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If you’ve never experienced Nellie McKay’s wild musical world, you’re in for a treat. For a lot of us, each time we hear Nellie, it can feel like the first time.

At an early stage of her musical evolution, Nellie had opened for Sting and Lou Reed, and released a double album on Columbia Records. She is consistently one of the most adventurous artists, who seems to find creative energy in her own ability to seamlessly change gears.

Nellie first appeared on Mountain Stage in 2004 behind the aforementioned double-disc debut, “Get Away from Me,” and she has become a regular guest on the show often working with the Mountain Stage house band, as she does in this, her eighth, visit.

Here, Nellie narrows her focus a bit, choosing to perform classics from the American songbook and jazz standards including “Accentuate the Positive,” a neo-psychedelic version of “Willow Weep For Me,” and a trio of Hoagy Carmichael tunes; “Lazybones,” “Georgia on my Mind,” and “The Nearness of You.”

Not to be pigeon-holed, she also puts her slightly tongue-in-cheek spin on Roger Miller’s “King of the Road” and Loretta Lynn’s “One’s on the Way.” Her sparse, tender take on “Rockabye” wasn’t included in the radio broadcast.

For most of these songs, Nellie stayed at the piano and was joined by the Mountain Stage house band, moving to ukulele (and harmonica) for the gorgeous and fragile “Lazybones.” 

McKay has performances scheduled on both coasts in the winter and spring of 2019.

Set list:

  • “Small Day Tomorrow”
  • “Accentuate the Positive”
  • “Rockabye”
  • “One’s on the Way”
  • “Willow Weep for Me”
  • “The Nearness of You”
  • “King of the Road”
  • “Lazybones”
  • “Georgia on My Mind”

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sources: Business news from npr.org