Jenifer McKitrick
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Jenifer McKitrick

San Jose, California, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2001 | SELF

San Jose, California, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2001
Solo Rock Indie




"Jenifer McKitrick Glow Review"

From No Depression magazine, Spring 2001:

On first listen, Glow, the debut solo disc from San Francisco singer-songwriter Jenifer McKitrick, comes across as tough as a Joan Jett growl or a pair of her road-tested leather trousers. But once you spend some time with its eleven songs, you find the center’s softer, more vulnerable, than it first appeared.
Part of that is due to McKitrick’s voice. More suited to a roadhouse than a coffee shop, she projects a mixture of snarl and sass that works well on songs such as “Glow” and “So Far Gone”. That these and other songs have the feel of slightly twanged-out 1970s rock is no coincidence: The album was co-produced by Sandy Pearlman, who cut his teeth a couple decades back working with Blue Oyster Cult, the Dictators, and the Clash (he also produced the Dream Syndicate’s sophomore gem, the hard-rockin’ Medicine Show).
McKitrick was formerly a member of San Francisco country band Swingin’ Doors, which received decent local acclaim but broke up after just one album. Despite those musical roots, on Glow, the honky-tonk approach of her earlier group is gone. You can hear remnants in the rhythms and guitar playing (some by Chuck Prophet), but overall this record’s about rock ‘n’ roll.
Still, not every song is a gear grinder. “Why”, for instance, has a thick tone, but a slower, more introspective pace. By the time we reach the bare-bones piano intro of “Love Is All You Are”, things have quieted considerably. This comes to nearly full fruition on the light and lilting “Angel (Requiem)”, on which McKitrick allows her folksier side to show through; the song adds textural depth to the record.
Ditto for “Come On Now”, the joyfully ragged album closer. When McKitrick sings “Come on out to San Francisco/See how life doesn’t really have to be so hard,” she’s not such a badass after all. Goodness, she actually sounds like a hippie. It’s calling for the return of a lost lover, but the sentiments are real, not soaked beyond recognition in hipster irony. And that’s refreshing. As is much of this album. 
-Kurt Wolff
released January 1, 2001

Co-produced by Sandy Pearlman and Jenifer McKitrick.
Jenifer McKitrick: Vocals, guitars
Chuck Prophet: Guitars
Katharine Cole: Acoustic guitar, vocals
Tony Marsico: bass
Dawn Richardson: Drums and percussion
Stephanie Lee: Violin
Chris von Sendern: Piano, organ
Recorded by Noah Rabinowitz and Eric Westfall at Alpha and Omega, San Rafael, CA.
Additional recording, production and mixing by Chris von Sneidern at Ordophon Studio, San Francisco, CA.
Mastered by Ken Lee at Kenneth Lee Mastering.
Tape editing by Paul Stubblebine
Tape transfer by Laura Hanna.
With special thanks to the Recording Institute of California. - No Depression Magazine

"Jenifer McKitrick Solo Record Glow"

San Francisco's Jenifer McKitrick positively shines on her debut disc, Glow. The husky-voiced McKitrick, formerly of the Swingin' Doors, crafts a set of glistening guitar rock that reveals both a toughness and a sense for hooks-something like Chrissie Hynde. - Miles of Music

"Swingin' Doors Unhinged"

You expect things like the Son Volt debut album, the Steve Earle comeback record, the latest Alejandro Escovedo effort to be records you'll be excited about and enjoy very much.But once in a while you get surprised by one of those discs you pulled from the stack of bands you'd never heard of before--and more than anything, that's what makes this whole music-writing endeavor worthwhile.
That's where Unhinged fits in. Swingin' Doors, a quartet from San Francisco, has probably never been heard outside the Bay Area, but they deserve to be.Their 10-song debut is a humble enough effort--just a bunch of solid tunes played by a rather ordinary band fronted by a couple rather extraordinary singers. Jenifer McKitrick and Dwight Been trade off lead vocal duties effectively, Been offering a warm, reassuring country croon to offset McKitrick's more plaintive and poignant counterpoint.
Lyrically, there's some pretty fine stuff going on here."Just Her Tattoo" is classic country imagery at its finest, while "One Eye Love" pulls off the difficult feat of pun-filled humor without devolving into sheer novelty. And the smoothly rolling chorus of "On and On" shows Been understands the importance of choosing words and syllables that match the mood of the music.
The clincher is the final track, a countrified cover of Blondie's "Dreaming" that totally remakes the song in Swingin' Doors' image. When McKitrick stretches out a note to seamlessly meld the bridge to the final verse, everything falls away for just a couple of seconds in one of those absolutely perfect musical moments. Indeed, this is the stuff tha makes sorting through all those stacks of unknowns worth the effort.
--Peter Blackstock - No Depression Magzine

"Jenifer McKitrick Interview"

JENIFER MCKITRICK is a girl which really made me warm when I heard her. I send the interview to her right away and here is her answers. 1st of March 2001.

