Three Jacks and a Jill by The Nancy McKeen Bluz Machine seems to care more about the past than anything else. It recognizes and remains respectful to the forerunners of the blues by maintaining a spirit that would feel perfectly at home in a smoke-filled, dimly lit club.
The sultry voice of Nancy McKeen takes the spotlight as she swaps stabs with guitar licks, and soars above a heavily jazz influenced rhythm section. Although her voice lacks the grit and punch of greats like Koko Taylor or the contemporary Sharon Jones (of Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings), McKeen displays a frayed velvet voice that sounds reminiscent of Amy Winehouse.
“Part Time Woman” swings in a way that calls to mind that intense, but innocent, Motown sound. The jazzy “Third Rail” is fun, simple, and most importantly, honest. “Eleven” featuring Dave Hixon on harp is heartbreaking in the way that only a blues tune should make you feel – and it remains the standout track. “Blues for Christmas” is as simple as it gets (guess what it’s about). And “Slow Burn” is an oddity; nothing but a cutting voice and Latinesque percussion creates a daring, absurdly easy listen.
More jazzy and smooth than bluesy, Three Jacks and a Jill isn’t necessarily explosive enough to jump onto the modern Blues Rock scene. But still, it boasts a completely validated sense of confidence, honesty, and accessibility that is so necessary in the blues.
The Review: 7/10
Cant Miss Tracks
– Part Time Woman
– Slow Burn
The Big Hit
Review by Jason Bank