ALBUMS OF THE MONTH:
You Go Your Way, by Amy Correia
It’s hard not to get lost in Amy Correia’s latest release, You Go Your Way. The story-telling quality of her songwriting, matched with some diverse and engaging instrumentation, conjures up images of a musical from the classic age of Broadway. “Love Changes Everything” is a great example. A simple melody is brought to life by a lush cello and string accompaniment as Correia decries, “When darkness spreads out like a flag unfurled, you hear the trembling of this wild and naked world.” It is a song unassuming yet poignant. Correia displays a sense of humor (I think) on the bluesy “Powder Blue Trans Am,” lamenting her lack of male companionship despite possessing the legendary name-checked Detroit automobile. “I can’t get a man doing everything I can, coming ‘round the corner in my powder blue Trans Am,” she sings. “O Lord” is every much the spiritual that the title suggest, with Correia’s distinctive and impassioned vocals giving it some extra punch. A tuba and horn section give “Carolina Rail” a laid back carnival quality while dramatic strings and a forceful, steady beat add imposing tension to the title track. If you close your eyes, Go Your Own Way will carry you away on a musical journey. Never a bad thing.
Audio Download: Amy Correia, “Love Changes Everything”
In Sleep, Lissie (from the Fat Possum Records release Catching a Tiger)
At first I was a bit surprised to see that Fat Possum, a label associated with Mississippi blues, first signed California by way of Illinois singer-songwriter Lissie. One listen and it all made sense. Lissie falls somewhere between pop, folk and blues with an organic feel that fits perfectly on the label. This track tends towards the pop end of the spectrum, showcasing the subtle intensity of Lissie’s voice.
Audio Download: Lissie, “In Sleep (live)”
Branded, Marty Stuart (from the Sugar Hill Records release Ghost Train: The Studio B Sessions)
There are lots of country singers out there, but few can match up to Stuart’s immense talents. He is an encyclopedia of country music – both in knowledge and performance – who can move seamlessly from gospel to rockabilly to classic heartbreak country. Recorded at Nashville’s legendary RCA Studio B, this track demonstrates that Stuart only gets better with age.
Audio Download: Marty Stuart, “Branded”
Throw Your Arms Around Me, Mike Viola & Kelly Jones (from the self-released Melon)
Popsters Viola and Jones took their voices and acoustic guitars to upstate New York to record this intimate ballad. Their voices intertwine magically as they sing, “All alone we suffer, I want to steal your heart away.”
Numbers Don’t Lie,The Mynabirds (from the Saddle Creek Records release What We Lose In the Fire, We Gain in the Flood)
With its distinctive retro-feel, this song would have fit comfortably in the early 1960’s pop canon. They’ve modernized the sound by eliminating the Phil Spector wall-of-sound production and given the songs a slightly darker tone, yet the songs retain the essence of Brill Building pop. I’m sure that Ellie Greenwich would approve.
Audio Download: The Mynabirds, “Numbers Don’t Lie”
Airplanes, B.o.B (from the Atlantic Records B.o.B. Presents: the Adventures of Bobby Ray)
Hypnotic is the best way to describe this song of the summer. I was immediately drawn to the enchanting chorus, but I’ve really grown to appreciate the blend of the rap vocals with the melodic pop accompaniment.
And Here’s Some More, The Figgs (from the self-released The Man Who Fights Himself)
An amazing 23 years removed from their upstate New York roots, the Figgs continue to impress with their potent mix of power pop and garage rock.
Connect, Foxy Shazam (from the Sire Records release Foxy Shazam)
While I’m not as much of a fan and Twangville contributor John Anderson (his thoughts here), I’m digging this track. It starts off like a classic Michael Jackson outtake but morphs into something more akin to what would have happened if Jackson did a recording session with the boys from Queen.
Gypsy Woman, Jonathan Tyler & the Northern Lights (from the Atlantic Records release Pardon Me)
The Dallas quintet lets the sparks fly on this rousing rocker. This is what is sounds like when one uses an electric guitar as a weapon.
About the author: Mild-mannered corporate executive by day, excitable Twangville denizen by night.