Coldwater is the epitome of low-key; self-produced, self-released and demo-like, just McNally, her three-piece road band Hot Sauce and the late Jim Dickinson on keyboards, at whose Zebra Ranch they recorded it a year ago. She hung onto the rootsiness of her sensibilities but, for all intents and purposes, parted ways with pop, turning out eight willfully loose, swampy country-soul tracks, her sensual, humid singing smack-dab in the middle of them, rather than out front.
The songs are just as low-key, only five of them originals, and the best of those—“This Ain’t My Home” and “Lovely”—sly, bluesy and experienced. Judging from McNally’s choice of covers, she’s had her ears in mid-‘60s Dylan (“Positively 4th Street”) and early ‘70s Waylon (“Lonesome, On’ry and Mean” and “Freedom To Stay”); You can even hear a touch of Dylan in her delivery this time.
Nothing about the songs, playing or production on this rather brief album feels sewn up, tied down or hemmed in. McNally is a singer who knows her mind.