- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 6, 2002

Nobody was more astonished at the sound of Christy McWilson's "Bed of Roses" CD than Miss McWilson.

The veteran singer-songwriter, who has lived in the Seattle area for the past 22 years, says the recording its opening song tinged with the psychedelic guitar of R.E.M.'s Peter Buck is a departure from her roots in alternative country. For that, she tips her cowboy hat to producer and performer Dave Alvin.

"I've learned to trust him and let him have his way," says Miss McWilson, whose husband, Scott McCaughey, plays bass guitar on the project. "I think Dave and I did a sort of '60s turn on this."

Miss McWilson, 45, is hitting the road for a short tour in support of the album that will bring her and her band to the Iota Club and Cafe in Arlington at 8:30 p.m. Monday. "Bed of Roses" is her second disc on Hightone Records after two on Rounder with the alternate-country Picketts band, but this tour marks her first real foray on the road.

She's been a stay-at-home mother who put her career on hold while her husband toured with the R.E.M. orchestra. Miss McWilson and her own band have been performing regionally in the Northwest so she could fulfill her role as mother.

Even while she makes plans for staging concerts in places she's never visited before such as Arlington Miss McWilson is also making plans for her daughter's 13th birthday. It's to be a slumber party with eight other 13-year-old girls. During the tour, grandparents will be brought in to mind the home front.

Miss McWilson is no stranger to performing, although being alternate-country in the birthplace of grunge has been something of a challenge. The Picketts "were doing it while Nirvana and Soundgarden were doing it," Miss McWilson says. "Timing has never been my thing.

"You have to do [music] because you like it," says Miss McWilson, who confesses to being very shy.

Although she graduated from college in Sonoma, Calif., with a degree in anthropology, Miss McWilson says she always was drawn to music and musicians, "no matter where I went, no matter what I did."

Her songs come from "journals. They're pretty much about me, where I am, where I am coming from." On her record, the second song, "Lila Jean" addresses her shyness head-on.

The opening track, "Life's Little Enormities," was inspired by a James Thurber line that would not leave her thoughts.

Miss McWilson says she has no interest in the ephemera of the music business the youth-oriented fashion and culture that tend to drive the industry. For her, it's all about the music.

"My whole goal is to keep making CDs," she says. "I get something out of it. I think of it more as a calling."

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