McKeown charms with fanciful wordplay
If the Red Sox don't eke out a win tonight in Cleveland, it won't be because one of their biggest fans wasn't doing her part.
Erin McKeown made rooting for her home-away-from home team a running theme during her charming performance last night at Club Passim.
Early in the evening the Virginia native - who attended Brown and lived in Boston for a time - observed, "I detect a tiny bit of sadness in the room." And then she went on to profess her faith that "Manny will take us home."
McKeown's between song cheerleading and banter were nearly as entertaining as her potpourri of styles. Holding the gaze of everyone in the room with her wide open eyes and winning grin, McKeown wandered pleasantly from confessional singer-songwriter tunes to jazz-spiced pop to a kind of folk-cabaret mix.
When she wasn't revving up the jaunty, semiobscure Great American Songbook tunes of her early-2007 release "Sing You Sinners," she was digging into her own bag of unique and spirited originals.
From "Sinners" she reveled in Fats Wallers's hazy, lazy ode to marijuana "If You a Viper," winking through lyrics about the munchies and cottonmouth, then allowing her drummer and keyboardist to stretch out on some fuzzy freestyles. She skipped gaily through the silly and sweet "Rhode Island Is Famous for You" and swung hard on the strutting "I Was a Little Too Lonely (You Were a Little Too Late)."
Those songs are clearly a source of inspiration for her own fanciful phraseology. Whether proving adept at vaudevillian frivolity with her original yet old-timey "Melody" or lamenting a dissolving affair in the ultracontemporary "You Were Right about Everything," McKeown chooses her words with care.
McKeown had the crowd eating out of the palm of her hand all night, coaxing them into sing-longs or in the case of closer "La Petite Mort" shout-alongs without having to ask twice.
Whether the Sox win or not it seemed likely that McKeown's wish - that the Passim crowd be more lively than the Cleveland crowd she plays to next week - will come true.
McKeown plays Club Passim again tonight at 7.