Amy Correia

Lakeville

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On 2000's Carnival Love, Amy Correia seemed lost and delirious. She'd fallen out of love, was lost in a carnival, and rode a bike with two flat tires on a trip to find hope. Those stories sort of paralleled her real-life experience, which found the L.A.-based singer and songwriter dropped from Capitol soon after the album's release. Four years on, she's regrouped with her first effort for Nettwerk, entitled Lakeville. Named for her Massachusetts hometown, the album finds Correia more assured of her tasteful, easygoing sound, as well as her place in the world. Opener "59th Street" is gentle, with brushed percussion and slight touches of acoustic guitar and keyboard. The arrangement fits perfectly Correia's memory of a failed romance, because this time around, instead of feeling sorry she just smiles and moves on. "The rain came down on 59th Street," she sings in her smiling, breezy voice, "And I didn't mind at all." "California" is even more content. A tribute to the "brown hills and tiger lily thrills," the song's also a thank-you in the way so many songs about California are -- it's a savior state, a refuge, a place to believe in, and it's been all of that to Correia. The clever wordplay and dreamy lilt of "Stranded" would place it comfortably among the work of young songsmiths like John Mayer and Jason Mraz, while "Beautiful/Ugly" is dusty and echoing, and has an after-hours cabaret quality with its mournful cello and faraway keys. Correia's voice is made for songs like this, where her high register can tingle on the end notes and drawl the lower, sultrier ones. But Lakeville isn't content to linger in the quiet -- remember, this album is all about contentment, and that means anything's game. "Dollar Lake" is an upbeat, nearly honky tonk number with great, chattering acoustic guitar and a classic reverb effect on Correia's vocal, and "The Devil and I" is a low-down blues-influenced cut tinged with rangy pedal steel and suggestive of fellow L.A. chanteuse Eleni Mandell. Correia takes on another, entirely different vocal persona for the track; her versatility throughout Lakeville continues to amaze, and proves the comfort level she must have had during the sessions. It's an album that never acknowledges clich├ęs, is incredibly patient with its instrumentation, and always makes Correia the star of the show. No longer lost, she's learned how to shine with quiet effectiveness.

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