Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Amy Correia introduces herself as a new songwriting voice

June 11, 2012

I was traveling for the better part of six weeks recently, in which I did almost no writing. You’d think that my chops would appreciate a three-fortnight vacation after two years of near-daily use, but I just found that they were less enthusiastic about this reprieve than I expected. A few minutes ago I found myself 400 words into a “review” of Amy Correia‘s excellent You Go Your Way without mentioning her once, but I had linked to an Amy Grant music video (?) and a Malcolm Gladwell piece. No one will ever read that article.

But I hope a whole bunch of people read this one and are inspired to purchase You Go Your Way. Correia has an enveloping voice and a unique take on the singer/songwriter genre, making her 11-song collection riveting listening. She kicks the album off with a rather astonishing three-punch combo of the title track, “Love Changes Everything,” and “Powder Blue Trans Am.”

“You Go Your Way” grooves hard on a staccato piano rhythm, unusual percussion, dramatic strings and sassy alto vocals; Correia arranges the song so that it’s a powerhouse of a tune without resorting to vocal theatrics. “Love Changes Everything” carries over the strings and Correia’s alto, but everything else is different. Correia is plaintive and earnest in vocals and arrangement here, dropping the sassy piano for a gently romantic acoustic guitar. The strings and percussion augment the melodies perfectly, and the song soars to become my favorite on the album. “Powder Blue Trans Am” shows off the character-development/storytelling aspect of Correia’s songwriting, as an acoustic honky-tonk vibe underscores the tale of an aging woman “way past 21” who “can’t get a man, doing everything I can, comin’ round the corner in my powder blue Trans Am.” The details are gripping, and the dramatic vocal performance sells the whole thing perfectly. In three tunes, she’s conquered three distinct sounds. Wow.

Correia spends the rest of the album bouncing through these genres and playing with these sounds. She’s fond of strings (“City Girl,” “Old Habits”) and gospel vibes (“Oh Lord,” “Celli Singing to Us”), which are both things I’m 100% behind. The one lowlight is when she takes her strings and guitar playing into a classical vein on “Rock, Tree, River”; the starkly serious tune doesn’t really fit in the off-the-cuff vibe of the album. That’s not to say that these songs aren’t intricately constructed: Correia just pulls them off with such ease that they feel casual and inviting. “Rock, Tree, River” doesn’t have that vision.

You Go Your Way has a rare spark. The album glides along at its own pace, unfurling interesting characters, insights and melodies along the way. It’s an album of surprises that sounds instantly familiar; I feel like I’ve been listening to it for far longer than I have. Fans of folk, singer/songwriter and strong female voices would do well to check out Amy Correia; I look forward to hearing her make waves in the near future.

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Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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