The Bird & The Rifle
Reviewed By: Julia Cirignano
Widely successful songwriter and recording artist Lori McKenna is about to release her tenth studio album, The Bird & The Rifle. Along with the success of her own recordings, McKenna has written for country artists such as Faith Hill, Reba McEntire, Alison Krauss, Little Big Town, Hunter Hayes, Tim McGraw and Keith Urban. The Bird & The Rifle features “Humble & Kind”, a song that Tim McGraw has recently taken to No. 1 on Billboard Country Airplay. This was the first time in over four years that a song written by only one writer has topped the charts. McKenna is bringing back the importance of songwriting as a personal and honest experience for both the writer and the fans.
McKenna has managed to balance her life as a mother of five in Stoughton, Massachusetts, and also keep her art of songwriting alive and thriving. Yet, her ‘normal’ life has not proven to be a distraction, but to help her write raw, honest lyrics for her songs. She is inspired by everyday life, so she inspires everyday people. For example, the first track off The Bird & The Rifle talks about a typical day that is specific in a relatable way, starting with the lyrics, “I get dressed in the dark each day/I used to think that was so sweet/By six am I’m in the car driving.” This song, along with others on the album, has a Dixie Chicks’ type of teardrops and gunpowder energy; a combination of honesty and strength.
The Bird & The Rifle is a compilation of ten incredibly well written songs by a seasoned songwriter. McKenna has in no way run out of issues and topics to write songs about, and has not run dry of her passion and artistry in which she tackles each song. McKenna has become the voice of many voiceless people — whether her words come out of her mouth of other singers — and she has proven once again why she has received she success that she has. McKenna combines the traditional aspects of songwriting — personal, simple, human story telling — with a modern country sound that has proven its worth within the top country music charts. McKenna combines the only and the new, and also innocence (the bird) and strength (the rifle), to create a country music masterpiece.