Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different songs as part of our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Today’s selection is “Keep On” by Mike McCready & Star Anna from a 2012 single on Monkeywrench/Local 638 Records.
It seems like an unlikely pairing: lead guitarist of long-running multi-platinum “grunge” stalwarts Pearl Jam and young country-western style singer-songwriter from Ellensburg, Washington — but in Star Anna, Mike McCready has found a true talent. On her recent album, Alone In This Together, Mike played on a few songs, and the two have appeared at each other’s performances over the last couple of years, so earlier this year when Mike had written a new song, it was his turn to ask Star Anna to guest. “Keep On” is exactly what you’d expect from the two: while it’s lighter than any Pearl Jam or Mad Season song, it has a screaming guitar line, a Who-esque melody (about halfway through) of the kind PJ was often fond of, and a Temple of the Dog-like emotive electro-acousticism tied together with Star Anna’s heartbroken and weary-beyond-her-years voice. Moody, though, the song may be, its message seems ultimately uplifting, and the song itself, ultimately enjoyable. Here’s hoping for more years of collaboration between these two!
Currently, Star Anna is recording a new album of her own, and rumor has it Mike McCready maybe working on a full solo album of his own. Star will be performing at Sonic Boom for Record Store Day tomorrow, April 21, at 4PM. Check her website for more information and to pick up hear albums. And you can grab today’s single and Star Anna’s cover of Robyn’s “Call Your Girlfriend” at Pearl Jam’s website. Both Mike and Star performed together recently live on KEXP — you can listen to the session here and watch the entire performance here: