Thursday, April 21, 2011

Anne McCue: "Broken Promise Land" (2010) CD Review

Anne McCue's Broken Promise Land features her incredible and haunting voice, some great guitar work, and excellent songs such as "Ol' Black Sky" and "The Lonely One."

The album opens with "Don't Go To Texas (Without Me)," a rock tune with a bluesy edge. It's a straight-forward, no apologies, ballsy tune.

"Ol' Black Sky"

"Ol' Black Sky" is an excellent song, with a dark mood. The vocals are amazing, and haunting. At times, they're reminiscent of Emmylou Harris's work on her Wrecking Ball album. The song starts with a simple CCR-type guitar riff. And then the guitars take over about two minutes in. They add to, rather than dispel the haunting feel of the song.

"Lonesome Child"

The lyrics start off, "Lonesome child, deep water." The lyrics give just little bits of information at a time: the red dirt, the blue sky. This song has a haunting power, and at the end Anne's vocals sound as if sung underwater. Who is the lonesome child? Who is singing? Who is drowning? This song is phenomenal.

"The Lonely One"

Vocals and a steady bass line start "The Lonely One." When the song kicks in, and her voice opens up, it's just amazing. At the beginning she sings, "You don't need a lot/You just want it all, all I've got." And just before the song kicks in, she sings, "You bring me down/Down that road where love can't be found." This is one of the best songs on the album.

"God's Home Number"

The guitar on "God's Home Number" is great, sounding a bit like the darker, slower side of surf guitar. The whole feel of this song is just so damn cool. It makes one want to create a film just to put this song on its soundtrack. Quentin Tarantino will wet himself when he hears this. This song was written by David Raven, Billy Watts and Taras Prodaniuk, and originally recorded by their band, Mojo Monkeys, and released on their album, Hang (2003). Anne's version is quite a bit different, particularly in her vocals.

"Cruisin' Paradise (Tenerife)"
Ann McCue can take a simple riff, and make it really effective, as she does on "Cruisin' Paradise." Somehow she makes these riffs interesting and new. They've never dull, not even in repetition. Also, the horns on this song are perfect. She sings, "I no longer feel like I'm losing/I'm just cruisin.'"

"Broken Promise Land"

The title track, "Broken Promise Land" is a bluesy rock song about what the blues do best - hard times. Ah yes, no milk, no more honey in Broken Promise Land. This song was written by Anne McCue and Jess Leary.

"Motorcycle Dream"

"Motorcycle Dream" has a similar style to "God's Home Number." That is to say, this song is totally cool. It's also sexy, with Anne's great vocals and the motorcycle imagery. This song was written by Amelia White, and was originally released on her album Motorcycle Dream (2009).

"The Old Man's Talkin'"

In "The Old Man's Talkin'," Anne sings, "If love was the drug, I don't feel it anymore." What is there to say? By this point in the album, Anne totally has you. This is a very cool song.

"Rock 'n' Roll Outlaw"

The album ends where it began, with a bluesy ballsy rock number. "Rock 'n' Roll Outlaw" is a Rose Tattoo cover. Rose Tattoo is an Australian band that formed in 1976.

Musicians On "Broken Promise Land"

Anne McCue does the lead vocals and plays guitar, keys and vibes. Bones Hillman plays bass. (He also played bass in Midnight Oil.) Ken Coomer is on drums. (He was the last drummer with Uncle Tupelo, and was the original drummer for Wilco.)

Jess Leary plays guitar on most of the songs. Geoff Sprung plays bass on "Broken Promise Land" and "Rock 'n' Roll Outlaw." Todd Jewel plays drums on "Broken Promise Land" and "Rock 'n' Roll Outlaw." Tony Kerr does backing vocals on "The Old Man's Talkin.'" Scott M Huff is on trumpet. Jim Hoke is on saxophone. Mike Esser plays tambourine and shaker.

CD Track List

The following is the track list for Anne McCue's Broken Promise Land:

  1. Don't Go To Texas (Without Me)
  2. Ol' Black Sky
  3. Lonesome Child
  4. The Lonely One
  5. God's Home Number
  6. Cruisin' Paradise (Tenerife)
  7. Broken Promise Land
  8. Motorcycle Dream
  9. The Old Man's Talkin'
  10. Rock 'n' Roll Outlaw

Anne McCue grew up near Sydney, Australia. She was signed to Columbia Records, and that brought her to the United States. Though that album was never released, she did release two CDs while living in Los Angeles: Roll (2004) and Koala Motel (2006). Anne then moved to Nashville. Her last album, East Of Electric, was released in 2008. Broken Promise Land is scheduled to be released on May 18, 2010.

(Note: I originally posted this review on April 12, 2010.)

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