anitakeys Music


On her new album, singer-songwriter Anita Keys showcases her husky vocals and skills on the piano right from the start with the catchy "Song in the Head." While many of the tunes are about breakups, Keys doesn't just sing about getting her heart broken (though she explicitly references romantic love in "Fallin' Again"); she takes on more esoteric topics too. The album has a very mellow tone and happy-go-lucky vibe as Keys relies upon percussion and horns for her up-tempo approach. "Butterflies" stands out thanks to her soft singing and a sharp saxophone solo by guest Reggie Redd. Ultimately, Keys makes a solid attempt here to mix pop with a bit of jazz.

House Party

Local house concert spaces offer a more intimate, causal experience.
Katy Witkowski

Love live music but hate the lines, bar tabs and tall people standing directly in front of your favorite singer? Then opt for a concert venue that's a little more comfortable: your neighbor's home. From comedians in the shower to punk acts in the basement, the intimate atmosphere makes house concerts a welcome trend — and unlike any local music club.

Without the normal barroom distractions, it's even better for the artists, suggests Joel Elvery, who has been hosting the Mechanic Street House Concerts with his wife, Lynn Phares, since they moved here from Washington, D.C., in 2007. "When they know someone is listening to them, they play better," he says.

With residents greeting you at the door with snacks and a bring-your-own-booze policy, you'll feel more like you're visiting a friend than going to a stranger's house. Step inside a few venues with us.

Euclid City Limits at the Conscious Nest

Vitals: $5 donation for adults, $2 donation for students; Euclid, 216-692-0325, House: The 1920s funeral home has become an arts-focused community center with the only resident being Zeus the cat. Vibe: With colored spotlights and white walls, the fresh space features local singer-songwriters such as Anita Keys and Isaac Littman. Folding chairs, tall soundboards and post-show hula-hooping enhance the visit. "This is a musician's club run by musicians," says founder Steve Mramor. "We ask everyone to turn off their cellphones, so you could hear a pin drop." Coming up: Watch Mramor and singer-songwriter Kara Kaufmann perform July 11 at 8 p.m.

Jana McAlea
Soothing waves of summer night music
You can't be in a rush listening to this album. Close the door. Pour a drink. Be alone and listen. Move inside these songs and they'll form pictures and stories in your mind. Ahh, this is a far cry from screaming guitars. A welcome change of pace to the tired ear. Warning: Frantic numb-nuts will have no use for this music! I caught Anita Keys (the Low-Note Girl) live in Cleveland, Ohio and really enjoy her unhurried style. Other easy favorites on the album include Barfly, Number Nine, Cottage Lullaby, 3 Am Song and the instant crowd pleaser Little Rivers. Cool instrumentation and a full band sprinkled here and there give some of these cuts a little extra bounce and rhythm. If you are in need of a vacation but can't afford to go anywhere, just buy a bottle of wine and listen to this album from start to finish. I guarantee, you'll be relaxed afterwards. If you can't afford the wine - just buy the music. Cheers!