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Everything and Nothing Too

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Album Review

It's a shame that Amy Allison's peculiar little voice is sometimes an impediment for some people, because a close listen to the singer's Everything and Nothing Too reveals a songwriter of extraordinary breadth and depth. She had been locked into the odd country chanteuse thing for a while. (Emerging in New York City in the early '90s, she was alt-country when alt-country wasn't cool, as the saying goes.) But she has fully broken from the constraints of that fantastical honky tonk in the sky, where proverbial tears are shed in proverbial beers and a cherub plays a pedal steel instead of a harp. The movement toward pretty, pretty "love pop" laced with myriad influences and intentions began on 2003's No Frills Friend, and here the evolution culminates in an album of breathtakingly beautiful pop songs. There is a gripping yet light beauty to "Don't You Know Anything," light in the breezy instrumentation, gripping in the intensity of Allison's yearning, borderline Fatal Attraction lyrics: "Don't you know anything? I'll never let you go," she sweetly croons over delicately plucked acoustic guitar. The Europop, jazzy "Don't Go to Sleep" might be one of Allison's most masterful ballads ever, proving once and for all that she is indeed Mose Allison's daughter. (Elvis Costello has been singing her songwriting praises for years, and the bespectacled one himself would be proud to call this song his own.) In fact, her dad makes an appearance here, guesting on his own "Was." Another wonderful surprise is a banging, Byrds-like version of Morrissey's "Every Day Is Like Sunday." It seems almost too easy and perfect a choice for Allison, an artist who usually seems to challenge herself — and she doesn't try to rework it much at all — but at the end of the day, it's just perfect.


Born: Long Island, NY

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Amy Allison may be the daughter of jazz/blues legend Mose Allison, but the New York-based singer/songwriter is a pure country chanteuse known for her oddly distinctive voice (think Victoria Williams or Kate Jacobs) and gut-wrenching songs. She started her performing career in the late '80s, playing such well-known New York City roots music venues as the Rodeo Bar backed by her longtime band the Maudlins. She released critically acclaimed albums with that group and as one-half of the duo Parlor James...
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Everything and Nothing Too, Amy Allison
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