BY LEE ZIMMERMAN
It’s either a sign of respect for one’s forebears or evidence that modern music is simply running out of ideas, but either way, it’s clear that for many musicians, the obvious goal is to return to their roots. Or anyone else’s for that matter. Take Anne McCue for example. While she has a hand in writing every one of the dozen songs on her fanciful new album, any one of those tracks might just as easily have originated in the ‘20s, ‘30s or ‘40s. McCue employs a kind of ragtime revelry, an approach that involves sax, trumpet, trombone, clarinet, violin, accordion, double bass and a carefree ambiance overall.
Both the mood and the music lend themselves to imagery involving booze, bravado and bordellos, but McCue’s perky attitude and the colorful paintings that adorn the album’s cover suggest more of a mischievous intent. A lyric like “Mama don’t rock/Daddy don’t roll/Devil’s in the middle/And he wants your soul” is about as dark as she gets. Still, she can be testy at times; for example, “It Wasn’t Fun While It Lasted” finds her mercilessly lambasting a lame-ass lover. Mostly though, she seems happy simply indulging her frivolity, as evidenced by such tracks as “Little White Cat,” “Dig Two Graves” and “Save a Life.” Consider Blue Sky Thinkin’ a thoughtful mix of sass and brass.
DOWNLOAD: “Dig Two Graves,” “It Wasn’t Fun While It Lasted,” “Devil’s in the Middle”