Probable musical genius and cute-as-a-buttercup, Nellie McKay can compose a cascading melodic tongue twister like “Identity Theft” and “Sari” or sing a line like “Give me head or you'll be dead”; (from”Won't You Please Be Nice?”) with virtuosic aplomb and a Dentyne smile. She's got the tubes to rhyme “Attila the Hun” and “cinnamon bun” in a disarmingly easy-peasy fashion while being something of a Liberace on the piano. Now she's taken on channeling Doris Day with Normal as Blueberry Pie: A Tribute to Doris Day. Why would she do that?
LAW: What is it about Doris Day that inspired you to do entire album of her songs?
That sound! That reassuring purr! Her heart and positivity have always lifted me, and her Animal League is still ahead of its time.
How did you narrow the song choices?
It was tough because she did so many — some of them I couldn’t hope to live up to. She recorded a lovely duet of “Confess” with Buddy Clark, and “I’ll String Along With You” has great warmth. Perhaps for the Japanese market!
Which ones do you most like to perform live?
“Wonderful Guy” has the pizzazz, and “Meditation”; is so bittersweet.
Has Doris Day heard the album?
I did a phone interview with her a few years ago, and at 7 a.m. she was as sunny as a buttercup. I think Doris would rather devote her time to the animals than listen to my feeble warblings.
What do you like to do when in L.A.?
Go to Vegan Glory and Out of the Closet!
What's next for you?
Don't tell anybody, but I think I'd like to live in L.A.
Sun., April 4, 9 p.m., 2010