Album Review: Lori McKenna — Heart Shaped Bullet Hole
Lori McKenna doesn’t write so much as lay open a vein with each new lyric. It’s the reason A-list artists like Faith Hill, Keith Urban, and, on the bluegrass side, Alison Krauss, record her songs. New digital-only EP, Heart Shaped Bullet Hole, a follow up to last year’s excellent Lorraine, finds the Massachusetts-based singer-songwriter navigating the rocky landscape of long-term relationships.
“Whiskey and Chewing Gum,” co-written with Troy Verges (I Would’ve Loved You Anyway,” “Backseat of a Greyhound Bus”), ranks among McKenna’s strongest songwriting—and singing–work to date, as she works her way through a number of apt similes, including “Some love’s like chewing gum: it tastes good when it’s new/But it don’t take long until it’s tired and it’s tasteless to you/Like motions you don’t feel, but you learn to close your eyes and just go through.”
The rocking title track, “Heart Shaped Bullet Hole,” with its electric guitars and thumping percussion, is a hard-edged contrast to the plaintive folk-pop that makes up the rest of the six-song album. It feels slightly out of place sandwiched between soft ballads “No Hard Feelings” and “This and the Next Life,” but it’s a well-sung, well-written song, and it’s easy to imagine a mainstream country spitfire like Miranda Lambert finding commercial success with it.
There isn’t a skippable track to be found here, and if an album can have a backbone, it’s “Sometimes He Does,” a song depicting the ups and downs of a married life that’s well past the honeymoon phase. We all fall short and love can fail in gut-wrenching fashion. But it can be the smallest, rarest things—a whispered name, a note scrawled on scrap paper—that make the whole beautiful mess worth it.
- nm: Taylor Swift was on CSI once. Not only was Steve Earle on The Wire, in one episode Omar quoted him about …
- Barry Mazor: It's only a slight stretch to recall when Jimmy Dean met James Bond: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XbwDGtj84YY
- Arlene: I suspect you'll also be including an episode of L.A. Law....
- luckyoldsun: The Johnny Cash episode was the one Columbo case where you really felt "the b--- had it coming."
- A.B.: Janice - I saw that too and sent him a Tweet about it.
- Janice Brooks: Peter Cooper needs an edit. Stringbean did not die in 1964.
- Leeann: I can't contribute to this list, but I did think of Steve Earle and The Wire. It's not my …
- Jeremy Dylan: That was a great episode of Monk. The "Georgia On My Mind" scene is just heartbreaking.
- Juli Thanki: I think I'm the only person in the world who never got into "The Wire." Earle was on "SVU" a …
- Jack Williams: Steve Earle on The Wire.