Anne McCue
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Anne McCue

Nashville, Tennessee, United States | INDIE

Nashville, Tennessee, United States | INDIE
Band Americana Blues

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By Steve Wildsmith
stevew@thedailytimes.com

On the phone, Australian singer-songwriter Anne McCue is demure.

She’s polite, humble, almost soft-spoken — her accent adding a girlish quality to her feminine voice as she talks about her career and her recent projects.


In other words, it’s difficult to reconcile that voice — that woman — with the one who pours forth from the speakers when her most recent album, “Broken Promise Land,” is played.

From the tortured moan on “Ol’ Black Sky” layered over and around swirling blues-rock guitar that flirts with a metal feel to the languid sensuality of “God’s Home Number,” McCue creates a mood using her voice and her fingers — sensual, slick, sassy and stoic, the sound of a blues woman walking down a dark Texas highway with a guitar slung over her shoulder and a thumb out for a ride, confident that unless the Devil himself is behind the wheel of the car that pulls over to offer one, she can take care of herself.

McCue, however, prefers not to analyze what she does — she’d rather just do it. She is, in fact, a doer — so much so that music isn’t the only project she has on her plate.

“I just made a little short film that’s on YouTube, something just for fun,” she told The Daily Times during a recent phone interview. “I’m still writing a film script, and I’m working on my novel. And I’ve been writing a few things about music — I wrote about Tony Joe White and Chrissy Hyndes for No Depression.

“I want to make films, definitely. I’m working on a film script, and I’m getting more into making videos for my own songs. Yeah, I want to get a lot of things finished. Hopefully I’ll get a lot of projects done over the winter.”

Such motivation explains McCue’s fast-moving career. After graduating from Sydney’s University of Technology with a degree in film production and film studies, she moved to Melbourne with her guitar and intended to write a novel. However, a want ad for a rock band caught her attention, and she soon joined a pop-rock outfit as lead guitarist. She toured the country, studied music theory and worked on her own songwriting before leaving the band and moving to Vietnam.

Living and playing in Ho Chi Minh City, she jammed with a number of bands and soaked in the culture before returning to Melbourne, where she joined another band — the power trio Eden AKA, which was signed to Columbia Records and invited to perform on singer-songwriter Sarah McLachlan’s Lilith Fair tour in 1998 and 1999.

She didn’t stay put for long, however. Frustrated creatively, she left the band and completed her debut album, “Amazing Ordinary Things.” In 2002, she toured with Lucinda Williams and released a live recording, and in 2006 she put out her fourth solo album, “Koala Motel.” She followed it up with “East of Electric” in 2008 and “Promise Land” last year.

“‘East of Electric was an acoustic album I wrote and recorded at home, and after that I just wanted to do a record that’s really basic but rocking and sort of a tribute to some of my favorite guitar players and bands,” she said, naming The Pretenders, The Yardbirds, AC/DC, Led Zeppelin and Midnight Oil as a few of those.

In selecting the songs, she turned to ones that captured her imagination — ones like “Motorcycle Dream,” by fellow singer-songwriter Amelia White. A lot of those songs will get the full-on Anne McCue workout tonight at Brackins Blues Bar, when she’ll combine her penchant for good song choices with the skills she’s picked up on her numerous tours across the country.

“I think touring with the Heart girls — the Wilson sisters — did a lot for me,” she said. “Just their absolute love of music — it’s like the air they breathe — and being around that was really great and really inspiring. They have no emotional blocks. It’s one of the most positive experiences I’ve ever had, really.

“Given the chance, I’m pretty sure that on Friday night, I’ll be able to play as long as I want, and I’ll be able to jam more. I love to jam – I always have, and now I love to extend solos.”

If it goes well — and there’s no reason why it shouldn’t — chances are good McCue will be back to Blount County at some point. Not only does she call Nashville home, but she plans on being in the music business — regardless of whatever other projects catch her fancy — for a good long time.

