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August 18, 2005 | Author: Baz Bardoe

Australian Musician spotlights three emerging female singer songwriters with their feet firmly on the ground and their amps churning out honest, organic rhythm & blues. MIA DYSON, ANNE McCUE AND MARI GABRIELLE

ANNE MC CUE by Baz Bardoe

ann_mccue_cr_jo…ny_buzzerioJournalistic objectivity? I’ve completely forgotten about that after seeing Anne McCue perform live. Instead a slew of superlatives flit through my mind.

McCue is a superior songwriter, an excellent vocalist, an accomplished and tasteful lead player, and … well I’ll try and keep it vaguely professional by just saying she’s got a ‘great image’! Fact is, McCue exudes star quality. Always has, going right back to her days in Girl Monstar, a ridiculously catchy guitar pop outfit that always threatened to give the charts a decent shake but never quite delivered on the promise.

Luckily her solo work has built a profile that has seen her play alongside Lucinda Williams, Heart, Richard Thompson, Paul Kelly and The Ramones. And in an industry that is built on hype, she is the real deal. What is so mesmerizing about McCue is the way she bares her soul in her songs to an extent that would make a eighty year old blues guy seem kind of reticent. This is juxtaposed upon an onstage demeanour that almost defies you to try and not dig what she’s doing. Her soloing evokes the ghosts of guys like Paul Kossoff of Free and possibly even Tommy Bolin — players who knew the value of just the right note for the occasion, whilst still being able to let rip when a tune was kicking. Her playing is tasteful and seamless. I could count on one hand the amount of artists as completely engrossing as Anne McCue.

I asked Anne how she came to be a singer/songwriter and lead guitarist?

‘We had a guitar hanging around the house that basically fell to bits because so many people used to play it. But my brother got pretty serious about it and bought an electric guitar. When he moved out and got a better axe, I inherited the Korean SG copy and went from there.’

She’s such a fluid player — surely she practiced heaps?

‘No, I never practice. I can’t seem to work it into my schedule.’

She also doesn’t have a schedule for songwriting.

‘I just hope the songs will come out of the stratosphere when I need them.’

As for the ‘girl in rock’ thing she believes it makes life easier if anything.

‘I think people are ready for a female guitarist now. It feels like there is less resistance.’

McCue doesn’t have a preference when asked if she likes recording or touring more.

‘I love both, especially when I get to play with my band.’ But although it sounds like a glamourous lifestyle ‘there’s not a lot of glamour to it, except that when I played in Reno I had Frank Sinatra’s dressing room all to myself.’ And you’ve always got to remember that there’s ‘no retirement plan.’

What really distinguishes McCue from the herd is her incredibly honest and emotive lyrics. I asked her how she managed to channel such anguish night after night?

‘Well Keef Richards said, ‘if you aren’t going to tell the truth, why bother writing?’ I took that to heart rather more than he did I think. It’s a good philosophy. When you state things out in the open, you are free of them.’

Her advice for aspirant musos is, ‘grow a really thick skin, be ready for rejection, don’t expect anything in particular, stay true.’

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