See our Best of Detroit 2020 winners.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Wind-Up Canary

Posted By on Wed, Jan 10, 2007 at 12:00 AM

Growing up in the tiny fishing village of Sciutate, Mass., Casey Dienel learned to play piano, and likely explored the picaresque nooks and crannies of her neighborhood. Nowadays based in Brooklyn, the singer-songwriter pulls from that idyllic upbringing for Wind-Up Canary, her debut for Hush, and even brings along some of her New England Conservatory pals to contribute to the instrumentally varied disc. Dienel's old soul persona, layered with Laura Nyro's wild imagination and a little bit of Carole King, rounds out this warm-hearted record. But it's her sharp, sophisticated tongue and private naïveté that makes Canary such a promising debut, and one suggestive of Nellie McKay's similarly terrific introduction with 2004's Get Away from Me. From the cabaret style of "Embroidery" and the autobiographical "Everything" to a drunken fable called "Doctor Monroe," Dienel's kindness — lifted from the pages of a fairy tale — will melt even the toughest chips off shoulders. The polished horn arrangements in "All or Nothing" and the banjo-happy heartbreaker "Baby James" waltz around the postcard sentiments of "Frankie and Annette," and if Dienel denies the power of affection one minute, the next she'll concede that love is all we need. "Stationary" says it all over the light brush of an acoustic guitar. "I can't shake you off, no matter how hard I try," Dienel sings. "I can't just pick up my pen and write about something else."

MacKenzie Wilson writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to letters@metrotimes.com.

Tags:

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at letters@metrotimes.com.

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.

More by MacKenzie Wilson

Read the Digital Print Issue

October 21, 2020

View more issues

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit