Colony House has impressed me repeatedly in the short time they’ve been around, but this takes the cake. They’ve made the studio video (which I am usually bored by) into something exciting and vibrant. It helps that “Waiting For My Time to Come” is an excellent tune that combines U2 melodies with low-slung roots-rock precision, then throws some horns and a choir of friends at it. They won’t have to wait much longer with songs like this one. Can we get NeedtoBreathe on the phone?
Amy Correia is still incredible, just in case you had forgotten. This live cut of “City Girl” is way fun. Also, note that she’s playing a tenor ukulele slung like a punk rock guitar.
Kylie Odetta has pipes similar to Adele and lyrics like Lady Gaga, making this a pretty appealing piano-and-vocals performance.
I usually like to get this post to a nice round number, but I didn’t get it there this year. Here’s what my year sounded like, y’all! This post isn’t ranked; instead, it’s a playlist of sorts. My ranked post will come tomorrow.
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.