Erin McKeown – “Sugar In A Pie” (Stereogum Premiere)

Multi-genre blending or “genre defiant” music has been somewhat of an epidemic for a good while now. Many artists claim to make it, some artists actually do it, and fewer artists do it well. Most of them are hypochondriacs. One of the minority is musician, writer, and producer Erin McKeown. McKeown has been hard to put in a box for about 16 years now since the release for her debut album Distillation in 2000, and the nine albums she’s made since then have passed through pretty much any genre you can name. Her latest offering is an EP entitled According To Us. It’s a six-song collection that packs the far-flung variation of a project double or triple its size, weaving in and out of bluegrass, folk, tribal, gospel, choral, R&B, jazz, spoken word, and the list goes on.

“Sugar In A Pie” is a sweet taste of her latest offering, and just as the title of the song suggests, there’s real sweetness in this particular confection — the kind of pie that has to rest on the window sill, not one that comes in plastic with a date you have to check. McKeown describes a real, relentlessly optimistic love. There’s little more than pretty guitar and bass strums, and twinkling xylophone-like tinges to accompany her voice as she details the kind of intimacy she wants to share with her partner. Her super catchy melodies lift the playful mood of the song for a giddy, but grounded crescendo on the refrain: “Love me sweet like a sugar in a pie/ Don’t leave my hips no matter what I try/ My lips are yours ’til dying/ And I, do not wonder why / Never in doubt, I love you my oh my.” The tension between the jubilant aesthetic of the song and the subtle fierceness of her hopes and wishes is wonderful, and I’ll probably be humming that hook for the rest of the day. Listen.

Tour dates:

07/07 Tampa, FL @ Tampa Theatre
07/08 New Orleans, LA @ Civic Theatre
07/10 San Antonio, TX @ Aztec Theatre
07/11 Dallas, TX @ Majestic Theatre
07/13 Albuquerque, NM @ Kimo Theatre
07/14 Mesa, AZ @ Mesa Arts Center
07/15 Los Angeles, CA @ Orpheum Theatre
07/16 Oakland, CA @ Fox Theater
07/18 Salt Lake City, UT @ Capitol Theatre
07/19 Boise, ID @ Egyptian Theatre
07/21 Portland, OR @ Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall
07/22 Seattle, WA @ Benaroya Hall


01 “Once A Bomb, Always A Bomb”
02 “Sugar In A Pie”
03 “Where Did I Go”
04 “The Player”
05 “Your Enemies
06 “The Queer Gospel”

According To Us is out 6/24. Pre-order it here.

Tags: Erin McKeown