How do you get from fronting an indie progressive rock band to immersing yourself in roots and Americana? Judging by Get Big, the debut album by Knoxville, Tennessee singer/songwriter Keen Garrity – with ease.
But just sticking to something that would be considered standard formulas of the genre seems not to be good enough for Garrity. She has kept some of those prog-rock sensibilities she came in with. Song structures do not always follow the patterns of ‘standard’ Americana, but then, it is a genre that is supposed to include anything else that would fit well, isn’t it?
She is also able to bring in some straightforward pop sensibilities, akin to those of say, St. Vincent. The guitar embellishments courtesy of Will Malone gives the songs here an additional touch. But with all those rock and pop sensibilities, there is one route Garrity does follow in her lyrics. That one is more accustomed to what you can call left-field Americana practiced by the likes of Will Oldham, aka Bonnie Prince Billy and Bill Callahan. They are all in the form of character stories dealing with strange creatures, grave robbing, and patent medicine.
It turns out that Get Big sounds like one of those chili/chocolate desserts. You get this sweet, pop (chocolate) coating until the chili of the lyrics starts burning your throat. Luckily, Garrity strikes the right balance of both on this album.