Amy Fradon,
Small Town News
(Leo Rising, 2003)

The biography of this fabulous singer tells us that she hails from Danbury, Conn., and her parents were accomplished artists in cartoons and illustration for DC Comics. Amy is another accomplished artist and this CD is an excellent showcase of her ability. Not content with having a beautiful vocal quality, Amy is also passionately involved in teaching other vocally talented people.

From the opening track, "Come What May," she captivates even the casual listener. This also displays her songwriting talent and the strength of her voice. Not afraid to tackle the works of other writers, she follows with Phil Ochs' lovely song "What's That I Hear?" This goes along at a lovely pace and will have your feet tapping as you listen closely to the lyrics.

"Silver Wings" returns us to Amy as writer and performer. She follows this up with a great story song called "Lily and Billy" that will hold you enthralled. My favourite track is "Behind Closed Eyes." Listen to "Nevessa" in a dark room and you will conjure up visions of a rather naughty lady and setting in the sensual world.

I love hearing new songs from talented artists but I also love to hear good renditions of classic pieces. This can be a true test of the performer. Amy does not disappoint, taking the fantastic "Let It Be Me" and giving it a new life that could be a monster hit if it was relayed to a wide audience. The vocals, the instrumentation and the harmony all get it just right. "Do Remember Me" is another song with great potential as it marries Amy's lyrics with a beautiful traditional Irish tune (whose title escapes me as I write and will haunt me for weeks) to great effect.

There is lovely Appalachian sound to her composition "The Burning Tree," which takes a gospel story and gives us a sound that could have come from the 1930s so well has she captured the mood. The banjo adds considerably to this track. The album closes with another story-song, the title track "Small Town News." This gives us an Amy Fradon of the golden age of country music female singers like Patsy Cline.

The album almost defies classification as it ranges so easily among genres from bluegrass through country, jazz to folk in the best possible way. Amy Fradon is a name to watch, she could veer in any direction and be a major star in any genre, including as a writer.

- Rambles
written by Nicky Rossiter
published 3 January 2004

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