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Snow Shadows: Songs of Vince Martin

Alana Amram and the Rough Gems

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iTunes Editors’ Notes

Americana chanteuse Alana Amram assembled her twangy outfit The Rough Gems to pay an unexpected but not undeserved tribute to Vince Martin: an American folk singer and songwriter most noted for his work on the 1964 album Tear Down the Walls with Fred Neil. But on the way to revamping and recording the songs for 2011’s Snow Shadows: Songs of Vince Martin, Amram also reunited Van Dyke Parks, John Sebastian, and Martin himself, who all play together here for the first time in more than 35 years. Parks’ lush string arrangements introduce the opening cover of “Fayetteville” before Sebastian’s unmistakable harmonica style accompanies Amram’s brazen voice. The following “Sea Bird” is more stripped down than its predecessor—here Sebastian’s brother Mark accompanies a softer-singing Amram with a chiming 12-string acoustic guitar. Some '70s-flavored country rock surfaces on a handsome cover of “South Wind,” where watery pedal steel notes intertwine with Amram’s subtle drawl. Hearing Martin croon in weathered lead vocals on the closing song, “Honest Joe,” helps bring this homage full circle.

Snow Shadows: Songs of Vince Martin, Alana Amram and the Rough Gems
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