Erin Mckeown Grand (Nettwerk) Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
East Coast folk-pop dynamo McKeown breaks out of her straightforward acoustic singer/songwriter shackles on her third album - the first for Canada-based Nettwerk - with marvellous results. Grand is an impeccably written genre-hopping treat, spanning sultry summertime beatniky jazz, adrenaline-rush new wave rockers and theatrical ballads, with nods to Motown soul. A musical prodigy who was a finalist in mid-Atlantic songwriting contests before turning 20, McKeown has a quirky voice and impressive guitar chops, but she displays a particularly affecting lyrical gift here, with an impressionistic way of turning a phrase that moves beyond traditional folk storytelling conventions. Grand indeed.