Saturday, 12 May 2018

Lori McKenna’s new album The Tree out July 20




THE TREE, the anticipated new album from Grammy, CMA and ACM Award-winning singer-songwriter Lori McKenna, will be released July 20 on CN Records via Thirty Tigers and is now available for pre-order. In advance of the release, the album track, “People Get Old,” premiered on May 8, 2018 listen here:

Release Date: 20 July 2018
Label: CN Records
Copyright: (C) 2018 CN Records marketed/distributed by Thirty Tigers

11 Tracks

Total Length: 35:21

Genres: Singer/Songwriter Folk

1. A Mother Never Rests (Lori McKenna, Barry Dean)
2. The Fixer (Lori McKenna)
3. People Get Old (Lori McKenna)
4. Young And Angry Again (Lori McKenna, Barry Dean, Luke Laird)
5. The Tree (Lori McKenna, Natalie Hemby, Aaron Raitiere)
6. You Won’t Even Know I’m Gone (Lori McKenna)
7. Happy People (Lori McKenna, Hailey Whitters)
8. You Can’t Break A Woman (Lori McKenna, Hillary Lindsey, Liz Rose)
9. The Lot Behind St. Mary’s (Lori McKenna)
10. The Way Back Home (Lori McKenna, Luke Laird)
11. Like Patsy Would (Lori McKenna, Hillary Lindsey, Liz Rose)

The new album takes one of McKenna’s signature themes— family— and builds a tapestry of experiences she has lived and overheard, been told and dreamed up. Of the album, McKenna comments, “I love people’s stories about their families—the way they tic and the ways we’re all crazy and love each other. I hope my songs shine a little light on that for a second. Maybe our stories remind us of our families and what they give us. It’s beautiful, and sometimes we take it for granted.”

The Tree is McKenna’s eleventh studio album and second in collaboration with Grammy Award-winning producer Dave Cobb (Chris Stapleton, Jason Isbell, Brandi Carlile). Recorded by Matt Ross-Spang over seven days at Nashville’s historic RCA, the 11-song album features McKenna (vocals, acoustic guitar), Cobb (acoustic/electric guitar, mellotron), Anderson East (electric guitar), Brian Allen (bass), Chris McKenna (mellotron), Chris Powell (drums, percussion) and background vocals from Kristen Rogers, Natalie Hemby and Hillary Lindsey.

“I’ve seen Dave work in a few different environments, and I’m always blown away by the way he can handle everybody’s emotions,” McKenna shares. “He can come up with the best equation of how everybody’s feeling right then in the room, and then what song will be best––the one we’ll get right in that moment because of how we all feel. It’s not like we’re making a record. We are just sitting around, playing the songs together.”

McKenna is home in Stoughton, Massachusetts, just outside of Boston. Holed up in her basement writing room, the Grammy-winning singer-songwriter is reflecting on THE TREE, her much-anticipated new collection. The Tree takes one of McKenna’s signature themes––family––and builds a tapestry of experiences she has lived and overheard, been told and dreamed up, to create a stunning ode to life’s defining relationships.

Album opener “A Mother Never Rests” sets the tone, both thematically and instrumentally: McKenna’s bright soprano is out front, backed by acoustic guitar and subtle percussion. She penned the track with Barry Dean after living through her own episode of motherhood’s loving relentlessness. The two were scheduled to write one Saturday, but McKenna’s daughter had a softball game. She told Dean she had an idea for a song. “I said, ‘I think it’s just real simple: how, no matter what––and it’s true if you’re a dad too––but if you’re a mom, you can never really rest. You’re worried about what’s going to happen with these kids.’” Dean told her he’d work on it while she stepped out to the ballpark. The 15 minutes she thought she’d be away turned into an hour and a half once she realized her girl was pitching. “Of course, I’m texting him, ‘I’m so sorry! I’m so sorry!’” McKenna laughs. “By the time I got back, he had all these things: ‘She’ll move a mountain for you by the afternoon. She’s a hummingbird in the living room.’ He’d taken his love and appreciation for his mother, wife, and sister, and just thought about all the things they do for their people. I love it more than I would if I’d written it alone because Barry was so brilliant.”
photo credit:  Becky Fluke 

McKenna’s admiration for her co-writers is always obvious. She penned the title track with Natalie Hemby and Aaron Raitiere. “Once we realized the ‘tree’ was the love and fight of the family––not just the branches as the people, but also what it gifts, like ‘The Giving Tree,’ the song came quickly,” McKenna says, referencing the beloved children’s book written by fellow songwriting giant Shel Silverstein. Featuring harmonies from Hemby, the song captures the inevitable push and pull of trying to escape your roots even as you embrace them. McKenna partnered with frequent collaborators Liz Rose and Hillary Lindsey for two tracks. The first, “You Can’t Break a Woman,” is gorgeous and defiant as it traces the hardening of a heart in the face of neglect. The second, album closer “Like Patsy Would,” longs to write like Hemingway and sing like Cline––a sly combination of iconic masculinity and femininity.

