Amelia White & Brett Ryan Stewart
Cutting Edge Country Duets With A Classic Twist or Two.
I’ve been a fan of Amelia White for a few years now; so much so I occasionally play her albums for ‘fun’ and ‘relaxation;’ which may sound odd ……. but with so much new music to review during the week, Sunday’s are precious to us and generally mean delving deep into my/our music collection for something to play; so anything from the last ten years that gets on to the hi fi has to be very special indeed.
So when Amelia got in touch recently asking nicely if I’d give a listen to a new project with her friend Brett Ryan Stewart, my Scooby-Senses went into overdrive.
As she insisted this is not a normal Amelia White album; but a bunch of duets; so I wasn’t too surprised to hear a rich and smouldering man’s voice on opening track Somebody to Hold; a love song in the mould of Tammy and George if George was substituted by Charlie Rich, methinks.
Absolutely gorgeous and swoonsome, with some sublime guitar, deeply emotional viola and violin (from Molly Thomas) and accordion behind the star struck couple ……. just the sort of thing you’d expect to hear from Tim and Faith; but increasingly you’d be disappointed as Music Row’s favourite couple go full on Power-Pop.
It’s the same with Like I Do, which follows …….. slow burning and simmering; will their love explode or implode? Only time will tell.
The all too short EP close with Boom Boom; NO not the John Lee Hooker Classic; but a crisp and sharp Country sizzler with the couple surrounded by a sympathetic band and numerous finger clicks and handclaps as the two very disparate voices melt together to form a single sound that will tug at your already shredded heartstrings.
Which brings me to my Favourite Song here; the dark and gloomy Mr. Sunshine; which is predominantly Stewart on his own pouring his broken heart out over some shimmering guitar and a drum beat that sounds like continuous punches to the jaw; but never strong enough to knock you out ….. just soften you up as Stewart’s world weary and achingly beautiful lyrics take you out when you’re least expecting it.
7 or 8 years ago I had a period when Country Couples were being heralded as ‘the next big thing’ and personally, I was disappointed that apart from My Darling Clementine they all more or less disappeared into the ether after delivering some great debut albums.
Which is what I fear will happen here; especially as Amelia White has a new Kim Richey produced solo album coming out later in the year; which is great news ….. but …. but …… I’d love to hear a full album from the couple; possibly with their adaptations of some Country Classic duets ….. why not?
Surely the world is finally ready for such a magnificent beast?