Amelia White



“All I wanna do is get up there and sing.

I don’t wanna hear about ice on the wing.”

And there you have the greatest couplet in history that encapsulates a musician’s road life. The hazards, fatigue, poverty, all that’s endured just so you can get up in front of people and play your songs. The icy-wing tale “Get to the Show” is a nicely loose rocking paean to the job as a troubadour. “No matter where you are, there’s always somewhere else to go,” Amelia White sings, and she nails it.

Her extraordinary new release Love I Swore (coming February 23, 2024), is both bracing and sweet. The songs are crafted meticulously by producer (and performer in her own right) Kim Richey, who brings out musicality and copious golden backing vocals. The record is like a quilt in which every square sewn on is a variation from the one next to it. There is some rock and roll, some catchy pop, good country and also a brooding intensity when such is called for.

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On Love I Swore, whether White lyrically deals with loneliness, bears deep down about relationships, learns how love is hard work, gives the middle finger to the soul-sucking marriage-killing road life, there is a tongue wedged ever so slightly into her cheek and the record is leavened with lots of simple happiness itself and pure love with no agenda. The partnership with Kim has turned out a record so tuneful, so damn catchy, it’s a war story where joy wins out. With Kim Richey’s forte in vocal harmonies and her extensive knowledge of the structures of what makes a great song, Amelia was fertile ground and Kim worked a mean plow. Without a compromise of Amelia’s honest integrity, Love I Swore is, dare say it, accessible. Non-Americana civilians might even warm to this one. Dare to dream.

“It’s funny,” Amelia says, “but for me, I’ve been in a long relationship, and I wrote this record in a period where I thought I was going to lose that relationship. So, there’s that theme, keeping love going when you’re having to re-meet each other every time I return home. I have this great idea, halfway houses where partners can come over and visit us traveling musicians in there and as we get reacquainted with real life.”

Kim says, “Roger Nichols engineered it, and is a major part of the whole record. We made the record in Roger’s studio, which is about as big as somebody’s living room, with one isolation booth. We were jam-packed in there. There’s one booth, so we had the drums in there, and all the rest of us were sitting in the control room with Roger. It was cozy.” She laughs.

“We went through a whole bunch and decided which songs worked for the record,” Kim says. “I think that Amelia’s strongest thing is the songwriting. It wasn’t done quickly. A lot of hours were put into the record, especially with Roger and I. And Amelia was really amenable to reworking the songs if we needed to.” They also had some great musicians to goose along such proceedings: Doug Lancio on guitar, Mark Pisapia on drums, Billy Harvey on bass and Amelia cutting loose with her own acoustic and electric guitars.

Choice tunes abound, but to single some out we can go with “Beautiful Dream” which sounds like one and coins the musician’s motto, “It’s hard to wake up to the setting sun.” The captivating jangle of a mandolin and guitar with gorgeous voices of “Don’t You Ever Forget”, the murky minor-key title track that would fit comfortably alongside Dylan’s “Time Out of Mind” until it explodes into rocking deliciousness halfway through.  “Time,” co-written with Mando Saenz, is arpeggiated deliciousness about a “bird on a wing with X-ray eyes.”

No teenage starlet, Amelia shouldered her guitar in Boston for years, then Seattle, and now in East Nashville, where she’s been in the trenches for a good many years. Google “paid her dues” and there she is, with her reddish-brown shoulder length locks, eyeglasses and a smile. Then the unthinkable happened – her 2019 record Rhythm of the Rain actually stuck to the wall, doing well in the charts and spring-boarding Amelia from playing Tuesday nights for tips to actually headlining venues and god forbid getting somewhere! It couldn’t happen to a better artist, and one listen to Love I Swore will be a very convincing listen to one of America’s great “new” singer-songwriters. She just wants to get up and sing and she couldn’t care less about any ice on the wing.

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