“Music is my job and my career — it’s where I earn my money — but it’s also good for my soul and keeps me sane,” she said. “It’s my therapy and my medicine. With the other things, I’d like to be able to make money out of them as well, but I need to play music for my well-being.” - Maryville Daily Times


"Australian singer-songwriter Anne McCue's latest is her strongest to date. McCue captures the vibe of blues musician Albert King while maintaining her own style - a hybrid of blues, rock and "swamp music." ... Broken Promise Land also showcases McCue's exceptional guitar skills."Don't Go To Texas (Without Me)" harkens back to the dirty guitar sounds of the Rolling Stones and The Yardbirds. The title track cuts loose with a Hendrix-like bluesy guitar solo. Her strong songwriting ability is evident..." - Elmore Magazine


"...emblematic of the persona she carries throughout this blistering, exhilarating ride." - Alternate Root


"McCue shows a grit and resolve that makes "Broken Promise Land" a delight. As impressive as she is as a folk artist, it's playing hard-drivin' blues rock where McCue seems most at home." - Pittsburg Daily News


"... Anne McCue, whose new CD is grittier and more alive than what is being released by most male rockers these days...." - thepromiselive.com


"... stratospheric guitar work, whisky-soaked voice and songs crackling with classic intensity and modern energy define Broken Promise Land as a prime example of raw and dirty Blues Rock in the new millennium..." - Cincinnati City Beat


"McCue has delivered an exceptional album..." - if magazine


On "Broken Promise Land," McCue displays her grittier side and flashes her six-string chops with dirty-toned, blues-edged rockers such as "Don't Go to Texas (Without Me)," the title song, and Rose Tattoo's "Rock 'n' Roll Outlaw." With her dusky alto, however, McCue also remains a spellbinder when she shifts gears, from the horn-kissed rock-and-soul of "Cruisin' Paradise (Tenerife)" to the atmospheric, vibes-accented "Motorcycle Dream," and the seductively slithering "The Old Man's Talkin'." - Philadelphia Inquirer


AUSTIN CHRONICLE REVIEW:
At the Cactus With McCue
by Jim Caligiuri November 16 2007


... the Nashville resident’s ace up the sleeve is her guitar playing. Where most folkies are content to strum an acoustic guitar and leave the heavy lifting to a sideman, the Australian McCue can stand toe-to-toe with nearly any guitar slinger you might name.

Her appearance at the Cactus Cafe last night was a loose-limbed affair. She was breaking in her new rhythm section, locals George Reiff on bass and Rick Richards on drums, but if the slim blonde hadn’t mentioned it was their first show together, you might not have known. Highlighting songs from her latest, Koala Motel, she used every guitar in the battery she brought on stage, from the National steel to the Danelectro 12-string to the lap steel, and each allowed her the freedom to explore a different type of roots music, including swampy Creedence stomp, ethereal blues, and countrified jangle.

Even when McCue extended a couple of songs, it felt more like an appropriate way to display her feelings rather than egocentric wanking. Her stage personality also kept things relaxed. Rarely does an artist appear so comfortable onstage as to debut new songs with a new band and pull it all together with a confident wink and always-smart mouth.

These days, there are very few women working the same territory as McCue who can combine tough and vulnerable. That she does it with poise and a self-deprecating sense of humor makes her an artist worth seeing again.

- THE AUSTIN CHRONICLE


If you’re of a certain age and inclination, you’ll welcome Anne McCue’s Koala Motel as kin to Pretenders II, Shoot Out the Lights and Rumours. But while some artists boast their influences like a window display at a trendy vintage store, counting the gems on on the Australian singer/songwriter’s second disc is like walking through an art gallery, with something to delight and intrigue at every turn. There’s the fuzzed-up scrim of her blues guitar on “As The Crow Flies”; the harmonies (with John Doe), reminiscent of Richard and Linda Thompson, in “Driving Down Alvarado”; the plaintive country edge of “Shivers.” On this last track... McCue sounds like her alto came out of God’s workshop. She’s confident, polished, smart, and Koala Motel is wholly original — and indelible. - PAMELA MURRAY WINTERS | HARP - HARP MAGAZINE


'McCue is a superior songwriter, an excellent vocalist, an accomplished and tasteful lead player... Her soloing evokes the ghosts of Paul Kossoff of Free and possibly even Tommy Bolin - players who knew the value of just the right note on the right occasion, whilst stil being able to let rip when a tune was kicking. Her playing is tasteful and seanless. I could count on one hand the amount of artists as completely engrossing as Anne McCue.' - AUSTRALIAN MUSICIAN


"Anne McCue is the virtual definition of triple threat. A potent singer, thoughtful songwriter and tough guitarist, she completely comes into her own on Koala Motel."
- BILLBOARD


"Koala Motel sounds like a classic on first listening... replete with everything that makes great rock great"
- AMERICAN SONGWRITER


"Australian singer/songwriter/guitarist Anne McCue wields potent bluesy rock against her unaffected, naturally wistful voice." - ROLLING STONE


"A killer guitar player..." - PERFORMING SONGWRITER


"With such skill and self-confidence, McCue should have no trouble mastering the headlining slots that are surely in her future." - WASHINGTON POST


"My new favorite artist and an amazing guitarist." - LUCINDA WILLIAMS/ STARBUCKS CD


"Anne McCue's 'Roll' is my favourite album of 2004" - BOB HARRIS BBC RADIO


Discography

NEW ALBUM DUE FEB 2014.

