Lori McKenna to Release New Album in January
Singer-songwriter Lori McKenna's name can be found on a lot more albums than just her own. Faith Hill covered Lori's 'Stealing Kisses,' 'If You Ask' and 'Fireflies' for Faith's album of the same name. Tim McGraw recorded her tune, 'I'm Workin',' and Lori's 'Bible Song' is found on Sara Evans' album, 'Real Fine Place.' The wife and mother of five will release her sixth album, 'Lorraine,' on January 25, 2011.
Although, when Lori hit the studio, recording another full-length album wasn't the plan. "Barry Dean produced this record for me," she tells the 9513. "We started in January of this year. Originally, the idea was that I would make an EP: just a handful of songs. We made an eight song EP; we picked songs that weren't very specific. Some of them were still personal, but they didn't have a lot of specifics in them. The idea was to pitch the EP for film and TV. You could have a song in a TV show, but it needs to have a bit of a general sense to it that everyone can paint their own picture with it."
But then things evolved. "As time went on, every now and then we would write a song, or I'd have a song and ask Barry to help me record it," Lori explains. "It just got to the point where by the spring, I was really itching to make a record. Before that, I didn't want to spend all this time and honestly, the money, and make something that I didn't know I was ready to make. After 'Bittertown' and then 'Unglamorous,' I didn't want to take a step backwards or sideways. I wanted to continue to grow like I felt I had on those two records."
The Massachusetts native wrote a good number of the record's songs on the piano, an instrument she explains she can only write on ... but can't actually play. "'If He Tried' and 'The Most' I wrote with Barry, but I started that on the piano," Lori explains. "A lot of times, I'll start something on the piano, then I'll call Barry and say I have this song and I need your help. 'That's How You Know' was also written on the piano. 'Rocket Science' is another one, but that's Tom Douglas' song [laughs]. I was writing with him at Universal one day and I said I want to write a song about how love really is like rocket science. He just sat down and sang me that whole chorus the way it is, so that was Tom's doing."
Her writing style can also be a little unconventional, as it was with the tune 'Buy This Town.' "I started it in my van," Lori admits. "I was driving my kids to school. I live in a town I have lived in my whole life, and I drive through the center of town up to ten times a day, dropping off kids and picking up kids and all that stuff. That song just literally popped in my head at 7:30 in the morning when I was dropping them off at the high school."
Other songs such as 'Still Down Here' have a more personal meaning. "That song was written for my sister-in-law Nancy who did the photos for the record," she explains. "She passed away last winter and I had most of those words and a really bad melody to go along with it. Barry knew Nancy. She was 46, I think, when we lost her. She had cancer. She was a big part of all of our lives. So I had all these words about it and Barry had that melody. I didn't write a lick of that melody, but I think it's one of the most beautiful melodies I've ever heard. He just took these words I had and fit them in."
Read the full 9513 interview with Lori here.