Amy Speace

Songs for Bright Street

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Signed to the label owned by Judy Collins, singer/songwriter Amy Speace isn't quite folk, country, roots, or pop. Rather, she is a fine blend of all four styles, and she showcases this blend on the breezy, summery "Step Out of the Shade" and the equally adult contemporary folk-pop of "Water Landing," which has Speace coming up roses with her sweet but pure delivery. She also shows a bit more moxie or swagger in the vein of Sheryl Crow or Lucinda Williams during the ragged, rockier, and bluesy "The Heartless Kind." A gentler track along similar lines is the Southern-tinged soul oozing out of the heartfelt "Shed This Skin." In terms of genres, she excels basically all over the place, with a Celtic-tinged "Two" being very gorgeous and resembling something that Kate Rusby or Alison Krauss might conjure up. She outdoes herself, though, with perhaps the album's crowning achievement, a waltz-like ditty entitled "Make Me Lonely Again," which resembles Cowboy Junkies. Another highlight is a honky tonk barroom cover of Blondie's "Dreamin'," which glides across the dusty hardwood dancefloor with terrible ease. The chugging "Row Row Row" has some great vocals from Speace but little else going for it, resulting in a tune that drags along. She hits pay dirt with a punchier arrangement for the toe-tapping, hell-raising "Double Wide Trailer," which could have fallen out of Gretchen Wilson's set list. A much better effort comes with the slow country track "Can't Find a Reason to Cry," which resembles Neko Case covering Patsy Cline. While the singer has talent, she shows that best on the slower relaxing old-school country material.

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