Country-folk singer Lori McKenna comes to Tampa Jaeb Theatre

Country-folk singer Lori McKenna comes to Tampa's Jaeb Theatre

May 2, 2013 

Lori McKenna was settled in her life as a mother and wife of a plumber when the country music world took notice of her in 2005.

That's when superstar Faith Hill recorded three of McKenna's songs on her chart-topping album "Fireflies."

With the sweetly sad title track, the single "Stealing Kisses" and the plaintive "If You Ask," McKenna suddenly became widely known for distinctive and well-crafted songs.

She had performed in small venues and recorded a few independent albums previously but McKenna, now in her 30s and a mother of five, has developed a national reputation as a fine performer in the eight years since "Fireflies."

She'll be at the Jaeb Theatre May 6. It's the cabaret-style space at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa.

When McKenna sings, armed with acoustic guitar and sometimes some sparse accompaniment, they feel more personal and folky than when Hill gives them her polished pop-country treatment.

"Unglamorous," the album McKenna recorded for Warner Brothers Nashville in 2007 -- her first album after Hill's "Fireflies" -- reached No. 19 on the country charts. Since then, McKenna has released two more albums, "Lorraine," named after her mother, and "Massachusetts," named for her home state. "Massachusetts" dropped April 26.

Details: 7;30 p.m. May 6, Jaeb Theatre, Straz Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets: $28.50 plus service charge and up. Information: 813-229-7827 or strazcenter.org.

-- Marty Clear

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