10 Songs, 36 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

A pedal steel guitar follows her subdued bluesy croon on the saloon-ready “Should I Go Now,” and it’s apparent that Alana Amram could sing this song for an hour and never break the hypnotic spell; so strong is the connection between musicians. Yet just three minutes and 18 seconds later it’s onto another slice of life, with the trudging, dirty rock ’n’ roll of “Motorbike,” where the pedal steel distorts in the place where most bands have a lead guitarist. The Rough Gems' pedal steel virtuoso Philip Sterk is arguably Amram’s best weapon yet to complement her sound. But it’s also because Amram is writing songs that her voice can carry and make her own. The Lucinda Williams–like ballad of “Another World” builds slowly with simple acoustic guitar chords that never wear out under the right conditions. Throughout this small-band singer/songwriter album, there’s never a false note or moment from this upstate N.Y.-bred troubadour. There are even a few Neil Young & Crazy Horse–type surprises near the album’s end.

EDITORS’ NOTES

A pedal steel guitar follows her subdued bluesy croon on the saloon-ready “Should I Go Now,” and it’s apparent that Alana Amram could sing this song for an hour and never break the hypnotic spell; so strong is the connection between musicians. Yet just three minutes and 18 seconds later it’s onto another slice of life, with the trudging, dirty rock ’n’ roll of “Motorbike,” where the pedal steel distorts in the place where most bands have a lead guitarist. The Rough Gems' pedal steel virtuoso Philip Sterk is arguably Amram’s best weapon yet to complement her sound. But it’s also because Amram is writing songs that her voice can carry and make her own. The Lucinda Williams–like ballad of “Another World” builds slowly with simple acoustic guitar chords that never wear out under the right conditions. Throughout this small-band singer/songwriter album, there’s never a false note or moment from this upstate N.Y.-bred troubadour. There are even a few Neil Young & Crazy Horse–type surprises near the album’s end.

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