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Home-cured folk music from East Nashville resident Amy Lashley, Travels of a Homebody comes in a nice card cd case decorated with pictures from a generation or more ago. Cover art like that hints that the music it introduces will have a reflective, nostalgic air and that is indeed the situation here.
Amy Lashley recently relocated to Nashville from her native Indiana alongside her partner and fellow musician Otis Gibbs; they have both turned to Thomm Jutz to help them put together their most recent albums and he's been able to pull in some fine Nashville musicians to flesh out the songs. On this album, he contributes lead guitar, dobro, bass, mandolin, organ and backing vocals and yet contrives to remain in the background, letting Amy's input as songwriter and singer take centre stage. Her songs are quirky and personal, reflecting on stories that catch her attention but also on aspects of her own life that take time to puzzle out: the opening song is called Kiss Indiana Goodbye and casts a backward glance over the shoulder as a new phase of life opens up; reaching further back, Older Brother reflects on how the few years difference in age between siblings can create such different life experiences; Homebody Blues, on the other hand, is about the here and now, coming to terms with who you are. The travels of a homebody are best done in the mind; Homebody Blues is her confessional song about how stressful she finds going out into the world and how comfortable she finds it to be hanging around her own place. The problem is, she enjoys making music, it's what she does - and that normally involves a certain amount of taking it out into the world. Personally, I don't see why a reluctance to gig should get in the way of us enjoying her music; she has an individual voice - as a writer and as a singer - that's worth hearing, even if only on disc.
The music here is roots music in a very broad sense; there are echoes of everything from blues to European folk, taking in a smooth, modern Americana style and a hair-down, barefoot Appalachian style along the way, not to mention a little '50s jazz. This is all done in a kind of low-key, un-showy sort of way and there's always space for Amy's warm, alto folk voice to hold your attention. As a way of making music, it's very fine and who knows? Folk fans like to have their cult heroes and what could be more cult than the singer who was never heard to perform?
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