Kirsty McGee (born 1972) is a British singer-songwriter and guitarist from Manchester. She is well known within the British Folk scene although her music references Americana, Blues, Jazz and Rockabilly genres, and is influenced by the style of the Beatnik subculture. Her lyrics are typically deeply personal and introspective, and deal with a variety of subjects from politics to storytelling. She has worked with musicians such as Marc Ribot, Mike West, Danny Schmidt, Karine Polwart and Inge Thomson, and opened for Suzanne Vega, Eddi Reader and Capercaillie.
A maker of delicate yet stubborn songs, an instinctive traveller, a human scrapbook. Years spent as a hitchhiker and a period of homelessness have enriched Kirsty McGee’s knowledge of people and places, all whilst keeping her moving. After spending a while building tree houses and bagging-out earth from tunnels at road protest camps Kirsty sold all her possessions and hitched to Cornwall where she lived in a beach hut and developed the writing and vocal styles that have earned her a reputation as one of the most respected songwriters of her generation.
Her songs are the soundtrack to a colourful patchwork of experience, and attest to a unique life full of paradoxical quirks and actions from the heart, sung by a voice just that little bit too pure to have seen what she has seen. It is just one of the many ironies that surround her eccentric past and qualify her to write and perform music of such rich integrity and sincerity.
McGee’s emergence as a unique and strong voice in acoustic music coincided with her now-famous early appearance alongside Suzanne Vega at Brampton Live festival in 2001. This has been followed with four studio albums, two BBC award nominations (best newcomer, best original song) and busy international touring schedule. Her work has attracted collaborations with some of the most important names in the scene, such as producers John Wood (honeysuckle, 2002), Boo Hewerdine (frost, 2004), and Neill MacColl (two birds, 2006). Her fourth album, ‘the kansas sessions’ was recorded in the usa with maverick songwriter and producer Mike West of Truckstop Honeymoon. Much of her work has been made using the instruments she has built herself.
Her affinity with a life of perpetual movement and a hand-to-mouth existence has made its mark on her songs in a manner reminiscent of Jack Kerouac and the 'beat' generation, and has made her music difficult to classify. She has been variously described as producing 'folk noir' and ‘hobopop’ - she and Mat Martin were described in Maverick magazine as 'Simon and Garfunkel: the Tim Burton version.'
‘the kansas sessions’ - released on September 01st 2008 - finds McGee making statements of real integrity within the rich tradition of original songwriting in which she is already well established. The album results from a new phase of prosperous independence for McGee, who severed ties with previous management and record company in early 2007. It is released on McGee’s own label, hobopop recordings, and demonstrates that her trademark sound, setting edgy grooves against tender yet dark textures, has grown in scope, encompassing what can only be described as a ‘vaudebilly’ style - banjos, double bass, clarinet, trombone…
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