Listen: Beth McKee returns to New Orleans on the "Long Road Back"


Singer-songwriter Beth McKee was a founding member of New Orleans alt-country outfit Evangeline (signed under Jimmy Buffett's MCA Nashville label Margaritaville). That band split in the mid-'90s, but McKee — now based in Florida — continued a solo career that includes 2010's I'm That Way, a tribute album to late Louisiana songwriter Bobby Charles, who became a mentor and friend to McKee before his death.

McKee's latest is Sugarcane Revival, full of swampy, bluesy, country-inspired and thickly spread south Louisiana soul, featuring percussionist Juan Perez, the subdudes' Tommy Malone, and Evangeline's Rhonda Lohmeyer on mandolin, among a dozen other artists backing McKee and her piano and organ. Then there's the Jackson Browne-inspired "Promised Land" and the Latin-influenced funk of "Nobody Knows Like Me." Below, listen to the opening track "Long Road Back," powered by a rolling New Orleans piano lick, rambling rhythm and blues and McKee's commanding voice.

McKee performs an album release show at 8 p.m. Saturday, June 20 at Chickie Wah Wah (2828 Canal St., 504-304-4714).

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