Lori McKenna Bittertown


Somewhere between the turf carved out by Kasey Chambers and Shawn Colvin, Boston-based Lori McKenna will steal your heart. Her fourth disc, Bittertown, bristles with home-grown observations on life, longing and the loneliness that comes from staying in one place. Yet each composition is delivered with a spry, quirky energy that recalls Patty Griffin and, at the same time, a slight, country-tinged sadness in a league with Nanci Griffith. The 2004 Boston Music Award winner for "Female Singer-Songwriter of the Year" deserves the acclaim and the entirety of Bittertown’s 13 tracks sparkle with the musical contributions of Kevin Barry on resonator guitar, mandolin and bass that lend a pop sense to McKenna’s acoustic-based arrangements. Tracks including "Mr. Sunshine” and "Lonestar” are hits waiting to happen, while Buddy Miller’s cameo on "Bible Song” demonstrates McKenna’s depth as a songwriter and arranger. All of this from a mom who puts family first and career second? I can’t wait till she finds her focus. (True North)