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Amanda Richards — Tough Ones to Love (Nov 04, 2016)

Amanda Richards — Tough Ones to Love (Nov 04, 2016)

    Amanda Richards — Tough Ones to Love (Nov 04, 2016)  Amanda Richards — Tough Ones to Love (Nov 04, 2016)♠   Breaking from recent convention, we bring you a real treat tonight, with an exclusive album from an award winning songwriter.
Born: April 25, 1983, Orange, California
Location: Orange County, CA ~ Portland, Oregon
Album release: Nov 04, 2016
Record Label: Amanda Lucielle Richards
Duration:     44:26
01 Fresh Kill     3:49
02 Last Train     3:32
03 Close to Me     3:44
04 Another Temptation     2:12
05 First There Was     5:22
06 Wheat I Mean to Say     2:53
07 Lame Tattoos     3:37
08 Cinderella’s Waltz     4:28
09 Cry of the Wild Goose     2:16
10 Devastatingly     2:02
11 Nothing More Flammable Than Sentiment     2:29
12 Two Characters in Search of a Country Song     3:27
13 Hanging On     4:35
℗ 2016 Amanda Lucielle Richards
♠   Last Train EP (2002)
♠   Not Always Sexy (2004)
♠   Live at Mississippi Studios (2006)
♠   Who Has Your Heart (2009)
♠   Play Dead (2011)
♠   Bleak Winter (Audio & Video Labs, Inc./?)
♠   Who Has Your Heart (CD Baby/?)
♠   Tough Ones to Love (2016)
Nick Jarman, December 9, 2016;  Score: 9/10
♠   A beautifully crafted neo~traditional album full of lyrical witticisms and sharp instrumental backing. A must~listen.
♠   Sometimes a record comes along and completely blows you away. Amanda Richards won’t be unfamiliar with this concept having been Grammy~nominated as an independent artist, but Tough Ones to Love is very much in this category, with the songwriting and vocals being absolutely in~sync, alongside the musicality of Amanda’s long~time band The Good Long While.
♠   Whilst the lead single ‘Fresh Kill’ kicks off the album in an underwhelming bluegrass fashion, the rest of the record is solid, with the second track “Last Train” showing how very accomplished Amanda is as a writer and vocalist. Her voice is so refreshing, and the style of music so organic that it is so easy to get caught up in the gripping story told about a man begging for a woman’s hand, and leaving after rejection. Once Amanda’s character realises she misses him it is too late, and this story of regret and loss is absolutely fantastic listening, not purely for the vocals and the writing, but also for the great music in the background.
♠   This musicality continues in “Close to Me” with a sharp lap~steel introducing the song. “Close to Me” is a little less traditional in style, with more of a folk~pop leaning and being a love song rather than a story song. More upbeat is “Another Temptation” which contains a faster percussion backing and male harmonies to accompany Amanda’s more fiery offering. Again, the lap~steel is on point, and is becoming a recurring highlight throughout the record.
♠   “First There Was” is the first chance we get to hear a duet on the record, and Steve Moore, the aforementioned superb lap~steel player takes the lead vocals on the track, with great harmonies with Amanda on the chorus. It’s great to hear the change~up in style, and Steve has a great voice for down~to~earth storytelling and blends well with the blemish~less Amanda Richards. It’s great to hear the talents of the band being utilised, and it isn’t hard to imagine that “First There Was” would be a staple of the live show, with great chemistry between Steve and Amanda.
♠   “Cinderella’s Waltz” is the first real taste we get of the electric guitar. Not that this means there are rock ‘n roll solos, but the guitar backing has the electronic edge, aiding the drama of the song which is quietly dramatic, focusing on the fallacy of fairy tales and the difference in reality. Melodically it is enthralling, and equipped with Steve on his lap~steel the song is so complete~sounding it is show~stopping. With lyrics you could listen to for hours, “Cinderella’s Waltz” is a real highlight of a great album.
♠   A starring role is given to the banjo on “Nothing More Flammable Than Sentiment” which revolves around the tumultuous nature of relationships. “The strike of a match/ Memories aflame/ Nothing but a ghost of our love remains” is one of the great lyrics in this short song, almost styled as a perverse nursery rhyme displaying a dark humour through it’s fairly upbeat tempo and sprightly lyrics focusing on relationships crashing and burning. It’s quite humorous in a way, and is quite interestingly styled, so much so that due to it’s short 2:29 length, it is worth a repeat or two!