Please tell me a little about yourself, family, age, bands you have played in before?-My first band was The Bettys, when I was in school, and I was in a bunch of other bands. I was in Swingin' Doors for 5 years here in San Francisco, and before that, when I was living on the east coast, there were The Outskirts, Spank the Eggman, Roadhouse, many others. I live with my spouse and daughter.

You work on Gearhead or what? You do zines and records?(Is there any chance to any more promos and an issue of the zine maybe)-I do work for Gearhead, sure I can try and get some promos sent to you. What do you have/want?

I said in my review that you singed like a god, how did you take it?-I was impossible for the whole weekend. But seriously, I found myself at rehearsal trying to sound more "godlike" and had to laugh at myself, I've never aspired to that before!!

Which are the groups, girls you have been compared to in the reviews?-Stones, Blondie, Patti Smith, Pretenders, Jonathan Richman, The Crystals, The Bodeans, Magazine, all kinds. I feel a bit uncomfortable around band comparisons. Each song is a different world. I don't know how to put bands in different boxes like that. I guess I'm just too close to it to be objective.

I said Pretenders, Joni Mitchell, Janis Joplin and a much punk in the grow up time, what about that?-I want to know more about that "punk in the grow up time." I don't know what you mean, but it sounds very interesting.

Have you doen anything more than Glow?If you have how can I get it?-There is 'Unhinged', the Swingin' Doors record. That's for sale at
And there's some rare out of print stuff floating around out there.

Is it easier or is it more difficult to be a soloartist? Which are the best and the baddest parts with it?-It's too much work to be a solo artist, I am starting a band.

When you write music ,what is most important , music, lyrcis or to have a refrain that people remember?-I guess I would have to say that music comes first.

I´ll take mine is written with acknowledgment to David Lynch, what do you mean with that?-The words in the chorus are recycled from Eraserhead, the David Lynch movie. I only saw it once so I can't be sure how close they are to the actual text of the film, but I was trying to copy it as best I could. So I wanted to thank David.

What´s the best and what´s the worst of being a girl in the music business?-The best part is that guys at the shows will offer to carry my amp for me, they don't do that for the guys. The worst part is PMS.

How is it to live in USA today? Is it violent?-If you saw my neighborhood you would laugh at that question. The closest to violence is on Saturday morning because there are too many dot-com employees in line for a cappucino getting a little grumpy because they have to wait for their caffeine. I would say it's not violent enough here, we could use a little action.

Is there any good bands there right now?-Tons. There is not possibly time for anyone to listen to all the great music in the world.

What do you know about Sweden?-Gearfest!

Have you heard any swedish bands worth to mention?-Soul Patrol. Bob Hund. Abba of course.

Please rank 5 best records, five best concerts and five most important things in life?-albums: David Bowie-Ziggy Stardust, Never Mind the bollocks here's the sex pistols, Rolling Stones -some girls, Elvis Costello-Armed Forces, Led Zeppelin' s first.
concerts: Peter Frampton, Iggy Pop, Patti Smith, Keith Richards, Chuck Prophet
Life: to know who you are

First and last and most expensive record you bought?-First- Must've been an Elton John album in about 6th grade.

Idols when you were small?-Batman and Nancy Sinatra.

What do you think about the new way to communicate with email and internet and all that stuff?-I don¹t know how I survived before email and the internet.

Do you have any favouritesite yourself worth to recommend?- They make animated shorts and have an impressive catalog of original content.

How would you describe your own music if someone asked you what the hell is you doing?-I just call it rock. But then I'm not getting a lot of calls asking me to review music, either.

Which is the most peculiar thing that have happened on a concert with you, on stage or in the audience?-Once it was a bummer when I was playing with the Bettys at JB's in Kent OH and I was singing a song and watching them taking a friend of mine out on a stretcherŠ.turns out she wasn't hurt too badly, just a little glass.

Are you often out and play, how does your audience look like?-Mostly young adults in their thirties. Total foxes. I just love em all.

Is it many interviews, is it boring?-I like interviews, sometimes I get an interesting question that makes me think in a new way, get a different perspective.

Which is the most frequent asked question?-Tell me a little bit about yourself.

Which is the question you want to have but you never get, please ask it and answer it? -How would you like your million dollars, in cash or check? I would say check is fine.

Do you have any favouritezine on the net or on paper?-Other than Gearhead and Skrutt, of course, I mostly just read hot rod magazines and the New Yorker. There are actually a lot of cool new online zines I have been checking out. There is some good writing out there, insightful reviews. Music zines like Bart Ebisch's AltCountry NL at
Jelly is great too, at There's good music reviews at

What does a zine good?-Good writing. Second would be subject matter I suppose. Design and photography next.

