Amy LaVere & Shannon McNally Join Forces!

Amy LaVere and Shannon McNally have teamed up and will release their debut collaborative EP, Chasing The Ghost Rehearsal Sessions, on October 23rd. Brought together by their mutual mentor to form the band The Wandering, the two female singer-songwriters immediately clicked, jammed and recorded the EP. Says McNally of their chemistry, “We were both instantly struck by our numerous similarities. It’s not your average gal that drinks bourbon neat, walks around with a pocket atlas and a drives a big white gear van. I thought she was charming and awfully funny.” You can stream two songs, “Never Been Sadder” and “If It Were Mine to Keep,” from the EP below. McNally seems to have added some pep to LaVere’s noirish Memphis sound.

Buy @ Amazon (available Oct. 23rd)

Chasing The Ghost Official Site (Buy CD)

Giveaway: Win Amy LaVere’s New CD!

Contest Closed

Muruch and Archer Records are giving away one copy of Amy LaVere’s new CD, Stranger Me. You can read my review of the album by clicking here and the contest details are below…

The Prize:

One winner will receive:
1 Amy LaVere: Stranger Me CD

The Rules:

Comment to this entry with “Stranger” and your email address. All new comments are moderated to avoid spam (which is why you must include the required text in your comment), so it may take a day for your comment to appear if you haven’t commented on Muruch before.

Note: This contest is open to everyone, but all contestants must enter with a valid email address to qualify. The winner of the contest will also be required to provide me with their full name and postal address for shipping purposes.

The Deadline:

The contest will end on Friday, August 19th. The winner will be chosen at random and contacted via email.

Go now go! And tell others.

Amy LaVere – Damn Love Song (mp3 clip)*
Amy LaVere – Red Banks (mp3 clip)*
*mp3 clips hosted by Archer Records

Album Review

Buy @ Amazon

Stranger Me - Amy LaVere

Amy LaVere Official Site

Amy LaVere: Stranger Me

Amy LaVere‘s new album, Stranger Me, mostly abandons the Americana sound of her last full-length, Anchors & Anvils, to delve deeper into the rock and pop experimentation she merely toyed with on the Died of Love EP, this time with more of a low key, indie- slant. Themes of loss and heartbreak ribbon through the album, the recording of which followed the death of Amy’s mentor and producer, Jim Dickinson, the breakup of her band and the end of a long romantic and creative relationship.

The militant drum beat that heralds Amy’s growl of “here’s your damn love song” tells you upfront this isn’t the same smiling, quirky upright bass player we first came to know and love.

“You Can’t Keep Me” has a slightly faster pop tempo, but Amy’s distinctive voice and retro pop flourishes in the arrangement make it anything but ordinary.

The stand out track “Red Banks” recalls Anchors & Anvils‘ “Killing Him” by churning an eerie murder ballad with thunderous blasts of blues-rock guitar.

The trippy cover of Captain Beefheart’s “Candle Mambo” is another highlight. The beginning of the song somehow reminds me of Primitive Radio Gods’ “Standing Outside A Broken Phone Booth With Money In My Hand” and culminates in a spectacular whirl of carnival music.

Aside from that stunning cover, the second half of the album is a very somber affair. As with Ryan Adams and Sarah Borges, I might like Amy’s melancholy indie side better if her earlier alt-country releases hadn’t been so unusual, spirited and captivating. However, my disappointment results only from my familiarity with the artist’s previous work rather than any weakness in this current effort and the sorrowful tone is very appropriate considering the circumstances surrounding its creation.

Amy LaVere – Damn Love Song (mp3 clip)*
Amy LaVere – Red Banks (mp3 clip)*

*mp3 clips hosted by Archer Records

Amy LaVere – Red Banks (YouTube Live Video)

Buy @ Amazon

Stranger Me - Amy LaVere

Amy LaVere Official Site

Amy LaVere

Memphis singer-songwriter and upright bass player Amy LaVere is one of those wonderfully unique artists that was almost lost to me beneath the massive waves of music I’ve been hit by in recent years. I missed her at Mountain Stage last year, never got around to listening to her album, and had all but forgotten about her since then. But her dazzling performance on PBS’ Sun Studios series finally prompted me to check out her music, and what a wonder she turned out to be.

they fought through the morning & all of the day
she’d have to kill him to get him to stay
killing him didn’t make the love go away

The smooth studio production of Amy LaVere’s sophomore album Anchors & Anvils doesn’t quite capture the excitement of the live Sun Studios set, but it’s still a great album.

The lilting charm of Amy’s voice is certainly a big draw. Her beautiful inflections and unusual vocal phrasing remind me of both Billie Holiday and Emiliana Torrini. In addition to crooning with that fantastic voice of hers, Amy plays upright bass accompanied by drummer Paul Taylor and guitarist Steve Selvidge.

What really stands out about her music is the way she layers that gently curious cadence with instrumentation influenced equally by classic country and punk-rock. This terrifically twisted genre blend is a result of the traditional country music Amy heard as a child and the punk beginnings of her own musical career in the band Last Minute.

Most of the arrangements on Anchors & Anvils – such as “Time is a Train” and “Pointless Drinking” – lean more toward the country side of things, resting somewhere between bluegrass and Appalachian folk.

It’s the songs that veer from the traditional path that truly set Amy apart from everyone else. The stand outs tracks are the jazzy, sweetly venomous murder ballad “Killing Him,” the melancholy waltz “Overcome,” and especially the rhythmic, discontented housewife anthem “Washing Machine.”

the chains on the front porch swing
were creaking like steps in the dark
one day soon this is all gonna end

Amy’s new EP Died of Love finds her taking an even more interesting, slightly harder direction with her music. I hope she will continue this experimentation with psychedelic folk-rock on future albums. The EP includes a selection of traditional songs like “Railroad Boy (Died of Love)” and a cover Michelle Shocked’s “If Love was a Train.” There’s also a new, rocked up “reloaded” version of “Washing Machine.”

Archer Records has generously granted me permission to share both versions of “Washing Machine.” The first is the original from Anchors & Anvils and the second is the new rock version from Died of Love. If you like either track, I highly recommend purchasing both albums.

Amy LaVere – Washing Machine (mp3 expired)*
Amy LaVere – Washing Machine (Reloaded) (mp3 expired)*

*mp3s provided by & posted w/ permission of Archer Records for a limited time

Amy LaVere – Killing Him (Sun Studios) (YouTube Video)

Buy Anchors & Anvils @ Amazon

Buy Died of Love @ Amazon

Amy LaVere

Amy LaVere Official Site

Amy LaVere MySpace