Take Me Away (2008, Indepth Music)
McKee’s website lays claim of similarities to artists like Jewel, Sarah McLachlan and Lisa Loeb. And yes, we’re hearing all that over here, too.
WEBSITE: www.crystalmckee.com; www.myspace.com/crystalmckee.
By Waleed Rashidi
There are plenty of fantastic female musicians in the Inland Empire and singer-songwriter Crystal McKee is doing her darndest to make sure you’ve heard them. Although she’s been hitting the local circuit for the past eight years as a solo artist (her first gig: an open mic night at Coffee Depot), performing at market nights, venues, festivals and coffee houses, McKee’s talents both on stage and off stage have been hard to dismiss.
Of course, there’s McKee’s music, which includes her 2008 album Take Me Away (McKee notes that she’s working on the next record) and the many regional gigs. But the other thing in which McKee seems to invest plenty of hours is her platform for area songstresses, better known as the Female Acoustic Showcase. The event initially launched at the aforementioned Coffee Depot in 2008 but has now expanded to a pair of venues in different counties.
“I first thought of the idea while browsing MySpace,” McKee explains. “I would find one great female artist after another and thought it would be great to put on a show with all these wonderfully talented ladies. I also knew about half of them personally and the other half I had never met. We had a lot of positive feedback so I decided to make it an annual event with every year getting better.”
McKee, an Inland Empire Music Award winner, credits fellow musician Mobetta Loretta for her assistance with the showcase, the third annual installment of which will be held July 11 at Victoria Gardens in Rancho Cucamonga, with an encore performance at the Riverside Plaza on July 24.
“When you put all these female artists together, the show is not only inspiring for the artist, but I’ve seen artists first meet each other at our show and go on to do projects together,” McKee says. “It can be a sorta networking event as well. There are many female showcases out there, but what makes ours stand apart is we provide a great show with over a dozen artists on one night who are all amazing. I haven’t seen anything like it.”
Crystal McKee at Riverside Plaza, 3545 Central Ave., Riverside, (951) 683-1066; www.shopriversideplaza.com. Sat, 7PM.