Since her audacious double��album debut Get Away From Me, Nellie McKay has been a creative dynamo, releasing Pretty Little Head and Obligatory Villagers, making her Broadway debut (as Polly Peachum in The Threepenny Opera), performing onscreen (in PS I Love You) and currently writing music and lyrics for the premiere production of Election: The Musical.
Since her emergence on the scene, McKay has been known as an outspoken and fierce advocate for animal rights, feminism, civil rights and other deeply felt progressive ideals. But at first glance the choice of material on Normal as Blueberry Pie is devoid of pointed statements. However, as McKay notes, “There are so many ways to be an advocate.” And while the messages are subtle, they’re certainly present. “The people most in need of Doris Day are the cynics,” McKay observes. “She’s such a breath of fresh air.”
McKay also scoffs at the notion that offering an album of faithfully rendered selections from the Great American Songbook means that she’s lost her edge. There’s nothing wrong with beauty, she asserts.
“I’d love it to be a kind of lullaby,” she says. “I don’t mind if people fall asleep to this record because it’s very hard to fall asleep sometimes. We’re so over��stimulated. You don’t want to have to work yourself to exhaustion. You don’t want to have to take some pharmaceutical
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Doris Day is an emblem of sunshine, communion with nature and animals, and common civility… In a time when cynicism rules, her eager humanity is ever more precious… �� Nellie McKay, The New York Times Book Review
Ms. McKay, whose voice is blithe and supple, is a Doris Day fan, but a knowing one, well aware of the distance from Ms. Day’s era to ours. There’s yearning, wryness, and ingenuity in her arrangements. �� Jon Pareles, The New York Times
Thanks to (McKay), the Great American Songbook has a living, breathing present as well as a glorious past. �� Joan Anderman, The Boston Globe