BY Jeremy Kinser
September 13 2010 3:00 AM ET
Veteran Nashville music publisher David Conrad, champion of accomplished performers such as Patty Griffin and Emmylou Harris, was an early advocate for McCormick after seeing her perform as part of a showcase at the Basement, a popular Nashville music venue. “David said, ‘This is so different from what I’ve been hearing,’ ” McCormick says. “‘This is so not Nashville, and I really like that. Let’s work together,’ and that was the beginning of some very major relationships in my professional life.”
Though she can play a guitar (be it electric, acoustic, bass, or lap steel) with the best of them, McCormick’s most singular instrument is perhaps her voice, which can switch from a whisper to a wail in a heartbeat. Despite McCormick’s fresh attitude, Honest Words often sounds like a newly discovered gem from the country-folk alt-rock world of Southern California three decades ago. Tracks like the lusty “Shiver” and the redemptive ballad “Oh My Love” wouldn’t feel out of place on a Linda Ronstadt album from her chart-topping heyday in the mid ’70s—albeit with slicker guitar licks.
On a break before several performances prior to launching her official tour this fall to support Honest Words, McCormick is excited to get back on the road. But she takes a moment to reflect on the reason she’s making music. “I’m totally blessed and thankful,” she says. “I get to have this really amazing conversation with people through music.” She also downplays the notion that she might be considered a pioneer for being out at the onset of a career, but adds, “I would love to think that I’ve made it easier for the next person.”