Nellie McKay on the Radio

by Steve Horowitz

18 October 2010


In some ways, Nellie McKay is the quintessential New Yorker. She has the insouciance of the sophisticate and the naïveté of the innocent all wrapped up in an exuberant package. One can easily imagine her as the model of that lady standing in the harbor beckoning the huddled masses to greener pastures. Judy Holiday would have played McKay in the movies, if McKay would have been born 50 years ago.

Therefore McKay’s appearance on WNYC’s Greene Space radio program on a Tuesday afternoon to an appreciative crowd of mostly metropolitan denizens made the audience feel like they were right at home. She even brought her mother along. McKay sang three songs from her most recent release, Home Sweet Mobile Home, with a three piece band and accompanied herself on both ukulele and piano. She explained the reason behind the title of her album to the radio emcee, who said as a New Yorker, he was mostly unfamiliar with trailer living. (The Mobile of the title refers to Mobile, Alabama as well as a transportable abode.) McKay charmed the radio audience with her combination of wit and straight talk, in true Gotham wiseacre style that bespoke an authentic personality whose art comes directly from her heart and mind. Luckily, the show was recorded.

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