Totally Biased Fan Review: Amanda Cook – Point of No Return

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I never question Kristy Cox. The woman is phenomenal and she has amazing taste. Amanda joined Kristy at Tamworth. New to me, but obviously, she is high class.

I loved what I heard, thus, I bought this album from her. Nice gal too, always a bonus!

As I listen to the album, I can see the connection. Kristy and Amanda have that same vibe.

I told Amanda at Tamworth that I thought that she was a Bonza Sheila…I am not sure that she got what I meant, but I think that she realised it was a compliment.

The songs on this album are of course, heavily grounded in bluegrass and simple country music balladry. Amanda’s Dad was a bluegrass man too, so it was in the blood.

So, the pure, gentle voice of Amanda Cook and the polished musicianship of her band go hand in hand. This is a finger pickin’ good album. It is easy to listen to, the toes are tapping and you mellow out.

It is one of those albums which let you ease in on the comfortable chair and think about the beauty and the presentation of such gently delivered sweet albums.

For those who get lost in fiddles and gentle guitar chords, it is an easy ride. For those of us who love some pickin’ and some sweet refrains, it is also a favourite. There are some thoughtful lyrics and interesting meanings….I have always thought of proper  bluegrass as mountain music with a touch of sentimentality. Nothing wrong with that.

I don’t know what Amanda thought of Australia, but boy, did she leave a great impression on those whom she shared a moment with.

 

Come back soon. We want to hear more.

 

Tracks:

Point of no return (Ashby Frank/Caroline Necktunes Music)

You Were Mine (Carolyne VanLierop/Valley Beautiful Music)

Time To say Goodbye (Amanda Cook, Carolyne VanLierop/ Mountain  Fever Music Publishing)

Good Enough (Ain’t Good Enough) (Thomm Jutz, sierra Hull, Andrea Zonn/Thomm Songs.

Calhoun County – (Carolyne VanLierop/Valley Beautiful Music)

Sarah, Dear – (Amanda Cook, Thomm Jutz)

Lonesome Soul – Michael Ramsey

Standing ‘Cross the River – Amanda Cook, Thomm Jutz

Two Acres at a time – Milan Miller, Thomm Jutz

My favourite memory – Merle Haggard

Will you be leaving – John Pennell

Musos:

Amanda Cook – Lead Vocal

Carolyne Vanlierop – banjo and vocals

Joshua Faul – bass and vocals

George Mason – fiddle

Brandon Bostic – guitar, dobro, vocals

Aaron Ramsey- mandolin and vocals.

 

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Totally Biased Fan Review: Harmony James – Resignation

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The last time that I saw Harmony James LIVE was when she supported Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell in Sydney. I have always loved her music. From small venues to big venues, from alone to supporting Australia’s best to International’s best, she has always been awesome. On the way out of Emmylou and Rodney’s gig, Harmony was packing up her merch and I waved to her as I stood in the cattle crawl queue going out of the venue. She smiled and said Hi Kaz, and everyone in the long line looked at me. “She’s the best.” I told them. They nodded. One guy pat me on the shoulder and said “She stole the show. ” He waved one of her albums at me _ ” I didn’t know her until tonight. Now I know her.”

Harmony has gone into a self imposed hibernation recently, or at least a different path.  When she announced that she finally had a new album out after a long hiatus – there were cheers and comments from everyone. She is a favourite amongst her peers and with those of us who are extremely intelligent. I guess it is what you call a cult following.

I don’t know the full story, it was a change-up, but whatever the reasons, I am glad that Harmony is back.

Such a wonderful team of musicians and great that Lachlan Bryan and D.Caf have a note of encouragement in this. I have seen Harmony support them. What a gig.

This is one of my most longed for albums. I can tell you country music fans, it is sad that we have had to wait so long, but my oh my, it is worth the wait.

 

 

Tracks:

Change

An obvious first up title for this album. A catchy tune with clever lyrics.

Grief

For a sad song, it is surprisingly upbeat. It really shouldn’t be that uplifting!

Little Kindnesses

Really the answer to all of the questions. This woman should be bigger than she is. How remarkable. She is worthy of any International and National recognition. Gobsmacking.

Anna 0 –  Harmony has put a footnote to this song _ Anna O was the code name for Bertha Pappenheim, a psychotherapy patient in the Freud era and one of the loneliest souls to put pen to paper. I really don’t think that I need to say more than that.

The life She Left – One of my favourite songs on the album. Harmony being Harmony. Totally awesome vocals and the words and music are just so high quality. Just bloody magnificent. One of my favourite songs of the year, so far.

The bed That you Made – This song is co-written with my mate, Eightball Aitken. You can tell that from the opening bars….I really didn’t need to read the credits! A bluesy, rich, head wobbling song. Oh yeah.

I can wait – A mellow start and a carefully crafted song. A gentle lilt and and a nice easy vibe. Another fave on this album. Gentle and sweet.

Concrete Shoes: Again…an upbeat rhythm with a deeper, edgey message. It is what Harmony pulls off best.

Can I Be That To You: Maybe something that she learned from Emmylou Harris. Such a sweet, beautiful love song. So tender and heart warming. At the same time, it is an honest plead.

Bird in The Hand: My first love in music is folk music. I think that this song fits that world. I am a 60’s Aquarian child, after all. I am sitting here in my Woodstock shirt, after all!

Harmony James is one of Australia’s ever greatest talents. It is so great to have her back, even if it is just for a little while.

All songs: Music and Lyrics by Harmony James except The Bed That You Made – Harmony James and Eightball Aitken and Anna O – Harmony James (Lyrics by B Papperheim (circa 1910)

Production Glen Hannah

Drums: Josh  Schuberth

Bass: Matt Fell

Guitars, Banjo, Percussion, Bass, Mandolin: Glen Hannah

Dobro: James Church

Backing Vocals: James Gillard and Glen Hannah

Fiddle Eamoh Mcloughlin

Mixing: ted howard

Mastering: Jeff McCormack.