Papa may have been a rolling stone, but singer / songwriter Kelley McRae has seen her share of fire and rain around these United States. The well traveled songstress and onetime actress now calls New York City’s hippest borough her home after stops in Baltimore, Dallas, and a place kn own as Starkville, Mississippi. Introspective and confessional, Highrises in Brooklyn (which was recorded in Chicago) bursts forth with a multitude of influences. Kelley sings the blues with a heavy heart in hand in “Last Call In Town” - a song tailor made for Ryan Adams, the Black Crowes, or Mick and the boys circa Exile On Main Street. She waxes sassy and seductive for “More of Nothin’ with a swinging three to the bar beat reminiscent of Bourbon Street in the 1930s. The title tracks skillfully melds banjo and techno - a first in the pop music idiom? Though she’d rather hear the cars rumbling on the Brooklyn-Queens Express as opposed to the waves of the sea (“BQE”), McRae’s melodies emerge as heartfelt and warm. Kudos to producer/engineer Brian Deck and McRae’s array of side musicians (most notably bassist Gordon Patriarca and guitarist Bill Dolan) for making Brooklyn a dazzling, aural treat. Highly recommended for fans of Ani DiFranco, Beth Orton, and Tracey Thorn.
by Tom Semioli