Aimee Mann finds charm in ’75 hit

By David Bauder

AP Entertainment Writer


The musical inspiration for Aimee Mann’s latest disc may come as a surprise. It certainly did for Larry Lee.

Mann’s “Charmer” hearkens back to the pop-rock structures of her 1990s discs “Whatever” and “I’m With Stupid,” and ultimately even further, to radio-friendly hits from 30 and 40 years ago.

That’s her pop music, not the kind made by Taylor Swift, Beyonce or Katy Perry.

In fact, she zeroed in on one song in particular: “Jackie Blue,” a 1975 hit by the Ozark Mountain Daredevils.

“To me, that’s the perfect pop song and was kind of the touchstone for the whole record,” said Mann, who’s 52.

“In fact, there are certain songs (on ‘Charmer’) where it’s basically an homage to that song.”

That news thrilled Lee, who wrote and sang “Jackie Blue.”

He lives in Springfield, Mo., and although the Daredevils are part of his past, he stays active in songwriting and music producing. He has several Mann CDs in his collection.

Listen closely to Mann’s “Crazytown,” and the background singers’ “ooos” will remind you of “Jackie Blue.” The songs even have thematic similarities, being about people sucked into the dramas of friends with self-destructive behaviors.

Mann’s new music is hook-laden with dark undercurrents. It’s not just the nut case in “Crazytown.”

The title cut’s subject is manipulative despite his charm.

Mann’s duet with James Mercer of the Shins, “Living a Lie,” is about a co-dependent couple who see through each other’s facades.

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