As a fan of a dirty martini (the "dirty" is a splash or two of olive juice), I was intrigued when I received a press kit from the female-fronted band named after this delicious drink,
McKinley (think Cher, Madonna, etc.), Stephanie Schneiderman Lara Michell, Ned Failing (on drums) and Keith Brush (on bass) are Portland-based Dirty Martini. As with a number of unique, interesting and successful musicians, the three women came together planning just a one-off show and discovered that their musical expressions of love, hate, joy, anger and sailors complemented each other beautifully. In the couple of years they've been together, they've played sold-out shows and produced a self-titled debut album full of incredible, haunting melodies, surprising chord changes and 12 highly addictive songs.
Dirty Martini is an acoustic album, much of which was recorded live. It's simple enough instrumentally: guitars, keyboards--both acoustic and electric,--drums, percussion and glockenspiel but the women's voices and the song arrangements are enough to bring even a jaded music listener to tears. McKinley, Schneiderman and Michell have substantial voices, but they're never overwhelming and they never hit an accidental note, singing in feathery tones that they are always completely in control of.
Dirty Martini promises to be a great addition to this year's Alive After Five series. So much so, that instead of talking up every cute thing that walks by, you might find yourself listening to the music instead.
Wednesday, August 23, 5 p.m., FREE, The Plaza at the Grove, Downtown Boise.
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