Forrest Hartman, Reno Gazette-Journal
3 stars out of 4
Singer-songwriter and Broadway actress Nellie McKay has often been compared to Doris Day so it seems natural to do a tribute album. Of course, McKay is more accurately described as Doris-Day-meets-Eminem because she leavens her pop songs by rapping and dropping the F-bomb. So how to get this edge and remain true to the spirit of one of Hollywood’s most beloved sweethearts?
McKay pulls it off with stellar arrangements that hop from style to style and also by avoiding obvious choices like “Que Sera Sera” in favor of songs that rarely appear on Day collections like “Do Do Do” and “Dig It.”
McKay’s playful spirit breathes freshness into the jazz standard “Crazy Rhythm.” And, blasphemy, I prefer McKay’s “Mean to Me” to Billie Holiday’s.
I dare anyone, without checking the writing credits, to tell which song is a Nellie original that she wrote as a teenager.
Some are calling this McKay’s best album. I prefer her three previous CDs, but this is her most mainstream and it’s a slice of sunshine.