“Leaving Home” makes her talent hard to miss, however. MacDowell's second album, and the first for the new indie label Conch Town Music, is as sunny as the Keys and a melodious showcase for her fine singing and songwriting.
MacDowell's brand of pop draws from folk, rock and country. While much of it is bouncy and upbeat, there's a bluesy hue to her expressive alto that's especially appealing, as is the contrast between her upper and lower register.
“Leaving Home” grabs the ear and invites a smile right out of the gate with the opener “I Like,” which — as elsewhere — benefits from Matt Backer's inventive guitar work. Horns propel the title cut, a voyage of discovery that leads MacDowell to a happy ending. And the piano-and-strings ballad “Midnight Hour” offers a reminder that life isn't all beautiful sunsets, even in Key West.
On the fiddle waltz “Two Kinds of People,” MacDowell sings, “I deserve to be heard.” She's absolutely right.