Kelley Mickwee used to be with The Trishas. With them, she sailed safe and predictable waters of acoustic old-time Americana. This year, she’s back with a new record You Used To Live Here. The new record is by far her most interesting. In just half an hour, she shows us some incredible signing and expands her musical palette beyond the old-time country. Opening tune River Girl is a blues tune with amazing keyboards (I’d swear it gotta be Ian McLagan playing it, but I can’t find the confirmation at the moment). It really gets rocking with a great Eliza Gilkyson tune Dark Side of Town and Kelley’s Hotel Jackson. Mickwee made an album which can be played next to any Gene Clark record and live up to it.
Talking about old-time country, have you heard that Haden Triplets album? Financially, it’s a big flop for the Third Man label. The sisters got booed from TV. But we live in a tasteless world and this record doesn’t fit there…
I’m sure the three Haden sisters, Rachel, Petra and Tanya, sang together on many Haden family gatherings, but the first time wider audience got a chance to hear their old-time prairie-home interpretations was on their father’s Charlie’s album Rambling Boy. Mr Haden is a jazz musician, and it may have been a surprise to some to hear that album back in 2008. Yet, the Haden Triplets performance on that record must have been an impetus for this years album, which is a second subject of this story. A saddens hits you a bit when you have in mind that their father passed away within months from when the new record came out, but I bet he enjoyed hearing it.
In mind-blowing harmony, these three voices, usually associated to rock music, belt out a selection of old country songs, but they spice things around here and there. For instance, one of the standouts on the record is Nick Lowe’s Raining Raining.
The whole record sounds very warm. Every sound, every vocal, every instrument is recorded with mics set up pretty far, so the sounds swim together in a room. They float around and mingle. Of course, a part of the credit for such a nice live set up must go to Ry Cooder who was in charge for the instrumental backdrop of this record.
The Haden Triplets record and Kelley Mickwee record together show some new paths for the old music which is something very interesting to me. In fact, it’s not hard to imagine Haden Triplets singing Blameless from Mickwee’s record.