Lori McKenna is one of the musicians participating in the “Songwriters at Sea” Bermuda Cruise presented by Last Dance Productions.
From The Boston Globe Magazine Sunday, March 11, 2012
By Scott Hilman
She rests the acoustic guitar on her lap, the tuning pegs sparkling like jewels under the floodlights. Her eyes are shut. She rocks gently back and forth, listening. Soon it will be her turn to play. But Lori McKenna still can’t fully accept that she belongs here.
On this Friday night in late January, McKenna is sitting in a circle with three other songwriters at the center of the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville, a legendary storefront venue where, if you’re lucky, you might witness magic. The 100 or so people sitting in rapt silence wouldn’t trade their seats for anything.
“How did we get here?” McKenna says to Barry Dean, a friend, collaborator, and fellow performer at this songwriters’ round. “How did this happen?” She looks at the others in the circle – Nashville standouts Kim Carnes and Matraca Berg – and marvels at playing in their company. “I worship these people,” she says, and not in a whisper. Everyone can hear her.
Then McKenna wraps her slight frame around the guitar and begins to strum. Her distinctive voice, alternately soft and biting, fills the room, fills all of it, demanding attention. She is playing “Your Next Lover,” from her 2007 album, one of many arresting folk hymns straight from the great big beating heart of this Stoughton girl, who had five kids with the boy she met in third grade, honed her songwriting skills in the kitchen, found the courage to play gigs, and never looked back.
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