Puremusic Interview with
Lori McKenna

This mother of five has a knack for dramatic entrances. When she made her singer songwriter debut out of nowhere in 1998, Folk Radio powerhouse WUMB named her Best New Artist, The Boston Globe put her in the Top Ten, and she won a Boston Music Award. (Oh, and she sold 10,000 copies.)

Rumor has it that she's making a similarly dramatic entrance in Nashville as a songwriter. I've heard from a number of sources that, subsequent to signing with Melanie Howard Music, the artist got four cuts with the Country Crossover artist, a cut with her star husband, and another cut with another huge female artist. The artist is not at liberty to discuss such things, because no one knows until the album is Out whether your song made it on the record or not. (Not most, but some artists will cut 40 songs before they whittle it down to 12--and the other ones will go into various limbos, they're far from a shoe-in for the next record. Then the process starts again, with fresh songs, and fresh songwriters, sometimes.)

So, Nashville is finding out what the Boston area and the national folk scene has known for some years--that Lori McKenna has got the goods. She's already writing all over town with all the coolest writers, and that is the best thing a great publisher can do for you. (Aside from landing you six monster cuts, that is.)

We listened to her latest record, last year's Bittertown, and found it very impressive indeed. She's got the sound, and she's got the songs. Lori also has a rather unique vision for a songwriter, having married and mothered early, and staying in the neighborhood where she was raised, in the South Shore town of Stoughton, Massachusetts. I don't hear the level of egocentrism in her songs that I believe makes singer songwriters boring to some people, a lot of people. With five kids running around the house (the oldest is 16) and a high school sweetheart husband who loves music but doesn't pay that much attention to the words, I think that probably brings you down to earth pretty well.

And we did find her to be a lovely person on the phone, with no end of praise for the people with whom she has worked or those by whom she has been inspired. And she's more apt to refer to herself as a housewife than a songwriter. It's charming, really. And when you combine those qualities with the beauty and power of her music, it's no wonder that people are falling in love with her, now all over the globe. And it's still just the beginning. There are also rumors of a major label deal for Lori as an artist, and it's easy to predict that she is going to get a Lot bigger in the next five years. Couldn't happen to a nicer gal. We know you'll enjoy the conversation with the angel of Stoughton, Lori McKenna.  continue to interview