Broken Promise Land

Anne McCue

Flying Machine Records, 2010

REVIEW BY: David Bowling


One of Australia’s best kept secrets is now living in Nashville, Tennessee.

Anne McCue was born into a musical family just outside of Sydney, Australia. After graduating from college, she served tenure as the guitarist for the all-female rock band The Girl Monsters, who rose to the top of the indie scene in her native country. By the early 2000’s, she had moved to Southern California and released two well-received country/rock albums, my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Roll (2004) and Koala Motel (2006). Several years ago, she moved to Nashville to take advantage of the musical atmosphere there.

McCue may now live in the country capital of the world, but her new album, Broken Promise Land, is far removed from a country sound. What it does contain is straightforward, in-your-face rock ‘n’ roll, fueled by a woman who can play the guitar as well – if not better – than most of her male counterparts. She not only writes most of her material but is able to improvise during the songs in a manner that would make Jimi Hendrix proud.

McCue has wisely surrounded herself with a veteran rock rhythm section on this album. Bones Hillman of Midnight Oil and drummer Ken Coomer of Uncle Tupelo/Wilco lay down a solid foundation upon which she builds her guitar sound. While some tracks add a second guitarist to fill out the sound and there is some brass included in places, I can’t help but think that it is within the structure of a basic power trio that she is at her best. The focus there is upon her vocals and guitar, which is right where it should be.

She rocks right out of the gate as “Don’t Go to Texas (Without Me)” is a throwback hard rocker in the same vein as Hendrix or The Yardbirds. Tracks such as “Rock ‘N’ Roll Outlaw” and the title cut continue to develop her tough girl sound.

“Ol’ Black Sky,” “Cruisin’ Paradise,” “Motorcycle Dream,” and “Lonesome Child” all harp back to the roots of rock as they pass through the Louisiana bayous and some musty blues lounges. Through it all, her high octane vocal carries the lyrics along.

Broken Promise Land is a strong outing for Anne McCue, and she seems to have found her niche. So grab a copy of her new album, put on your head phones, and turn the sound on your stereo system up real loud.

Rating: A-

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