Amy Macdonald

This is the Life

Amy Macdonald hails from Scotland, one of the five countries where her debut album has gone No. 1. Her brogue is so thick that it comes through in her singing—unusual for even the most heavily accented speakers. Yet, with every word that shines through in her slice-of-life songs, it’s no surprise she’s found such wide acceptance. Macdonald, who turned 21 a week after This is the Life hit the U.S., has been writing since she was 13. Her songs tell stories—singularly personal and universal at the same time—set in places as distinct as “Barrowland Ballroom” and “L.A.” while unveiling characters as poignant as “Mr. Rock & Roll,” the “Poison Prince” and the “Footballer’s Wife” (all exceptional tracks). Her voice serves her alt-pop sound: full-bodied á là Carole King, Shona Laing, Natalie Merchant. And that brogue … ah, that brogue, adding just the right grounding to her everywoman words. “Give me a guitar and I’ll be your troubadour,” she sings on “Let’s Start a Band”; now there’s an offer that’s hard to refuse.