March 22, 2015 by Jay Minkin
It takes a few spins to embrace the latest work from an artist in order to fully absorb the lyrics and the nuances of the musical soundtrack. I kept listening to That Kind of Girl, the brand new record from Amy Speace to the point I felt this young lady needs a hug. Recorded live in just three days at Mr. Lemons Studio in Nashville, the twelve finely crafted tracks are individual steps of recovery from a painful broken hearted relationship.
The Baltimore native who spent the early part of her career near New York as a Shakespearean actress prior to songwriting, Speace’s talent was recognized by Judy Collins who covered her song “Weight of the World” and invited her out on tour. She departed for a much needed change of scenery to Nashville in 2009 and has released five previous full length albums, most notably How to Sleep in a Stormy Boat in 2013 with liner notes provided by Dave Marsh. She continued to build an impressive catalog of gut wrenching songs inspired by her divorce with folks like Gary Louris, Ian Hunter, and John Fullbright adding guest vocals on those recordings.
So it’s not surprising that a wealth of Music City talent came together to help lay down the beautiful musical tracks for That Kind of Girl that shine both individually and as a whole. Will Kimbrough on guitar, Carl Broemel on guitar and pedal steel, Eamon McLoughlin on fiddle and mandolin, and Dan Mitchell on keyboards play beautifully with a rhythm section of Dean Marold on the upright bass and producer Neilson Hubbard on percussion. Additional vocals blending with the gorgeous voice of Speace included Tim Easton, Rod Picott, Garrison Starr, Ben Glover, John Moreland, along with Doug and Telishia Williams.
All of that wealth of talent shines right off the bat with the opening upbeat song “Nothing Good Can Come From This”. From there Speace waltzes you through “Come Pick Me Up” followed by the radio friendly “Better Than This” that offers up the verse I swore I wouldn’t call / You said you might stop by/ So now I’m staring at the walls / Trying not to care, trying to fill the time. A gritty gospel blues song called “Three Days” might make you go to church more often and “Hymm For The Crossing” will have you feel like your singing along in an old Irish tavern. A nice piano ballad is titled “One Man’s Love” is about a man’s deception to two women and “Strange Medicine” looking for strength walking alone along the beach shore. There is not a throwaway song on the record as Speace changes the pace with a country blues “In Chicago”, the weeping pedal steel of “Trouble Looks Good On You”, and the tear-jerking finale “Epilogue (I Don’t Know How To Stop Loving You)”. But my two favorites would have to be “That Kind of Girl” whose chorus bleeds I let you get to me / It felt the end of the world/ I let you level me/ I didn’t know I was that kind of girl and the crushed relationship of “Raincoat”.
The next time someone tells you they don’t make good music anymore, tell them they must not have heard of Amy Speace. She is a timeless singer/songwriter who has captured this writer’s attention with a record which should be a topic of debate on several year-end award lists. Ms. Speace begins a cross country tour next week including four dates across the pond in England, so if you have the opportunity to catch this starlet on stage, don’t even think about it … just go. You can thank me later.