Amy Farris

Anyway

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As a backing player and vocalist for Alejandro Escovedo, Kelly Willis, and others, violinist/singer/songwriter Amy Farris has accumulated substantial experience with some of Austin's most accomplished and recognizable names. On her debut solo disc -- produced by roots rocker Dave Alvin -- Farris proves that she is every bit as talented as those she's played with. Boasting a sensitive but strong voice that merges bits of Patsy Cline, Maria Muldaur, Nanci Griffith, Dolly Parton, and Willis, Farris combines earthy country, folk, swing, and pop to produce an intriguing and thoroughly enjoyable Americana mix. An unusual but striking cover of Scott Walker's "Big Louise" shows that her influences run deeper than the typical strummy Austin fare, and her violin and viola add sadness and a European feel to much of this music. Supported by a terrific band led by Alvin and his associates, Farris is allowed plenty of room to explore her '50s girl group pop roots, mingling them with folk and rock as on the evocative title track. She's just as effective on the pure honky tonk of the Alvin co-write "Pretty Dresses" as on the urging swamp blues with gypsy violin of "My Heart's Too Easy to Break," another Alvin co-write. She gives a jaunty country & western spin to X's "Poor Girl," and even shifts into swinging jazz mode reminiscent of Dan Hicks on "Hard to Say." The disparate genres are joined by Farris' clean, innocent, yet confident vocals that are beautifully captured due in no small part to Alvin's sympathetic production, which never overwhelms her lovely voice. It's a stunning debut that showcases Farris' eclectic influences in a classy and coherent way that plays to her many strengths and shows her to be a vibrant face with a promising future.

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