# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Amy Speace - The Killer in Me

  by Malcolm Carter

published: 6 / 6 / 2009

Amy Speace - The Killer in Me
Label: Wildflower
Format: CD


Strong second album from talented American singer-songwriter Amy Speace, which is being released on Judy Collins' Wildflower label

I have to admit that I was expecting to like this album. Expecting to like it a lot in fact. After rating, along with many others, Amy Speace’s debut album for Judy Collins Widflower label, ‘Songs For Bright Street’, I would have been very surprised if the talented American singer / songwriter had delivered a bad follow-up, so strong was that last album. It seems that I am not the only one who is not disappointed with the thirteen new songs Amy has written or co-written for ‘The Killer In Me’. With no cover version this time to take any attention away from her own compositions (last time Amy and The Tearjerks covered Blondie’s ‘Dreaming’ which I’m still trying to recover from) these songs are both more immediate and stronger than those on ‘Songs For Bright Street’. Produced again by James Mastro and engineered and mixed by the ever-brilliant Mitch Easter who have managed to capture a live, real sound which may have something to do with the fact that the songs were recorded on analogue tape and most of the songs featured here are the first or second takes which surely plays part in the freshness of the songs. It’s easy, in fact, to close your eyes when listening to any of these songs, but to take just one we’ll say ‘Haven’t Learned A Thing’, and imagine being in the studio with Amy while they were taping the song. There’s closeness, an intimacy even, that flows throughout the songs that only talents like Easter and Mastro can capture. On a song like ‘Haven’t Learned A Thing’ which is just Amy on guitar and Jane Scarpantoni playing the cello obviously that intimacy is to be expected somewhat but on a track which features the full band like the following song, ‘Storm Warning’ or ‘Something More Than Rain’ where the band let loose a little more, that intimacy is still evident. As with the songs on ‘Bright Street’ Amy again shines lyrically. Never one to hide her feelings Amy is unafraid to tell it like it is. At the risk of repeating myself I must say again that Amy doesn’t just write lyrics but her songs are like little stories set to music. To take the aforementioned ‘Haven’t Learnt A Thing’, Amy starts the song by telling us, “I have failed and I have fallen, cried till I was bawling, Been down so low my face was on the tiles, where the cold against my lips, hollow like your kiss, was empty as a North Dakota mile’ in a voice that is dripping with emotion before informing us that “the only thing I’ve learned is that I haven’t learned a thing” with Scarpantoni’s cello matching the sadness in Amy’s vocals it’s a heart-breaking experience. All the comparisons to Lucinda Williams seem pretty pointless now, with songs of the calibre of ‘The Killer In Me’ where Amy blends a country tune with her soulful vocals Amy has now reached the point where her latest album is actually better than the last album Lucinda produced ; Amy really has progressed and is now at the top of her game. At this present moment in time she has raised the bar and Lucinda and the rest have a new girl to try to better in future. Last time around Amy received help from a few famous friends like Gary Louris (Jayhawks) and the E Street Band’s Soozie Tyrell and this time former Mott The Hoople front man Ian Hunter lends vocal support on a couple of tracks. It shows how well respected Amy is among her fellow musicians that she can attract help from other established artists. As strong as each and every song is on this album it’s almost as if Amy and her band mates saved the best for last. The penultimate track on the album is ‘Piece By Piece’, another slab of country / soul with David Jackson doing what he did on the last album, supplying soulful touches with his keyboard sound and the rest of the band turning in what must be their best performance on this album. Then there is silence before the last ‘hidden’ song appears, ‘ Weight Of The World’ which features just Amy on guitar and vocals telling the tale of losing a brother who joined the army to war. It’s a stark piece with cutting lyrics which you can’t fail to be moved by. It appears that Judy Collins, with all her years in the music business, has the experience to know a true talent when she sees and hears one. She must be proud to have a major artist like Amy Speace on her label.

Track Listing:-
1 Dog Days
2 The Killer in Me
3 Better
4 Blue Horizon
5 This Love
6 Haven't Learned a Thing
7 Storm Warning
8 Something More Than Rain
9 Would I Lie
10 Dirty Little Secret
11 I Met My Love
12 Piece by Piece
13 Weight of the World (Bonus)

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Me and the Ghost of Charlemagne (2019)
Enthralling seventh solo album from Amy Speace and her best yet displaying her skill at setting short stories to music.
Songs for Bright Street (2007)

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