Pin It

Whoa Nellie 

click to enlarge forecast_jan08_nelliemckay_22707_rc1_175_2.gif

Nellie McKay has built her short and storied musical career (the gamine is only 27) by writing songs that evoke Tin Pan Alley sophistication and polish while seeming off the cuff, as if she had just dashed off a few morsels in the taxi on the way to the studio. McKay’s third release, Obligatory Villagers, is the resplendent flowering of her Rodgers and Hart meet Randy Newman style. (More than one reviewer has referred to McKay’s music as “songs in search of a musical.”) McKay’s songs are at turns funny (she’s a former stand-up comedian), theatrical (she starred as Polly Peachum in a limited run of “Threepenny Opera,” in 2006), and acerbic in the service of satire (from “Mother of Pearl: “feminists spread vicious lies and rumor / they have a tumor on their funny bone”). They also stick in your head with the deftness of their arrangements and cabaret-pop hooks. McKay self-describes her tunes as “schizophrenic voodoo music”; she prefers to blur the genre definitions that usually proscribe artists. McKay confounds expectations and has built a reputation as an iconoclastic performer who is all over the map musically, but right at home in her songs, from rap to the American songbook.

Nellie McKay will perform Friday, January 4 and Saturday, January 5 at 9pm at Club Helsinki in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. Tickets are $30. (413) 528-3394; www.clubhelsinkiweb.com.

Speaking of...

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

  • On the Cover: Nadine Robbins

    She-Ra by Nadine Robbins is on the cover of the September 2015 issue of Chronogram.
    • Sep 1, 2015
  • Dale Chihuly: Ulysses Cylinders

    An exhibition of early glass work by Dale Chihuly at Vassar College's Thompson Memorial Library.
    • Nov 1, 2015

Hudson Valley Events

submit event
New Free Family Program: Music and Stories of the Americas @ Hudson Area Library

New Free Family Program: Music and Stories of the Americas

Tue., Dec. 6, 6-7:30 p.m. — The Hudson Area Library proudly presents Music and Stories from the Americas....

Saw Kill Watershed Community Meeting

Tue., Dec. 6, 7 p.m. — Buffet at 6:45pm. The meeting will celebrate the achievements of the first...

View all of today's events

Latest in Visual Art

More by Brian K. Mahoney

Hudson Valley Tweets