Is there any bigger labels who have phoned you, wrote to you or something like that?-Sure, all the time, but I am waiting for the right small label to call. An outsider like me gets lost in the shuffle when a label has too many "important" artists. I'd rather work within a tighter budget and get good service than get a fat check and be forgotten when the next "big" record comes out.

How did you came in contact with Chuck Prophet?-Our mutual friend Vudi (American Music Club, Clovis de la Foret) introduced us at a Swingin' Doors show about 10 years ago. Later, when I went solo, I invited Chuck to play on some demos. He's been on every demo since then, and now Glow, and he's part of the live show when schedules permit. Maybe we'll come to Sweden.

What is the most peculiar review you have got on your records? -In the French magazine Le Cri du Coyote, Bernard Boyat wrote about the Swingin' Doors "un ensemble leger et fruite, avec quelques aromes acidules." And these other wine analogies. It was just so french.

Do you care about reviews?-Of course! People read that stuff. Sometimes that's the only thing they know about you, just a review here and there.

What are your future plans with your life? -My hope for the future is to evolve.

Which are your future plans with the music?-I want to play a lot of shows this year, go out on a couple tours maybe. Maybe do some collaberative songwriting for the next record.

Wisdomword?-If you think about all the people who have come before us, and all those who have yet to be born, it's amazing that we are the few that happen to be here right now. Think of the odds of that.

Something more to add?
-Thanks for checking in with me. And keep on truckin. - Skrutt Magazine (Sweden)

"New Wave Goes to the Country"

Swingin’ Doors
Unhinged, Swingin’ Doors CD SD51795, 1995 (31:18)

New wave goes to the country

It’s a dumb truism, but so much of popular vocal music is simply in the voice. You either take to a singer’s sound or not, and usually there’s not much to be done about it. For example, as much as I admire, and even enjoy, Neil Young’s music, his voice–on its own–just rubs me the wrong way.

Swingin’ Doors has two lead singers and songwriters. And one of them–Jenifer McKitrick–could sing the phone book in her sour plum voice and I’d listen. To my ears, it’s an instantly memorable voice. The other, Dwight Been, has a pleasant laid back countyish baritone, but lacks an edge, a beat, a something that would make it stick in my ear. The songs on Unhinged are pretty evenly divided between McKitrick and Been so, for me, it’s a fifty/fifty album.

The band is a talented quartet with a sound that mixes country folk instrumentation with new wave songs. The songs are about, yes, love and not surprisingly the best one leads off. McKitrick’s "Jaco" tells the story of a self-centered bass player. It’s a nicely-structured song, with a relaxed lilt to the beat, perfect for jukebox play in the variety of sound it manages to achieve in just over three minutes. There are some telling lines, such as "you looked so good but you lived so bad/your bass guitar is all you ever had." Stephanie Lee’s melancholy violin nicely counterpoints McKitrick’s fuzz-box Telecaster on the bridge, whose lyrics suggest that only in heaven will the two lovers both get what they need.

Then, up comes Been’s "So Pretty So Fast," where his low-key vocal fits the droll pick-up song ("I’m new to this city/darlin’ can I ask/how’d you get so pretty so fast?") Of the remaining songs, McKitrick again gets the nod in my book, with songs that have sharp lyrics and melodies that take unexpected turns. "Homeless" uses homelessness as an analogy for unrequited love. "I Came Down" has a riff reminiscent of Edie Brickell’s never-live-it-down hit, "What I Am" as part of an interesting episodic (not your standard ABA or AABA) melody line. "Offer Me the World" acknowledges "it’s a lie anyway."

Been’s songs, like his singing, are more straightforward. You can figure out "You’re Just Her Tattoo" from its title. Of "On and On," my five-year-old daughter said "that was a cowboy song." Yep, sure was, honey.

Finally, a gentle countryish take on Blondie’s "Dreaming," with McKitrick again up front, closes the album sweetly. Fun stuff from a good band with real potential. I hope to hear from them again.– Glenn Brooks


Jenifer McKitrick, vocals, Telecaster guitar; Dwight Been, vocals, acoustic guitar; Diane Glaub, drums; Stephanie Lee, bass, violin, background vocals.


