Noteworthy Expo AlumniAmelia White
Amelia White is a singer-songwriter currently living and working in Nashville. But don't let that fool you, she's no "hat act." The self-proclaimed "crazy, big-haired tomboy's" new CD, Black Doves, is filled with poppy hooks, alternately twanging and scorching guitars, rich and pliant harmonies riding Amelia's sweetly gritty, pretty vocals, plus keys, bass, drums and electronic loops played with an appreciative flourish by seasoned pros. Although this record might be a Nashville project in many ways, considering, for example, the fantastic musicianship, crack songwriting and production, and "country music" underpinnings you'll find here, also present is an unexpected element. Informed as much by Hank Williams as by Tom Petty, Amelia White's music has been called "lush independent pop" and "ambient folk-rock." Black Doves also mines a vein of pop-infused alt-country that hearkens to the "Everly Brothers meet the Buckaroos" hits of 80s Nashville duo Foster & Lloyd.
The music on Black Doves might taste good going down, but there's more to sink your teeth into here than bubblegum pop. "I didn't set out to write a political album, but there's definitely an underlying political consciousness here," Amelia says in describing this collection of tunes. "The songs mirror a lot of the feelings many people were having post-911 -- anger at the government as well as a sense of despair mixed with this enduring faith and hope. "Black Doves" is a song of those left behind because of the war, or wars in general in our times; "Snakes and Pushers" is about outrage at corporate powers. "Broke But Not Broken" is a deep-down musician's anthem, which I wrote after 9/11 when no one could get a gig and all the money seemed to be drying up."
Black Doves is more than just a showcase for Amelia's songwriting talents, though. Producers Neilson Hubbard (Matthew Ryan, Garrison Starr) and Brian Brown (Juliana Hatfield, Tanya Donnelly) worked their special brand of magic in the studio, expertly bringing out the "pretty and gritty-ness" of Amelia's voice and songs in the process. "We holed up in a shed in East Nashville, and basically took two weeks to bang this stuff out. It was great to have these Nashville cats -- who had never heard these songs -- come in, take a couple passes at it, and then add a certain element I never could have imagined," Amelia recounts about the recording process.
The Nashville cats she mentions -- top-shelf Nashville players like Doug Lancio (Patty Griffin) and Adam Schoenfeld (Big & Rich) on guitars, John Deaderick (Dixie Chicks) on keys, and Paul Griffith (John Prine) on drums -- along with her long-time musical collaborator (and part of her band the Blue Souvenirs), guitarist Russell Chudnofsky, bond with these songs like butter with bread. The ensemble has a great sensibility and instinct for the material, playing loose while tightly in the pocket, swinging perfectly to accommodate Amelia's vulnerable, sweetly emotive drawl and one-of-a-kind vocal delivery.
Since Amelia moved from Boston to Nashville in 2002, the Virginia-born musician has been writing more than ever before. She's even taken up with other prolific writer-types (like acclaimed indie singer-songwriter Lori McKenna, for instance) and hunkered down in an office on Music Row, co-writing pop-infused gems with a vengeance. She recorded an EP, Candy Heart, at the end of 2004 and has continued to gain attention among press, fellow musicians, and music fans across the country through constant writing, playing and touring, and bringing her down-home warmth and infectious enthusiasm for making music everywhere she goes.
Buy Black Doves.
Visit Amelia's website.
Visit her label, Funzalo Records.
Editors note: Amelia's music received a glowing reception at a recent Durango Songwriters Expo. Her personal warmth, combined with her truly artistic sensibilities and style, will bring her great success, no doubt.
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