompany McKeown for five shows.

“I’m a huge Spouse fan and have known Jose and JJ (drummer JJ O’Connell) for about 20 years and they are one of my favorite bands. I just love them, ”she said. “And when I thought about what I liked about this album, it’s the feel of the band and all the different parts and it’s a good old rock’n’roll record and Spouse makes it. such a good version. We rehearsed a bit this summer and I’m not wrong to say they sounded good. They are a great match for it.

Last August, McKeown was invited to join indie folk group Mountain Goats on tour and performed lead guitar, keyboards and backing vocals with the group led by John Darnielle. She described the tour, which helped her get in shape for her own time on the road, as dreamy.

McKeown is more than ready to hit the road again and bring these new songs to audiences across the United States.

“Even with COVID hanging over it, it was worth it for me to see how creatively I could organize some type of trip across the country and stay healthy and stay interested, which is part of what the group is. pickup, “she said.” I miss America, she’s not in the greatest shape right now but it’s nice to be in different places. “

Tickets, including VIP tickets that include a pre-show meetup, signed album, and priority seating, are available at www.signaturesoundspresents.com. Tickets will be sold at the door. Doors open at 7 p.m. Proof of vaccination and mandatory masks.

Sheryl Hunter is a musical composer who lives in Easthampton. His work has been published in various regional and national magazines. You can contact her at [email protected]


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