Artist: Amy Blaschke
Album: Breaking the Blues
Label: Bird On a Lyre Records
Release Date: 07/01/2016
Amy Blaschke appears again, less than a year after last October’s Opaline, with another soft ballad compilation, Breaking the Blues. Before I even noted the title, I took a listen and immediately heard the stronger blues influence that is central to this album, but the lyrical parallelism was a clever surprise. It all starts with “Under My Skin.” The bouncy rhythm draws in listeners immediately and Blaschke’s smooth vocals blend and harmonize flawlessly. Shimmery chimes, background vocals, electric guitar, and a consistent tambourine kick create an instrumental storyline, while the lyrics coo of romance, soft moonlight, and that butterfly-wing gut feeling that just won’t go away.
“Falling for the Moment” continues down a folk ballad pathway with a tale of love, loss, and the hope that’s left behind. “Heartache rules the day, and seconds from your skin, I’m in the moment,” Blaschke sings. “Peace Keeping” then enters with stiff, quick strums and a shaker rhythm to start a sad song marked by layered harmonies and honest lyrics, “Let me go if I’m leaving. There’s no fight in my mind worth believing. If I need to be right, I’m a fool. Loosen your grip, play it cool. It’s never love to bruise. It’s for peace keeping.”
A Fleetwood Mac tonality shows up most definitely in “Running My Heart to You,” with a pop backdrop and storytelling guitar. The guitar shines again in title track “Breaking the Blues,” which then breaks into a heavier sound than we’ve heard from Blaschke. The full drum set and heavy bass create a deep surround sound, juxtaposed with soft, fluttering vocals and higher pitched strums and orchestral notes. This is the major composition of the album, but follow-up “Park By the Zoo” offers an accessible poppy catchiness that isn’t to be forgotten. “Be the One I Need” ends things with slow, hazy vocals that drift over a bass-driven country blues rhythm, like a horseback ride into the romantic desert sunset.
– Kalyn Oyer