Producer and multi-instrumentalist Jeff Michne casts unexpected sonic situations in which McKenzie’s banjo, finger-picked guitar, Emmylou-meets-Dolly voice, and primal stomp-box can coexist with supple grooves and contrarian atonality. A prime example is the breathtaking and original “Underground,” sung through the eyes of a young girl trapped in prostitution in India. As the devastating narrative unfolds, McKenzie weaves in a shining strand of hope, which is buoyed by a sweeping, epic soundscape.
By contrast, an austere rendering of the Lennon-McCartney chestnut “Eleanor Rigby” is surprisingly effective and leads to the double-entendre scat-romp “The Bus Song” and the sensual, hilarious “Roark,” which leavens Chances and drops the listener off with a smile. Every day brings opportunities to explore, open up, and welcome something new. This CD is one of those chances. And it is well worth taking. www.kelleighmckenzie.com.