Lori McKenna is country music’s knight in shining armor. She is a wonderfully profound country music and Americana singer-songwriter and is known for being a key songwriter for some of country music’s biggest names. McKenna is known for Tim McGraw’s “Humble and Kind,” Little Big Town’s “Girl Crush,” A Star is Born’s “Always Remember Us This Way” and many more.
Balladeer is McKenna’s eleventh solo project and is a perfectly-crafted assemblage of personal characterizations and dizzying, prestigious lyrics — a skill McKenna does best. It’s the product of McKenna’s experience as a wife, a mother and a daughter. McKenna is “The Balladeer” of this record. The project presents itself in a 10-track display, seven of which the singer-songwriter wrote solo. The other three were written in collaboration with Liz Rose and Hillary Lindsey. The dynamic trio are known as the Love Junkies.
The first single released “When You’re My Age” hosts Rose’s and Lindsey’s backing vocals in addition to McKenna’s, touching on the knowledge and sensibility that parenthood brings. It’s a poignant letter to her children and generations to come hoping that the future brings kindness and love.
The project sees other guest hosts, such as Karen Fairchild and Kimberly Schlapman from Little Big Town on the album’s opener track “This Town Is A Woman.” She personifies the town as a woman singing: “She has a rough side where she buries all the scars,” and its searing refrain, “You memorize her every curve // She took you in and gave you nurse // She whispered all those dreams in your ear // But if she can’t make those dreams come true // She knows you’ll leave because they always do // She’ll wish you well and wait for you right here.”
“Marie” is McKenna’s intimate, personal take on losing her mother at the mere age of seven. “Stuck In High School” depicts already living out your best days and still wearing your rose-colored glasses as you get older. “Uphill,” on the other hand, is a relatable testament to being somebody’s confidant.
A lot of the inspiration behind The Balladeer is drawn from the songstress’ experience as a wife and a mother. She is a woman in her 50s with five kids who also takes care of her 85-year old father who lives down the street from her. Mainstream music likes to present itself through youth, but this singer-songwriter cancels that.
McKenna shared on her Instagram page, “So excited that my new record, The Balladeer, is finally out there in the world. Here she is in all her grace and rough patches, all her rights and done-me-wrongs. Huge love and thanks to everyone who made this music happen. Thank you for indulging me, yet again. And thank you to everyone out there who takes a moment to listen, I appreciate you more than you will ever know. #TheBalladeer.”
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So excited that my new record, The Balladeer, is finally out there in the world. Here she is in all her grace and rough patches, all her rights and done-me-wrongs. Huge love and thanks to everyone who made this music happen. Thank you for indulging me, yet again. And thank you to everyone out there who takes a moment to listen, I appreciate you more than you will ever know. #TheBalladeer
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