McKenna wrote “Young and Angry Again” with Dean and Luke Laird. The song yearns for teenage fire and recklessness over strings that pine perfectly. Laird and McKenna also wrote “The Way Back Home,” a moving list of guideposts to cling to that’ll ensure you never forget who you are. The McKenna- and Hailey Whitters-penned “Happy People” serves as a paean to pursuing what brings you joy so that the world can receive the reverberating effects.

photo credit:  Becky Fluke 

The four solo McKenna compositions are stand-outs. Heartbreaking “The Fixer” tells the story of a husband’s devotion. It’s tempting to focus exclusively on McKenna’s sharply drawn female characters, but she writes men with equal empathy and transcendent grace. “My mom died when I was little, so I was raised by my dad and four brothers,” she says. “I do see men as the fathers and family members they are.” Vocal showcase “The Lot Behind St. Mary’s” pays homage to life’s defining moments that unfold in unlikely places. “I’m kind of obsessed with parking lots and how much time kids spend in them,” McKenna says. “There is so much that we go through in those moments that we don’t give ourselves credit for.”

You Won’t Even Know I’m Gone” explores the poignant urge to express love through acts of service so constant they will ultimately go unnoticed. “Is all the laundry done? Do they have food? Is the house clean? That’s how I cope with the guilt of leaving,” McKenna says. “The hardest part of everything that I’m so lucky to do is having to travel.” With vignette after vignette, stunner “People Get Old” notes how the passage of time plays out between parents and children. McKenna’s favorite track, the song offers a telling composite of her and her husband’s fathers, and anchors the record.

When asked what she hopes listeners experience once they hear The Tree, McKenna doesn’t hesitate:
 “Every single person in the world has such awesome stories. I love to write songs that just shine a little light on that for a second. Maybe our stories remind us of our families and what they give us. It’s beautiful, and sometimes we take it for granted.”
In celebration of the release, McKenna will embark on “The Way Back Home Tour” this summer. The headline tour kicks off June 29 at Annapolis’ Rams Head On Stage and includes stops at City Winery venues in Boston, New York, DC, Chicago and Atlanta as well as Philadelphia’s World Café Live and Nashville’s CMA Theatre among others. McKenna will also join Alison Krauss on two tour dates in Ohio this June. See below for complete details.

McKenna was raised in a Boston family of six children. She met her husband Gene in third grade. They have five kids. And over the last three decades, as she became a wife and mother, she has also emerged as one of the most respected, prolific singer-songwriters in popular music.
The new album follows a series of breakthrough years for McKenna following the release of her Grammy-nominated album, THE BIRD & THE RIFLE. Released to widespread acclaim, NPR Music called it, “one of 2016’s best releases,” while Pitchfork asserted, “one of the most accomplished and devastating singer-songwriter albums of the year,” and The Washington Post declared, “the best-sounding album of McKenna’s 15-year recording career.” The album—which garnered Grammy nominations for Best Americana Album, Best American Roots Song (“Wreck You”) and Best American Roots Performance (“Wreck You”) and two nominations at the Americana Music Association’s Honors & Awards— also landed McKenna a profile on “CBS News Sunday Morning” and a performance on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.”

Additionally, McKenna continues to enjoy tremendous success as a songwriter. In 2017, she became the first songwriter to win back-to-back Best Country Song awards at The Grammys since Shania Twain in 1999-2000 with her solo-penned, No.1 hit “Humble & Kind” following 2016’s win for “Girl Crush” (co-written with Love Junkies Liz Rose and Hillary Lindsey).
McKenna also won Song of the Year for “Humble & Kind” at The 50th Annual CMA Awards and became the first songwriter to win the award in consecutive years since Vince Gill (1991-1993) and the first female songwriter to win back-to-back nods in the history of the CMAs.
Moreover, she made history at the 52nd Academy of Country Music Awards becoming the first woman to be awarded Songwriter of the Year.
McKenna’s current songs include Carrie Underwood’s lead single, “Cry Pretty,” written with Liz Rose and Hillary Lindsey.

CONNECT with Lori McKenna:
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June 14 /// Sylvania, OH /// Centennial Terrace (supporting Alison Krauss)
June 15 /// Kettering, OH /// Fraze Pavilion (supporting Alison Krauss)
June 29 /// Annapolis, MD /// Rams Head On Stage
June 30 /// Northampton, MA /// Iron Horse Music Hall
July 1 /// East Greenwich, RI /// Greenwich Odeum
July 18 /// Boston, MA /// City Winery
July 20 /// New York, NY /// City Winery
July 21 /// Philadelphia, PA /// World Café Live
July 22 /// Washington, DC /// City Winery
August 3 /// Ann Arbor, MI /// The Ark
August 4 /// Chicago, IL /// City Winery
August 5 /// Minneapolis, MN /// Dakota Jazz Club
August 15 /// Atlanta, GA /// City Winery
August 16 /// Charlotte, NC /// North Carolina Blumenthal Performing Arts Center
August 17 /// Nashville, TN /// CMA Theatre, Country Music Hall of Fame
Lori McKenna - Tour Dates

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