We were overdue for an update with the busy Anne McCue, since we hadn't had a proper sit down in four years. She has just come out with her second album in that time, Koala Motel. We also reviewed the first of the pair, Roll. Both are on Messenger Records. We began our friendship with her when we interviewed her on the occasion of her memorable debut, Amazing Ordinary Things.

Anne's a very likeable and interesting character. She speaks very softly, and plays quite loudly, for the best reasons. She's a fan of great guitars and signature amplifiers (some boutique or handmade amps, as we go into) and is wont to turn them up to where the tubes are actually working, not merely on. That's where the sound is, you see.

And the lady can play. She's no flash picker, but she gets a lot of tone going on with those diminutive hands, and has a strong guitaristic sense of the right parts and the right tones, and how to put them together. And I don't ever recall seeing a female rocker with more pedals than Anne. I don't know why I get such a kick out of seeing a pretty woman with a big pedal board, but I do.

She has made a habit of winning over high profile characters like Lucinda Williams, Richard Thompson, and Heart's Nancy Wilson along her way. In fact, both sisters appear on her new record, as does Jim Lauderdale and John Doe. (The irascible John Doe, as she calls him on her website, love that. Rather be irascible than erasable, any day.) Lucinda has been a champion of Anne's, spotlighting her as an opening act many times.

As you can find in our original conversation, Anne's performing career began in more punk and hard rock settings with girl bands that played Lilith Fair to some acclaim, and then to a period of leading a rock trio in Saigon, where her guitar chops took on a new presence, leading to the path she's been on now for some few distinguished years. With her bassist and co-producer Dusty Wakeman, drummer David Raven, and keyboardist Carl Byron, Anne has honed a tight and formidable touring outfit.  She's always been a good songwriter, and we won't be surprised when she pens a big hit. She is a strong singer, especially for such a soft-spoken person.

After this interview, we include a couple of live clips from her Mercy Lounge show during the Americana Conference. (I was headed downstairs after shooting a few songs, and ran back when she started "From Bakersfield To Saigon," my favorite, so I missed a little of the beginning.) As I told her after the show, we still think she's going to become a big star.      continue to interview