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Unglamorous

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All Music Guide - Jason Birchmeier
Unglamorous marks a new stage in the career of Lori McKenna, a gifted contemporary singer/songwriter from Massachusetts who makes her major-label debut here. Her previous releases -- Paper Wings and Halo 2000, Pieces of Me 2001, The Kitchen Tapes 2003, and Bittertown 2004 -- were spare, masterfully written, and sometimes painfully intimate. It was easy to envision McKenna sitting at home alone -- her husband away at work and her kids safely at school -- writing songs at her kitchen table with her acoustic guitar in hand, recording her music onto blank cassettes as a ticking clock fills the quiet between songs. The Kitchen Tapes romanticized this notion, its cover ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Jason Birchmeier
Unglamorous marks a new stage in the career of Lori McKenna, a gifted contemporary singer/songwriter from Massachusetts who makes her major-label debut here. Her previous releases -- Paper Wings and Halo 2000, Pieces of Me 2001, The Kitchen Tapes 2003, and Bittertown 2004 -- were spare, masterfully written, and sometimes painfully intimate. It was easy to envision McKenna sitting at home alone -- her husband away at work and her kids safely at school -- writing songs at her kitchen table with her acoustic guitar in hand, recording her music onto blank cassettes as a ticking clock fills the quiet between songs. The Kitchen Tapes romanticized this notion, its cover featuring a drawing of a kitchen table with a cassette lying upon it, a wooden chair pulled out from the spot at which McKenna presumably had been sitting, unassuming tiles dotting the floor. "Recorded by Lori McKenna", a back-cover credit reads, while a stark cover of Radiohead's "Fake Plastic Trees" signals her knowingness. Songs like "Bible Song," "One Man," and "Stealing Kisses," each from Bittertown, wonderfully showcase her gift for turning domestic small-town quietude into a kind of poetry, one marked by serenity as well as melancholy. It's pretty powerful music, especially if you can relate to the characters in her songs, the faceless towns those characters embody, or perhaps even McKenna herself. Evidently, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill were among those moved by her music, because they brought her into their fold. Hill's Fireflies 2005 included three of McKenna's songs, one of them the title track. The superstar country duo also took McKenna on tour as their opening act, and McGraw even went so far as to produce Unglamorous with his longtime studio hand, Byron Gallimore. Hence the major-label contract with Warner Brothers. McKenna embraces her shot at the big-time here, as Unglamorous is a world apart from The Kitchen Tapes. The production is full, bright, and punchy, with a full-band backing. A rocking wah-wah guitar solo even pops up on "Witness to Your Life." This turn away from lo-fi folk music and toward contemporary country sheen isn't necessarily bad in and of itself; in fact, it's tastefully done here on Unglamorous, to the credit of McGraw and Gallimore as well as McKenna, who sounds comfortable. And while Unglamorous is McKenna's first album to feature co-writers, among them Nashville pro Liz Rose, who contributed to the standout title track, the songs here are thankfully characteristic of the Massachusetts mom's past work. Still, as tastefully produced and characteristically well-written as Unglamorous may be, fans of McKenna's past albums are likely to be disappointed by the result. The soul-baring of Bittertown, the nakedness of The Kitchen Tapes, the intimacy of Pieces of Me -- it's difficult to find those qualities in these dressed-up performances. On the other hand, fans of McGraw and especially Hill who both show up here as harmony vocalists will likely fall head over heals for Unglamorous. Though it lacks their star power and radio-ready hooks, it offers instead songs that are written and sung with a heartfelt authenticity neither McGraw nor Hill can rival. [Warner Bros released a bonus CD edition in 2007 as well.]
Entertainment Weekly - Chris Willman
[Faith Hill and Tim McGraw] produced this leap to the majors, with a beefed-up, full-band sound and some brighter themes that suggest a more emotionally direct Shawn Colvin. [A-]
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 8/14/2007
  • Label: Warner Bros / Wea
  • UPC: 093624429920
  • Catalog Number: 44299

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 I Know You (3:57)
  2. 2 Unglamorous (4:12)
  3. 3 Your Next Lover (4:28)
  4. 4 I'm Not Crazy (4:18)
  5. 5 Falter (4:49)
  6. 6 Witness to Your Life (3:31)
  7. 7 Drinkin' Problem (4:00)
  8. 8 How to Survive (4:37)
  9. 9 Written Permission (4:08)
  10. 10 Confetti (4:01)
  11. 11 Leaving This Life (4:53)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Lori McKenna Primary Artist, Acoustic Guitar
Kelly Willis Background Vocals
Tim McGraw Background Vocals
David Angell Violin
Greg Barnhill Background Vocals
Bekka Bramlett Background Vocals
John Catchings Cello
David Davidson Violin
Dan Dugmore Dobro, Steel Guitar
Stuart Duncan Fiddle
Shannon Forrest Drums
Byron Gallimore Synthesizer, Background Vocals
Tony Harrell Organ, Synthesizer, Piano, Harmonium, Wurlitzer
Darrell Scott Acoustic Guitar, Mandolin
Kristin Wilkinson Viola
Glenn Worf Bass
Bryan Sutton Acoustic Guitar
Tom Bukovac Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar
Technical Credits
Tim McGraw Producer, Audio Production
Byron Gallimore Producer, Audio Production
Julian King Engineer
Stephen Walker Art Direction
Kristin Wilkinson String Arrangements
Brian Avnet Management
Amos Newman Management
Erik Lutkins Engineer, Digital Editing
Lori McKenna Composer
Adam Ayan Mastering
Jesse Chrisman Engineer, Digital Editing
Sara Lesher Engineer, Digital Editing
Fred Wilhelm Composer
Liz Rose Composer
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Loved it!

    I loved this album. It is a great mix of upbeat and touching music that brings tears to your eyes. I can not get the songs "Unglamorous" or "Witness to your Life" out of my head!

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