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Music Review: Anne McCue – Broken Promise Land

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One of Australia’s best-kept secrets is now living in Nashville, Tennessee.

Anne McCue was born into a musical family just outside of Sydney, Australia. After graduating from college she served tenure as the guitarist for The Girl Monsters, an all-female rock band that rose to the top of the Indy scene in her native country. By the early 2000’s McCue had moved to Southern California and released two well received country/rock albums, Roll (2004) and Koala Motel (2006). She later moved to Nashville to take advantage of the musical atmosphere there.

McCue may now live in the country music capital of the world but her new album, Broken Promise Land, is far removed from a country sound. What it does contain is straightforward, in-your-face rock ‘n’ roll, fueled by a woman who can play the guitar as well, if not better, than most of her male counterparts. She not only writes most of her material but is also able to improvise during the songs in a manner that would have made Jimi Hendrix proud.

For the album, she has wisely surrounded herself with a veteran rock rhythm section. Bones Hillman of Midnight Oil and drummer Ken Coomer of Uncle Tupelo/Wilco lay down a solid foundation upon which she builds her guitar sound. While some tracks add a second guitarist and some brass at times, I can’t help but think it is within the structure of a basic power trio that she is at her best. The focus there is upon her vocals and guitar, which is where it should be.

She rocks right out of the gate as “Don’t Go to Texas (Without Me)” is a throwback hard rocker in the same vein as Hendrix or The Yardbirds. Songs such as “Rock ‘n’ Roll Outlaw” and the title track continue to develop her tough girl persona.

“Ol’ Black Sky,” “Cruisin’ Paradise,” “Motorcycle Dream,” and “Lonesome Child” all harp back to the roots of rock as they pass through the Louisiana bayous and some musty blues lounges. Through it all her high-octane vocal just passes the lyrics along.

Broken Promise Land is a strong outing for Anne McCue as she seems to have found her niche. So grab a copy of her new album, put on your head phones, and turn the sound on your stereo up real loud.

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