11 Songs, 42 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Following her breakthrough stint with roots string band The Carolina Chocolate Drops, singer and multi-instrumentalist Leyla McCalla has proven a bright solo artist. After two albums featuring her trademark cello, the versatile McCalla shifts to tenor banjo and electric guitar on The Capitalist Blues, which explores the music of her adopted New Orleans hometown and her Haitian heritage. These songs reach across an Afro-Caribbean musical spectrum: There’s calypso on "Money Is King," zydeco accordion on the buoyant “Oh My Love,” and swinging soul on “Heavy as Lead,” a song about water poisoning. If that sounds dreary, know that McCalla is a balanced songwriter who wisely pairs trenchant lyrics with cathartic and often joyful music. While she addresses the effects of living in a capitalist society, she also celebrates the many musical cultures in which she makes herself at home.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Following her breakthrough stint with roots string band The Carolina Chocolate Drops, singer and multi-instrumentalist Leyla McCalla has proven a bright solo artist. After two albums featuring her trademark cello, the versatile McCalla shifts to tenor banjo and electric guitar on The Capitalist Blues, which explores the music of her adopted New Orleans hometown and her Haitian heritage. These songs reach across an Afro-Caribbean musical spectrum: There’s calypso on "Money Is King," zydeco accordion on the buoyant “Oh My Love,” and swinging soul on “Heavy as Lead,” a song about water poisoning. If that sounds dreary, know that McCalla is a balanced songwriter who wisely pairs trenchant lyrics with cathartic and often joyful music. While she addresses the effects of living in a capitalist society, she also celebrates the many musical cultures in which she makes herself at home.

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