Anne McCue is a deceptively interesting character. Wrapped in a very quiet demeanor is a musician, songwriter and singer with immense depth and complexity. Her voice is a blend reminiscent of Aimee Mann or Julianna Hatfield, quintessential indie-rock tones that soothe the senses while assuring you will take notice and she can flip a switch and go from torch to jazz...Billie Holiday to Bessie Smith. As a guitarist she can ride with any male counterpart in a multitude of styles. You want rock guitar? She's got you covered...blues, gypsy jazz, lap-steel, slide? Yeah, she'll jump from Django to Lightnin' Hopkins to John Lee Hooker without leaving the solo. And then there's the songwriter. This is where Anne McCue distances herself from her counterparts on the roots/rock merry-go-round. McCue is an amazing songwriter! She's caught the ear of some of the best including Dave Alvin, Lucinda Williams, David Olney and she's won critical acclaim around the world for her work. A fearless performer who flew into Boston, picked up two musicians from the local scene, drummer Josh Kiggans from the band Girls Guns and Glory and longtime session ace Matt Murphy on bass. They hadn't played together until soundcheck and Anne hadn't gigged in months. No problem...they nailed it and while there's some blemishes this was an incredibly great night of music.
Anne McCue's songwriting is vivid imagery with heavy contrasts between darkness and light and the rumbling guitar, bass and drums setting the stage. "Mr. Hangman," written some years ago about the Ku Klux Klan, suddenly finds new meaning in today's confusing narrative. The song bleeds darkness through McCue's churning lap-steel soundtrack and Murphy's thumping bass line while the song paints the image of hooded death and a body swinging in the pale moonlight as her voice challenges the executioner to pull off the hood and show his face.
"Stupid" is Anne McCue challenging self doubt and the tendencies to be a conduit for negative energy. It's Anne McCue at her "indie-rock" best sending a message of hope while embracing the truth of despair. It's got a great 90's rock emotional sensibility like a Cranberries or Grace Potter vibe with jangly guitar fills and a killer groove. Great music often has emotional moments that turn out a variety of reactions because you can listen to them over and over again and hear something new you didn't notice before. That's what makes this music, her music, so infectious and even if you hadn't heard it before there's a familiarity with it...like an old friend you haven't seen in a while...you smile, you think, you get a little teary eyed and you listen.
Anne McCue and The Cubists
Anne McCue - guitar, lap-steel, vocals
Matt Murphy - bass, backing vocals
Josh Kiggans - drums
The Session Crew
Produced and edited by:
H. Nat Stevens
Dan Busler Photography