Amy LaVere : Stranger Me


Self-proclaimed country/gypsy/jazz artist Amy LaVere’s latest effort, Stranger Me, has lush instrumentation and bold, often brash, lyrics. Sung in LaVere’s famed saccharine style, the disc appears to have the makings of a solid success. Individually, its elements shine; collectively, however, they sometimes fail to firmly unite.  

Fuzzy, buzzing opener “Damn Love Song” gives a lengthy dose of defiance.  LaVere laments, “Oh please, I’ll never get down on my knees/ You know I’m too proud.” She’s clear, resounding even – but her syrupy, sticky vocals inevitably falter under the weight of charging guitars and pounding drums. The equally fiery “You Can’t Keep Me” and noisy “Candle Mambo” suffer a similar fate.

Yet, LaVere soon learns her way. The broken down, if somewhat expected, “Red Banks” provides a safe, fitting showcase for LaVere’s soft, feathery voice. Indeed, the track has its mismatched moments – gritty guitars and outlaw lyrics – but provides LaVere with fairly firm footing. The grooving, jazzy folk of “Great Divide,” golden vocals and gentle instrumentation of “Lucky Boy,” and striking bass line of the title track move the disc forward. Mellow closers “Cry My Eyes Out” and “Come On” cement LaVere’s promise – as a vocalist, a musician, an artist.

Stranger Me is out now on Archer Records.