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Monday, November 15, 2010

A Deceptively Sophisticated Mobile Home

A true radical in sheep’s clothing, Nellie McKay defies convention once again on her latest, Home Sweet Mobile Home.

A year after a Verve-released Doris Day covers CD, the English-born, New York-bred songwriter opens our new CD of the Week with the vulnerable “Bruise on the Sky,” which asks to be sent a “smile like Charo.”

And like the award-winning flamenco guitarist and frequent Love Boat guest star with the wide-eyed “cuchi-cuchi”- catch phrase, Mc Kay’s throwback beauty and broad grin (she looks like she should be on a chewing gum commercial) may deceive the uninitiated into thinking she’s, well, ditzy!

But, underneath the perky, ukulele strum on “Adios,” it doesn’t take long to get a sense of her Randy Newman-like biting wit, sense of irony and comedic timing.

An expert musical masher, you’ll hear reggae on Mobile Home - she recorded several tracks in Jamaica- as well as meringue, tin-pan alley, calypso, gospel, and a New Orleans brass stomp.

Self-produced by the artist and her mother, actress Robin Pappas, and with help from David Byrne, this true chameleon and social activist (she's an outspoken vegan- and hilariously sings about it on "Unkown Reggae") proves once again brains and beauty are not mutually exclusive.

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