Album Reviews

Amanda McBroom


Artist:     Amanda McBroom

Album:     Voices

Label:     LML Music

Release Date:     05.05.2017


One of the world’s leading cabaret singers, Amanda McBroom, not only writes her own standards, but her seasoned sense of strong songs has allowed her to choose timeless ones from tunesmiths like Julie Gold, Jay Livingston and folkies like Tom Paxton. Now mix in the many talents of her old friend and producer, Fred Mollin, whose productions remain always mindful of what is the main ingredient—the song. Mollin brought McBroom to Nashville to record these gems with a group of world-class musicians (the core group being Matt Rollings, Bryan Sutton, Larry Paxton, John Willis and Shannon Forrest, who can play anything, anywhere, any style, at the drop of a hat.). With all those balls in the air, Mollin ensured that what you hear are gorgeous voices on Amanda McBroom’s aptly-titled ninth album.

For openers, you’ll find yourself wondering if you will ever love again after Gold’s lonesome “Southbound Train.” And so in all four directions, down the tracks we go, with tears, laughter, frailties and “Sometimes,” a heartbreaker with strength in spades. “Merlin” Mollin, garnished some of the tasteful tracks with subtle touches of glorious strings here and there, arranged by his longtime creative partner Matthew McCauley, and a very appropriate heavenly choir on “Welcome Home.” Amanda brings her long time cowriter and best friend, Michelle Brourman with her, to play on a few of their creations, ones that take you traveling down Broadway with their heartwarming mini-musical “Old Love,” or on a emotional trail of tears up on “Yarnell Hill.” When you come back down, you’ll not be the same. (Both of these story songs were inspired by true events.)

Amanda reprises her rent-payer song, “The Rose,” with Vince Gill, a guy she calls “angel-pipes.” Their duet, with Bryan Sutton’s acoustic guitar arrangement, is a true cherry on top. Ever since Bette Midler debuted it 37 years ago in the film of the same name, “The Rose” has been sung at both weddings and funerals, which sort of sums up the wide range of emotions McBroom gives voice to here.

—Ken Spooner

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