Performer, songwriter and activist Nellie McKay releases Obligatory Villagers on September 25th, the follow up to Pretty Little Head, one of the best-reviewed records of 2006. Like its predecessor, this 9-song odyssey was produced, written and arranged by McKay--only this time, an ensemble of jazz greats including Phil Woods, David Liebman and Bob Dorough were enlisted to a studio deep in the Pocono Mountains.
The result is a record "filled to the brim with the flair of musical theater," says Pitchfork. "From the cheeky ukulele-and-tap-shoes "dance break!" in the middle of album opener "Mother of Pearl" to the chorus of brain-hungry zombies on a finale titled, yes, "Zombie", Villagers finds Nellie and her collaborators at their most lively and rambunctious."
In addition to scoring the movie-musical The Amazing True Story of a Teenage Single Mom, McKay has been active in supporting get-out-the-vote efforts, the campaign to close Columbia University’s primate laboratories, and working to ban carriage horses throughout the country. She is a contributor to The Onion and The New York Times Book Review and recently won a Theatre World Award for her portrayal of Polly Peachum in the Broadway production of The Threepenny Opera.
We've been trying to get McKay into The Shedd's Jaqua Concert Hall since the 2004 release of her debut album, Get Away From Me (Noting that this title is a perhaps not-so-subtle dig at Norah Jones' own debut, the 2002 Come Away With Me tells you a little about what Nellie McKay is about). We managed to slip into her Obligatory Villagers Tour at the last minute with a solo night between San Francisco and Seattle--just Nellie McKay and a piano. Don't miss it.