BEST SONGWRITER (1999)
Alabama-bred Marlee MacLeod has spent a career quietly investigating the intricacies of life as a Southern girl born again into the culture of Amerindie rock. Never bombastic or unduly confessional, her songs stake out a private world where references to the way "the iridescent birdie on my Visa card" looks in the lonely glow of late-night TV uncover ideas about class, gender, love, and aging--subjects more banal singer-songwriters have all but ground to silt. Yet while MacLeod's gift is her eye for detail and skill at investigating intricate psychological perspectives, she gives her songs an arty party bar-band physicality only a rock 'n' roller raised on Southern new wave and mid-'80s college radio could know so well. 1997's excellent Vertigo is one of the smartest records to come out of these parts in years, and hopes for a 1999 release run high.