Scene and Heard – CCCLXXXVIII : Harlan  –  Amilia K. Spicer (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

AIJOq5AgLast time Amilia passed our way she was celebrating the joys of the Christmas holiday season in suitably buoyant and bubbly mood. This time out she offers up a gorgeous piece of ethereal country music, a song which seems to drift past your consciousness rather than engage the listener with anything more direct. Harlan is a simple song, gentle lyrics paint poetic reflections and the rhythms of the acoustic guitar are only minimally embellished by additional musical textures.

But like most simple songs it has the ability to be more effective than a more intricate rival. It is wonderfully open, direct and through the nostalgic and reflective lyrical imagery she presents a song that remains both fantastically compelling yet brilliantly vague. The simplicity of the music forces you to focus on Amilia’s vocals, not that you would have missed them, a combination of hushed late night tones and crystal clear delivery, drifting yet poignant.

Understanding what a song needs is a skill in its own right, knowing what to leave out requires an even more astute musical mind. Thankfully Amilia K. Spicer understands the power of understatement and Harlan is the perfect example of musical restraint making for a more compelling song.


Love’s For Living – Amilia K Spicer (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

18056478_1531426076888560_564644427111243799_oI guess it had to happen sooner or later, the first Christmas song of the season just came to the top of the review pile. Such songs are always a difficult thing to pitch just right, there have been a few moments of brilliance such as The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl’s Fairytale of New York and Jonah Lewie’s mercurial and laterally thought Stop The Cavalry and then there have also been moments where those qualities have been in shorter supply (almost every other song.) But the fact that this first song of the season comes from Amilia K. Spicer immediately alleviates any fears or doubts.

In her typical deft and delicate fashion she has put together a lilting and jolly country-pop song which delivers a sentiment of togetherness, family connection and celebration which, whilst could be true at any time of the year, is the underlying focal point of the holiday season. Thankfully Amilia has a way of imparting the much needed lightness of touch that such a song needs and her musical dexterity renders it graceful, heartfelt and tender. Job done, time to get the Christmas lights from the attic and check they still work!

New Music of the Day – CLXXIV: Fill Me Up – Amilia K Spicer

12208422_1065755913455581_3507079851417193879_nIf the term “Americana” conjures clichéd images of long, dusty highways, clapboard churches and hoedowns in truck stop bars, then you need Amilia K Spicer in your ears…and indeed your life! Whilst blending the heartland sounds of America – lilting country grooves, folky acoustica and a gentle but persistently driving rock beat – there is another, less tangible quality at work, one that breezes through the spaces between, one that is built from more elemental and primal qualities.

Yes, you can boogie the night away to the song’s jaunty goodness but as the video visualises, this is music that communes with nature that wallows in the fact that America may be a young country in respect of its society but its land is ancient.

They say that every place, every wood, every hill, every stream has a song in it if only you are silent and respectful enough to be able to hear it. I suspect that Amilia is not only aware of this but has been collecting these sounds for years and then deftly building modern day bardic ballads and shamanistic earth songs out of them.

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