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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 11, 2004)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Signature Sounds
  • ASIN: B0001Z4PGE
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #147,306 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Bible Song
2. Mr. Sunshine
3. One Man
4. Pour
5. Lone Star
6. Stealing Kisses
7. If You Ask
8. Monday Afternoon
9. The Ledge
10. My Sweetheart
11. Cowardly Lion
12. Silver Bus
13. One Kiss Goodnight

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

This songwriter and mother of four, who lives a stones throw from the town she grew up in, doesn't fit into any stereotype. She's garnered comparisons to Lucinda Williams, Bruce Springsteen, Dashboard Confessional, and Roseanne Cash. Her songs, as solid as Georgia oak, are played and sung with an emotional grit under the nails that comes from digging in life's mundane and less illuminated holes. These songs grab you with Lori's signature strident, soulful, and unapologetic vocals sharing earnest observations and stories of growing up and growing old, of loves and losses, winners and losers, guns and god, and drinkers and dreamers in a town that is resting uncomfortably between its blue collar roots and modern suburbia. Incapable of artifice, Lori McKenna speaks of the bitter and the sweet, but doesn't simply write songs, she documents her life, and in turn ours, in word and melody. Meet Lori McKenna and welcome to Bittertown


"No songwriter today is more uncompromisingly, even harrowingly intimate than Lori McKenna". -- Boston Globe

Customer Reviews

Each time I listen I like it more and more.
Emotions are conveyed intimately and harrowingly with a warm and very beautifully real voice, with her special twist and modulation.
Unborn Awakened
"Stealing Kisses" plays like a prequel to John Prines classic "Angel From Montgomery."
Faithless Street

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By twoodburn on September 9, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Four words: Album of the Year. Why this artist is still under the radar is beyond me. Maybe raising 5 kids while you are a recording/touring musician creates some logistical difficulties. "Bittertown" is nearly flawless. Kudos to the fine team of musicians and producer, Lorne Entress. Anyone with a love of Lucy Kaplansky, Roseanne Cash, Nanci Griffith, Lucinda Williams should FLIP over this album. Lori sings and plays as if this is her last chance to record an album. Solid songcraft, subtle and rich dynamics and the upbeat rockin' songs leave everything out there, no holding back. I can only hope more people hear this album and discover the pure genius of Lori McKenna's work. 5 BIG stars for this one.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Lee Armstrong HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 14, 2004
Format: Audio CD
"Paper Wings & Halos" was a CD I found at a bargain basement price in a used bin. It was a revelation, amazing for its purity and sweetness. "Bittertown," as might be expected from the title, is a darker view, but elegant and still sweet with McKenna's melodic originality that puts her in a class with Lucinda Williams & Iris DeMent. Three of the tracks are my very favorites. "Just because you lie in his bed don't mean you mean the things you said; they marry young in these parts; they work the factory," she sings on "Bible Song" with a powerful vocal. This is a classic track. "Mr. Sunshine" is another of my favorites. Lori's alto is strong like Nanci Griffith's and wraps itself around the lyric, "You scare me more than the hard times; I know they're coming around again." "Pour" is another stellar track, more simplified in arrangement with Kevin Barry's lap steel guitar milking the country, "I don't know where my lover went, but I know he took the rent." All of the tracks on this set are consistently strong. McKenna's voice is riveting, her songwriting is stark and original, and the band backs her up like a fond embrace. This is best of the year quality. Bravo!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By P. McDermott on August 8, 2004
Format: Audio CD
I enjoy reading other people's reviews of CDs and will often buy a CD based on a good review or a series of comments, but I rarely review CDs myself. I am really surprised to see the lack of reviews for this CD. Simply put, this is one of the best CDs of the past several years. I listen to a lot of Female singers, from the country-folk-alt-rock genre - I'm pretty sure I've tried them all - and Lori is my favorite.

And Bittertown is her best effort yet, a collection with great lyrics, imagery and mood, backed with equally impressive instrumentation and melodies. Dare I say Electic Nebraska! Best tracks include Lone Star, If You Ask, Monday Afternoon, Bible Song, One Kiss Goodnight and a few others....heck there are two only two weak tracks for my money. As an aside I have bought several copies for friends, something I rarely do since musical preferences are very personal.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By mikka12 on January 2, 2006
Format: Audio CD
I just happened to catch Oprah with Faith Hill very recently. Lori was also on the show, as Faith Hill had apparently decided to use some of Lori's songs in her new album. The show featured Lori singing part of "Ruby's Shoes" (song not on this album but also great). I was so moved by her lyrics and voice and decided I would Google her. That is how I came upon her most recent album. I was very surprised to see that she had released several albums in the past. Oprah gave the impression that she was a stay-at-home mom/songwriter who occasionally popped into clubs to test out her lyrics. Anyway, I was ecstatic to find that she had released music. Her voice is so heartfelt and so much more fitting to her lyrics than Faith Hill, whose voice is just too pop-py and pretentious for me. I never write reviews but felt obligated in this case as so few people have done so. Highly recommended!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By RScott on November 9, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Typical reviews focus on her small town, simple life experience or compare her to a variety of established artists. While she clearly connects with people at this level, she is much, much more.

Her lyrics do not say much on paper. But hear her sing them and they come alive. The tunes grab you and her voice, singing and personality cut through to the core.

Stylistically these songs vary echoing some early folk with touches of country and rock. The music is clearly contemporary yet brings back memories of music from long before she was born.

What unites the best, and that includes most of the songs on this album, is the combination of beautiful songs with a riveting performance. She plays with the rhythms, pushing to the edge but never falling. The songs are free of the sentimentality that plagues country notwithstanding subjects that sometimes risk this. Her singing is feisty with hints of anger that never cross over into self indulgence. Yet she touches the heart and at times is irresistible in the way best pop is.

The production is interesting. At times it appears a little too rough though better this than Nashville slick. Her voice, which with her singing is the best part of this fine album, is often too far back. One has to focus too hard at times to hear her. The recording of her voice also seems to have been overly compressed. One can only hope for a better recording and even an SACD to really bring out her very special voice.

In the end comparing her to other singer-songwriters misses the point. She is an irresistible original blending a variety of influences into unique songs delivered with real personality and beauty.
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