What to Do Tonight: Nellie McKay

It wouldn’t be out of character for singer-songwriter Nellie McKay, now touring in support of the recently released Normal as Blueberry Pie: A Tribute to Doris Day, to follow up with a musical homage to Frank Zappa. Such is her musical range — from the pretty to the profane, from traditional pop to progressive theatricality. In fact, much of the self-penned material from McKay’s previous three records mixes a variety of styles that shape a distinct musical voice. McKay is an accomplished pianist, ukulele player and arranger, and an expressive vocalist and agent provocateur, using cabaret, small-group and big-band jazz, rock and rap arrangements to ruffle feathers, tickle funny bones and raise consciousness along with eyebrows. While her biting, witty lyrics loudly champion feminism, animal rights, and personal and civil liberties — often by parodying conservative and/or chauvinistic attitudes — McKay’s music plays an integral a role in her statements. The new album, with its faithfully vibrant, yet minimalist covers of Day songs, proves her musicality. McKay will be backed by locals Marty Block on bass and Roy King on drums when she plays at 7 tonight and tomorrow at Nighttown (12387 Cedar Rd., Cleveland Hts., 216.795.0550, nighttowncleveland.com). Tickets: $20. — Matt Marshall

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