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    (Photos by First Light Image)

    I’m sure that most people might roll their eyes when they hear Emily Kinney, the 29 year old actress who played teenager “Beth Greene” on the AMC series “The Walking Dead,” is now a singer.  The truth is, she’s been writing songs and playing around New York City for the better part of a decade, releasing her debut EP, “Blue Toothbrush” in 2011. 

    But if you saw her concert at Zanzabar on Thursday night, you would understand why people are quickly beginning to take her seriously.  Her lyrics are cute, pop-culture laden odes to crushes and heartbreak – and the hooks are infectious.  Her cutesy demeanor and self-conscious stage banter makes her that much more irresistibly adorably – and makes fans of “The Walking Dead” miss “Beth” even more than we already did.

    The band she’s dragging across the country with her, exquisitely brings her pop inspired songs to life without making them overbearingly saccharine sweet.  The songs are gentle, breezy and a little hipster cool, which is par for the Brooklyn pop-scene from which Kinney started her career and has brought us bands like American Authors and Alex & Sierra.

    Her setlist was filled with tracks from both of her EP’s, “Blue Toothbrush” and “Expired Love,” as well as songs from her upcoming full length album “This Is War.”  Songs like “Married,” “Never Leave L.A.,” and “Birthday Cake” roll by almost interchangeably.  But when she performs “Expired Love” you can feel the brash sincerity in her lyrics, as she writes about a relationship that didn’t end in anger, but simply ran its course.

    On “Sure Bet” her voice is sultry and sexy but desperate as she pleads with a past-lover to come over late night so she doesn’t have to sleep alone.  The acapella “Daddy Says,” is stark and beautiful.  But if I’m honest with myself, the geeky highlight of the show was when she performed a cover of Tom Waits’ “Hold On” – which Beth actually sang on the show while the group lived in the prison during the third season.  Her version of the song is solid, mostly because it mixes three of my favorite things…The Walking Dead, Tom Waits, and a beautiful woman.

    Kinney is a talented performer with a very fresh voice both musically speaking and in songwriting; which is probably enough to let my inner Walking Dead nerd subside and let my inner Emily Kinney fan free.

     

     

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    About Brent Owen

    Born and raised in Louisville, I have lived here most of my life (except during a short furlough, when I, lovelorn and naive, followed a girl to Baton Rouge). My roots are here, my family, my friends, and my life are all here. I work primarily as a free-lance writer for a few local and regional publications. I have also written two books (one a memoir, the other a novel) that barring some divine intervention, will probably never see the light of day. I find myself deeply ingrained in the local bar scene, or perhaps better said, I often indulge in the local drinking culture. I love music, movies, comedy, and really just about any other live performance art.

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