Album: Erin McKeown, Hundreds of Lions (Righteous Babe)

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Ani DiFranco's label is a suitable resort for a spirit as independent as McKeown's.

Here be not only lions but a dedicated will to dispense with the entrenched idioms of US singer-songwriterism. The songs themselves are discursive and self-revealing only by implication and their electro- acoustic arrangements group around McKeown's soft voice with formalistic care, as if posing for family photographs. The melodies are careful too, the tempos moderate, the vibe self-consciously communitarian. Here be piggies as well as lions.