SINGLES:

Born To Run
Pleasure & Pain
Bird On A Wire

DVD:
Live in Nashville (2011)

SOLO ALBUMS:

1. Amazing Ordinary Things
2. Live: Ballad Of An Outlaw Woman
3. Roll
4. Koala Motel
5. East Of Electric
6. Don't Go To Texas (Without Me) -Digital Single
7. Broken Promise Land

COMPILATIONS:

Lucinda Williams Artist Choice Starbucks
4 Decades of Folk Rock (Time Life)
This Is Americana

AS MUSICIAN:

Michelle Shocked - Mexican Hat Dance (guitar)
Merryl Bainbridge - Between Days (guitar)
Gina Villalobos - Dig A Pony (banjo, vocals)

PRODUCER (Other artists):
Stephen Rowe - Broken Hill
Tracey Bunn - By The Wayside
Leila Florentino - Sail
Denise Desimone - Pray Peace
Audrey Auld - Resurrection Moon
Yeah No Yeah - Happy Alone
Emma Swift

Anne has enjoyed airplay on NPR, BBC, ABC, Radio One, College, XM, Sirius and many other stations throughout the world.

Photos

Bio

Bluesy songstress and multi-instrumentalist Anne McCue has just recorded her 6th studio album - Blue Sky Thinkin' - with co-producer Dusty Wakeman (Lucinda Williams, Dwight Yoakam) in Los Angeles. Mixing of the album is almost complete and we are looking at a January 2014 release date. The album reunites the band from her critically acclaimed 'Roll' album and allows Anne to explore some of her favourite influences, including Billy Holiday, Charlie Christian, Howlin' Wolf, Albert King, Nick Drake, Astor Piazzola, Peggy Lee, Bessie Smith...

Alternative Country icon Lucinda Williams has said of McCue: “Initially, her stunning voice hooked me in. Then I got inside the songs. The first chance I got, I went to see her perform . . . I was floored!"

Born in Sydney and raised just southwest in Campbelltown, McCue has toured the world playing her music in Concert Halls, pubs and festivals. She has most recently been based in East Nashville, a thriving songwriting community on the Cumberland River's left bank.
Her love of music forged in Sydney, Melbourne and Ho Chi Minh City, McCue landed in America and performed on the Lilith Fair tour. After setting up shop in Los Angeles, she became a vital part of the city’s roots music scene and has since recorded 5 acclaimed studio albums and a DVD ‘Live In Nashville.’

Her music is included in Time Life’s ‘4 Decades Of Folk Rock’ alongside Bob Dylan, The Byrds, etc. and in Starbucks Artist Choice alongside Leonard Cohen, John Coltraine etc.

McCue has also produced other artists including Audrey Auld, Tracy Bunn and currently, Emma Swift.

Expect great guitar work, compelling songs, and an eclectic set list.
"Listeners will delight in her slide guitar prowess, as well as her pointed and powerful lyrics." -- Seattle Post Intelligencer

"Anne McCue is the virtual definition of "triple threat." A potent singer, thoughtful songwriter and tough guitarist, she completely comes into her own on this new project." -- Billboard

"The young Australian earns accolades with an album of songs that stretch from urgent to world-weary with bracing bluntness." -- Philadelphia Inquirer

"My new favorite artist and an amazing guitarist" -- Lucinda Williams

"Highlighting songs from her latest, Koala Motel, she used every guitar in the battery she brought on stage, from the National steel to the Danelectro 12-string to the lap steel, and each allowed her the freedom to explore a different type of roots music, including swampy Creedence stomp, ethereal blues, and countrified jangle. These days, there are very few women working the same territory as McCue who can combine tough and vulnerable. That she does it with poise and a self-deprecating sense of humor makes her an artist worth seeing again." --Jim Caligiuri, Austin Chronicle

Links

ANNE’S SITE: http://www.annemccue.com
YOUTUBE: http://www.youtube.com/user/annemccue
FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/annemccuemusic

CONTACT:

AUSTRALIA:
Steve Montgomery ph. 0413 625 634 stevemonty@tpg.com.au

USA:
Jared Levine ph. 310 403 4860
jaredlevine@sbcglobal.net