Recording information: Low Country Sound, Nashville, TN.
Illustrator: Evie Coates.
Photographer: Becky Fluke.
Fresh off a Grammy win for "Girl Crush," the country smash she co-wrote for country-pop stars Little Big Town, Boston native Lori McKenna returns to what she does best: writing high-quality, deeply personal songs for herself. Her career as a Nashville tunesmith has been on a roll with high-profile artists like Tim McGraw and Hunter Hayes scoring chart hits with McKenna-penned tracks, but her last three releases as a singer/songwriter feel most vital. For her tenth LP, 2016's The Bird & the Rifle, she enlisted Nashville maverick Dave Cobb, whose organic production leanings have translated into critically lauded successes for artists like Sturgill Simpson and Jason Isbell. Though an overall bigger production effort than her effectively spare 2014 album, Numbered Doors, The Bird & the Rifle is a warm, natural, and gloss-free record with a lot of heart that contains some of the best writing of her career. Among its many highlights are the bittersweet title cut, the easygoing "If Whiskey Were a Woman," and her own far more subtle reading of the lovely "Humble & Kind," a hit for Tim McGraw earlier in the year. It's another extremely strong effort for McKenna, whose growing catalog is already known for its quality. ~ Timothy Monger
Rolling Stone - 4 stars out of 5 -- "Here, the sound conjures the Seventies singer-songwriter heyday, and McKenna's storytelling is indelible....These songs wear their regrets proudly."
Pitchfork (Website) - "Lori McKenna shows her remarkable facility for conveying the inner lives of women trapped in soured relationships."