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I have to admit that I had no idea who Lori McKenna was until her latest album, Massachusetts, came out. I heard rave reviews on the album and decided to take a listen. I was looking for more traditional country and rootsy music. Fed up with the "Hick-hop" and what not, I was looking for music that got back to the basics. Massachusetts gave me what I was looking for. I listened to this album right through. It has an interesting, folksy sound.
After I listened to the album, I did some research (which is what I normally do when I discover an artist for the first time). I quickly learned that Lori McKenna is a well-known, established songwriter. She has written for the likes of Faith Hill, Tim McGraw, Hunter Hayes, and Little Big Town. She recently co-wrote Hunter Hayes' "I Want Crazy" and Little Big Town's "Your Side of the Bed". She obviously has a gift for songwriting, a definite way with words.
But Lori Mckenna is also an established singer as well. She has released four critically acclaimed independent albums and a total of seven albums in all (counting Massachusetts). She has a unique voice, strong and folksy.
With Massachusetts, Lori McKenna gives us a refreshing take on small-town, everyday life. You won't hear her sing about partying, beer, or trucks. She gives us real-life stories told from the point of view of a New Englander (as she lives in Massachusetts). Lori explores human emotion on this album. Songs like "Salt" and "Shake" show us the darker sides of humans. While the song "Smaller and Smaller" gives us a fresh take on small-town life. The gut-wrenching (and one of the stand out songs on this album) "Susanna", will tear your heart out with its sad story and haunting vocals. Meanwhile, "How Romantic Is That" and "My Love Follows You Where You Go" explores the happier, joyful, romantic times in life. "How Romantic Is That" is a narrative of her own marriage. The other stand-out song on this album is "Shouting". The chorus,
"You'll never feel any better just by shouting, you'll never change the weather shaking your fist at the sky, you'll never find an answer picking another fight, you'll never feel any better just by shouting."
drives the message home. The bridge further explains,
"Just whisper, just whisper. I swear I can hear you."
If you like real-life, non-whitewashed songs, then Massachusetts is the album to buy. This album was artfully put together. Massachusetts isn't loud or over-produced, it is raw and it is real. If you want real, then buy this album. I did.