Amy McCarley 'Self-titled' Self-Released

A truly solo effort from McCarley. Produced, recorded and mixed in her home studio she has also played all the featured instruments. All good from that side of things but as with most songwriters in comes down to the songs and here McCarley also scores with a distinctive, slightly bruised voice and questioning lyrics, featured in the full colour lyric booklet. One thing that has to be taken into account is that many of the songs have similar tempos and instrumentation. But once you accept that you can listen to these songs as a whole. There are differences that work well. Every Which Way has a simple guitar motif that is effective with the voice. Faster Than Truth again uses the stripped down voice and guitar over a simple rhythm to a tale of a person waiting for their luck to change. There is an honesty at the heart of this album that feels like you're hearing this person's truth. It feels real, which in these days of polished manufactured music is something to admire. Whether it's too raw for some is debatable but it's directness, from artist to listener, should be applauded. This is Amy McCarley as she wants to be heard without any outside influences. The delivery suggest a folkiness but the songs feel like they could work in a lot of different settings. McCarley seems to be aiming for the purity that Gillian Welch achieves and in fact the only outside song here is a cover of that singer's Look At Miss Ohio. A stark guitar and voice delivery highlights the lyrics. But that song only stands out due to it's familiarity and is matched by some of the other songs featured such as Hollywood - a song that looks for space to be an individual. McCarley is just that, a strong individual making her music, her way.