♠   Tough Ones to Love is a wonderful record, musically sharp, lyrically beautiful and thematically tragic and beautiful all in one. Amanda has a marvellously emotive voice, and her band are amongst the best proponents of their craft I’ve heard. I can’t wait to delve into more of her music.   ♠   http://americana-uk.com/
Website: https://amandarichards.net/
♠   Amanda Richards creates her distinctive alternative country music deftly balanced on the fulcrum between tradition and contemporary rock innovation. It has won the Portland, OR~based singer, songwriter, musician and entertainer an Independent Music Award, six first~round Grammy nominations, critical acclaim, international attention, leading light stature on her city’s burgeoning neo~roots scene with her band The Good Long Whiles, and devoted fans that savor the sharpness she brings to a wealth of tried and true musical sounds. Over the course of five albums this multi~talented young woman has risen to become an artist making her mark in Americana and beyond. As critic Paul Riley declares in England’s Country Music People, “Right now I regard Amanda Richards one of country music’s most important singers.”
♠   She certainly has stamped her singular imprint with her 2011 release, Play Dead, a wry and delightfully frightening musical indie zombie flick in song that prompted Willamette Week to observe, “If Sam Raimi and Bonnie Raitt had a baby, it might turn out an awful lot like Amanda Richards.” Her deft feel for the finest old~school country, rock, blues and folk strains is something she comes by honestly and in fact genetically as the granddaughter of Rusty Richards, who sang and played with cowboy music legends The Sons of the Pioneers for nearly two decades and is the patriarch of a family musical lineage Amanda now advances into the third generation. It takes just a listen to agree with the Portland Tribune that she “not only sings her heart out and picks guitar, she’s also pretty dang funny,” and, as Whisperin and Hollerin declares, “is a fine storyteller, narrating her tales of heartache with a brutally honest pen.”
♠   Born into music in Orange County, CA while her father led one the area’s leading outlaw C&W acts, Jason Richards & the Silverado Band, Amanda was stepping up onstage to sing with her father at his standing shows at Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm and other Southern California venues from soon after she started to walk. As she explains, “Music has been my whole thing my whole life” ~ alongside such other artistic pursuits as a henna body artist, interior designer, muralist and more ~ “and I got really comfortable when I was really young singing in front of people.” At age 17 Richards played her first paid solo show: four hours onstage that earned her $400. “After that every other gig I did was easy.”
♠   Not much later she made her recorded debut in 2001 with an EP, Last Train, followed by the albums Not Always Sexy (2004) and Live at Mississippi Studios (2006). With Who Has Your Heart in 2009 Richards earned Grammy nominations for Song of the Year, Best Female Country Performance, and two nods each for Record of the Year and Best Country Song. Play Dead won the Best Concept Album Independent Music Award, and was hailed as a “masterpiece... incredible” (Country Music People) and “both sweet and enduring” (Portland Mercury). Two years later she refashioned eight classic Christmas songs into an imaginatively unique holiday album, Bleak Winter.
♠   Richards has become a frequent and popular presence on the Portland live music scene, playing with her band ~ Steve Moore on lap steel, banjo and guitar, bassist Andrew Clapp and drummer Mark Powers ~ as well as solo and in duo configurations at such venues as the Aladdin and Alberta Rose Theaters, Laurelthirst Public House and other Portland area clubs. She has been featured on NPR’s River City Folk in an hour~long interview and appeared at SXSW 2008 as a finalist in FameCast’s Pop Phenom competition live show and webcast. Her Play Dead performances have evolved into musical theater extravaganzas with Amanda and her musicians playing out the story in full undead regalia.
♠   It all adds up to a “bold~voiced artist” (CoOpted), “highly talented songwriter” (Country Music People), alluring live performer who takes audiences on a journey through many different styles and moods, and skilled songwriter whose releases are delicately crafted and beautifully realized. “She’s spellbinding across the spectrum,” concludes the Portland Tribune, “and a standout whose star is on the rise.”

Amanda Richards — Tough Ones to Love (Nov 04, 2016)


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