Welcome to the world of New York musician Nellie McKay; where too classic simply means too good for the times. The irony is that McKay’s music is all about the times; with lyrics crossing the strange boundaries of political ugliness into sweet piano riffs that are at times soft and reminiscent of show tunes. Nellie’s musical bag seems itself to be a sarcastic stage where hot, politically incorrect topics become marionettes dancing on the same platform as cutesy animals, feminism, love and fashion. And it is a twisted show, a full blown massacre of the puppet world; single handedly orchestrated by McKay herself.
Single handedly orchestrated is no understatement for this woman. Her first album Get Away From Me was the first double disk album put out by a woman as a debut. At the time Nellie was signed with Columbia/ Sony Records who supposedly refused to finish the album- causing Nellie to dump 25,000 of her own money into its production. If that’s not enough to impress you, her third album Obligatory Villagers credits McKay herself with writing all the music for the album including the piano, horns, percussion section, guitar, banjo etc. and was produced by Nellie’s own label Hungry Mouse.
McKay’s lyrics are jarring, often funny, incisions into the face of contemporary misconduct. In her music and life, McKay is an outspoken animal rights activist and feminist. Her latest album Normal as Blueberry Pie is a musical tribute to Doris Day; one of Nellie’s personal idols. Says McKay of her mission: “There are many ways to be an activist. The people most in need of Doris Day are the cynics; she’s such a breath of fresh air.”