Cool and sultry Country with a heart full of Southern Soul
When you are a ‘music snob’ like me one of the joys of reviewing music is discovering new talents and then screaming from the rooftops. Well get me to the top of that building in Dubai – you need to hear this album by Kelley Mickwee NOW.
Apparently Kelley was a member of the Trishas; but that meant nothing to me as I slid the disc into the player. I was still admiring the cover art when the first piano chords of ‘River Song’ oozed out of the speakers and then Kelley’s voice followed; sounding like it had been soaked in Jack Daniels infused Molasses it had my immediate attention.
Track 2 ‘Take Me Home’ is a simpler arrangement highlighting the Memphis singer’s voice as Eric Lewis on pedal-steel cuts through the hazy bass/drum backing like a tear on a child’s face.
On ‘Beautiful Accidents’ the tempo picks up as she duets with Owen Temple who she co-wrote this tale of ‘young love/done wrong/ gone wrong/happy ending’ and the result is absolutely spellbinding. Regular readers will know I do like a special lyric and what’s not to like with the line “She had a Southern drawl that stretched from here to there”?
Mickwee has a hand in writing five of the songs and there are two covers; and what taste she has choosing John Fullbright’s ‘Blameless’ which is turned into a Country heartbreaker and the album ends with a staggering interpretation of Eliza Gilkyson’s ‘Dark Side Of Town’; almost making it Southern Gothic.
The more I’ve listened to You Used to Live Here the more nuggets I find hidden in the lyrics and even the playing; which can be missed when there’s a voice as cool as Kelley Mickwee’s at the microphone.
What more can I say? Somehow Kelley manages to channel Linda Ronstadt, Bobbie Gentry and even Dusty Springfield while always sounding like no one else.
Released July 22 2014