Produced by Swingin’ Doors. Recorded and mixed by Kyle Statham, and by David Bell and Stephanie Lee.

song titles

Jaco • So Pretty So Fast • Homeless • I Came Down • You’re Just Her Tattoo • Offer Me the World • One Eye Love • On and On • Your Word Against Mine • Dreaming - Jelly Magazine

"Jenifer McKitrick Glow"

Jenifer McKitrick
Jenifer McKitrick’s self-produced, self-released CD, Glow is full of bluesy rock songs that feel of stale beer and cigarette smoke. These are the kinds of songs that Melissa Etheridge used to sing. She is neither afraid to lay down some hard licks or sound like a girl. The combination of gritty guitars, roots sensibility, and thoughtful lyrics make Glow a very nice album.
-Phil Bailey - Ink 19


Swingin' Doors unhinged Wow! Swingin' Doors rule! Unhinged is the self-released debut from this four piece alterna-twang combo. Guitarist/vocalist Jenifer McKitrick and Dwight Been take turns singing and songwriting. They met at Kent State (yes, that Kent State) but are now based in San Francisco. Unhinged kicks off with the backbeat of McKitrick’s Jaco, a song about a friends decline. While the first 20 seconds of the song are a near carbon copy of She's a Runaway from the Bodeans’ debut, they do Sammy and Co. proud. As a rule, her contributions evoke more contemporary images of relationships gone wrong then Been’s, opening with the line “I won't forget the way you kissed my cheek when I told you I had written you a song”, (“Homeless”) McKitrick endears herself to the listener as she wears the proverbial heart on her sleeve, and she transforms Blondie’s “Dreaming” into a loping countrified ode to confusion and identity crisis. Been proves himself equally adept at conveying loneliness and yearning; (“So Pretty so Fast”, “On and On”) and heartbreak (“Your Word Against Mine “). At first listen to “You’re Just Her Tattoo” suggests a classic honky tonk heartbreaker. Lyrically, though, the singer is the victor. He's won her affection, but his delivery belies the confident words, while his one and 1/5 minute ditty “One Eye Love” may reel you in with its catchy cleverness, it’s his more traditional numbers that rank him as a top-notch songwriter-performer. it's only a matter of time before labels start knockin’ on them swingin’ doors (if they aren't already). A band this good can't remain a best-kept secret for long.
-Brian Libbey - The Glass Eye Magazine

"Top Records of 1995"

From East Bay Express, “Top Records of 1995”. December 1995 issue.
Swingin' Doors is an alternative country band with multiple personality disorder and they wouldn't have it any other way. Acoustic guitarist Dwight Been sings his quirky, sometimes hilarious love songs in polished Nashville style, putting the moves on a sweet young thang in “So Pretty So Fast” and winking into his gal’s single limpid pool in the rousing “One Eye Love”. But behind the swinging door stands electric guitarist Jenifer McKitrick, singing her own new wave twang songs from h”Homeless”, which sounds like an imaginary jam between 10,000 Maniacs and the Crystals, to the honky tonk acid rock number “I Came Down”. Her sultry barroom cover of Blondie’s “Dreaming” is pretty keen too. Been’s ironic trad twang, McKitrick’s flash and multiple tabs of acid rock, and bassist Stephanie Lee's gypsy fiddle playing may not be the future of country music, but it should be.
-Sam Hewitt - East Bay Express


With Bands:
The Bettys- Music Saved My Soul 1982
The Swingin' Doors-unhinged 1995
The Swingin' Doors- Swingin' (Live Covers) 2021
The Swingin' Doors- Live at the Bottom of the Hill-2022
The Outskirts- Garage A Trois-2021

Glow-2001 (produced by Sandy Pearlman)
*Digitosis- will be released 08/30/2022

*Road Call- will be released 12/01/ 2022



As a snot-nosed teenager, McKitrick’s first band, the Bettys, emerged from the fertile Kent/Akron(OH) music scene of the early 80's, along with such acts as Devo, Tin Huey, and The Waitresses. After amusing Ohio audiences and critics for awhile, she moved to Cape Cod, enjoying the beach by day, and honing her stage chops by night.
She then headed to San Francisco, formed the Swingin Doors, with old college friends, and recorded Unhinged, selected by the East Bay Express as one the year’s top 5 records. She caught the attention of legendary producer Sandy Pearlman who got her a demo deal with Warner Bros. Records. He brought that demo to eMusic (formerly GoodNoise), who signed her, and sent her to the studio with Sandy Pearlman, where they spent 9 months crafting the Glow album. The new album, Glow, is a collection of 11 of Jenifers original tunes performed by a dream team of local talent, including Chuck Prophet, Katharine Chase, (Penelope Houston), Tony Marsico (Bob Dylan, Matthew Sweet), and Dawn Richardson (4 Non-Blondes) Stephanie Lee, and Chris von Sneidern (dBs, the Sneetches). It is as powerful today as it was n 2001.
She is now in Ohio reworking older unreleased material and composing new works. Her new album, Road Call, is set to drop December 2022. This album is a collection of archived unreleased material (featuring artists Chuck Prophet, Dawn Richardson from 4 non-blondes, grammy nominee Katharine Cole, and Vudi from American Music Club, and new songs recorded entirely by Jenifer during the pandemic. She is returning to California this summer to do a one year job as an education specialist, because sometimes we just have to take a day job to pay the bills.

Band Members