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Paper Wings & Halo

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Album Review

Many a folkie has partaken of the Boston music scene hoping against hope to emerge from the pack as the singular beacon of success, as did Jonatha Brooke, Aimee Mann, and Tracy Chapman, for example. Lori McKenna belongs to that lineage, though she still walks among the throngs of should-be-better-knowns. Evidence enough is Paper Wings & Halo, which was released independently in 1998 and certainly warrants some attention. From McKenna's pen flow timeless, heart-grabbing melodic lines and psyche-splintering stanzas. Vocally, her powerful, yet touching delivery lies somewhere between and betwixt a few other New Englanders, namely Patty Griffin, Melissa Ferrick, and Ellis Paul. Paper Wings & Halo features 13 musical poems, but as oftentimes proves to be true, despite the greatness of the individual pieces, the whole is made even greater by the cohesiveness of the collection. And although three of the tracks were recorded live, the flow is seamless thanks to the simple, thoughtful production offered by Seth Connelly. If this album is any kind of signpost, look for McKenna's light to be shining bright for a long while to come.


Born: December, 1968 in Stoughton, MA

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Boston-native Lori McKenna grew up in a household filled with the rhythm and pleasure of good music, some of it happily supplied by her brothers. Music was almost always a part of family get-togethers. With such a background, it's little wonder that when McKenna grew up, she chose to become a professional singer and songwriter. In 1998, McKenna finished up work on a debut offering, an album titled Paper Wings and Halo. It was an impressive first release, filled with folk-flavored numbers like "What's...
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Paper Wings & Halo, Lori McKenna
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