by Donald Rumpert
Amanda McBroom comes from a formidable cabaret background and acting career from Star Trek to Napoleon Dynamite, her talent abounds. Though a songwriter herself, she also has a knack for choosing great tunes from such songsmiths as Julie Gold, Jay Livingston and reaching outside the ilk to folk based writers like Tom Paxton. Add longtime collaborator Fred Mollin and you have a recipe for great music. Recorded in Nashville, the backline consists of world-class musicians such as; Matt Rollings, Bryan Sutton, Larry Paxton, John Willis and Shannon Forrest, who literally can proliferate in any genre and practically on any instrument. At the core of the sound though is the lush and supple vocals of McBroom on her aptly-titled ninth album.
The opener features Julie Gold’s tune “Southbound Train,” the heart wrenching lyric grabs the listener and convinces them they might not love again. The journey continues as we widdle down the tracks with a varied of emotions running the gamut from tears, laughter, frailties and then turning to “Sometimes,” a solid heartbreaker, that exhibits strength and pride as its saving grace. “Merlin” receives a string treatment, arranged Mollin’s longtime creative partner Matthew McCauley, giving the tune that extra underpinning of lushness. A lovely choir on “Welcome Home,” is stirring and leaves a lasting impression long after the tune is over. McBrooms longtime best friend and collaborator Michelle Brourman lends her genius to “Old Love,” and the emotional “Yarnell Hill.”
As someone who is old enough to remember the move “The Rose,” it was a sincere treat to hear McBroom with Vince Gill, who has the voice of an angelic choir boy; sing a duet accompanied y Bryan Sutton’s acoustic guitar arrangement, this is a highlight of the album to be sure. One thing is for certain is McBroom offers the listener a wide variety of song choices and a broad spectrum of her talents. Combined with top-shelf production, this album is a must have.
Track Listing: South Bound Train; Feet of Clay; The Rose; Old Love; Yarnell Hill; The Last Thing on My Mind; Welcome Home; Sometimes; Voices That Come Through the Wall; I’m Here for Life; Hope Floats; Make a Memory; 12th of Never.