Anne McCue | Blue Sky Thinkin'

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Blues: Jazzy Blues Folk: Folk-Jazz Moods: Mood: Fun
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Blue Sky Thinkin'

by Anne McCue

The album manages to sound like a lost recording of standards from the 30s and something very fresh and new all at the same time.
Genre: Blues: Jazzy Blues
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Dig Two Graves
3:09 $0.99
2. Things You Left Out in the Rain
3:04 $0.99
3. Spring Cleaning in the Wintertime
3:17 $0.99
4. Devil in the Middle (feat. Dave Alvin)
4:07 $0.99
5. Long Tall Story
2:42 $0.99
6. Little White Cat
2:56 $0.99
7. It Wasn't Even Fun While It Lasted
2:25 $0.99
8. Save a Life
4:31 $0.99
9. Uncanny Moon
3:47 $0.99
10. Cowgirl Blues
2:27 $0.99
11. Knock On Wood
4:09 $0.99
12. Blue Sky Thinkin'
2:15 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes

Features collaborations with David Olney and Dave Alvin;
Set for Release on February 10, 2015 via
Flying Machine Records

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Blue Sky Thinkin’ is the album Anne McCue has been waiting her
whole life to make, even though she didn’t realize it. She initially planned to make a
bluesy, swampy album as the follow-up to 2010’s guitar-focused CD Broken Promise
Land. However, after she wrote the jaunty, jazzy tune “Blue Sky Thinkin’,” it
reawakened her love for swing era music. So, as she explains it, instead of doing
another album with Neil Young or the early Rolling Stones as musical guideposts,
McCue did one where Hoagy Carmichael, Billie Holliday, and George Gershwin
served as her hallmarks.

McCue’s affection for this pre-rock music is evident in the disc’s gorgeously crafted
songs; they sound so authentically vintage that you’ll be checking the credits to see
what Tin Pan Alley tunesmith wrote them. “Things You Left Out in the Rain,” with its
woozy horns punctuating McCue’s chanteuse-like purr, and “It Wasn’t Even Fun While
It Lasted,” a lighthearted romp about heartbreak, suggest long lost gems that might
have appeared in a ’30s musical. “Save a Life” evokes Peggy Lee’s smoky aura, while
McCue professes that the acoustic blues “Cowgirl Blues” offers a nod to another of her
favorite artists, Memphis Minnie.

Those who know McCue for her rugged blues rock music will connect to “Little White
Cat,” a ’50s-style roadhouse boogie that she notes is the most modern cut on the
release. Written as a more positive-looking reply to Howlin’ Wolf’s “Ain’t
Superstitious,” the tune also reveals her love for Cab Calloway, as does “Devil in the
Middle,” a darkly dramatic song (co-written with David Olney and John Hadley) that
features a duet with Dave Alvin. McCue was thrilled to get Alvin to sing with her
because his “beautiful, deep voice” made him McCue’s first choice for the track.
Blue Sky Thinkin’ also affords McCue the opportunity to showcase her critically hailed
guitar prowess in new and often more subtle ways. Her blues playing here favors a
more acoustic variety, such as the Lightnin’ Hopkins-style picking on “Cowgirl Blues.”
More often she salutes her jazz guitar idols. Her fluid licks in “Knock on Wood” and the
title track pay tribute to the great jazz guitarist Charlie Christian, and the gypsy jazz
playing on “Dig Two Graves” speaks to her affection for Django Reinhardt. The tango
touches, meanwhile, in “Uncanny Moon” reflect her admiration for Argentinian music
legend Astor Piazzola.

It might seem unusual that McCue was influenced by so much music made decades
before she was born; however, this was the music she heard at home growing up in
Australia. “My parents were from the World War II generation,” she explained. “This
was their music and I listened to it as much as New Wave and punk as a kid.” A
pivotal moment in her musical enlightenment, McCue reveals, was discovering the
Benny Goodman album He’s Funny That Way in a Sydney record store when she was
14 years old. “When I bought it, the guy looked at me (dressed very alternatively) and
said, ‘you want to buy this, hey?’ He was quite incredulous. I played that disc a lot! I
loved it, and still have it.”

Jazz, in fact, was one of McCue’s main musical genres alongside Rock when she was
playing in Australia, before she found her groove in Americana and Blues in America.
Following Broken Promise Land, she took some time off. Rediscovering her passion for
music of the ’20s, ’30s and ’40s served to get her excited about making music again.
“It was very easy to write this way,” she admits. “It was so natural.”

To help bring her vision to life, McCue turned to some old friends: bassist/co-producer
Dusty Wakeman, drummer Dave Raven and keyboardist Carl Byron. This trio of
veteran Los Angeles sidemen (whose collective resumes include work with Roy
Orbison, Bo Diddley, Nancy Sinatra, Warren Zevon and Dwight Yoakam) was her band
on her breakout debut, Roll. McCue raves, “they just instinctively knew what to do”;
so in sync that they recorded the final six songs in less than two days.

She returned to her current home, Nashville, to finish the album. Ray Kennedy (Steve
Earle, Emmylou Harris), who mastered the CD, expressed his love for Blue Sky
Thinkin’, and he’s not alone. Veteran music executive Eddie Gomez hailed the album
as “a bona fide collection of new standards for a generation that hungers for the good
stuff.” Noted songwriter David Olney, who collaborated with McCue on several Blue
Sky numbers, describes her as “fearless and tender and alluring.”

Even when she’s not making her own, McCue has a life full of music. The release she
produced for Emma Swift just got a Best Country Album nomination by the Australian
Record Industry Association (alongside acts like Keith Urban and Kasey Chambers).
McCue has projects in the works such as a children’s book and CD, and she hosts the
Songs on the Wire show on the Internet station East Nashville Radio, an experience
that she says has brought her a “new respect for my fellow song writers.”

McCue, who has been operating as a wholly independent artist for the past seven
years, turned to Indiegogo to help complete Blue Sky Thinkin’. While she was terrified
at first, she found it to be a great experience, admitting, “I cried when the first
contributions started coming in. Live audiences have had “a fantastic response” to the
new tunes, she reports, and she can’t wait to share Blue Sky Thinkin’ with more
people. “It’s a fun, uplifting album . . . I want to make other people’s lives happier.”



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