“Don’t think too much, people” is the spoken word snippet that begins the title track of Amelia White’s newest album, “The Rhythm of the Rain”. It’s a flippant warning, a half-joke, a sideways call-to-arms that announces a casual subversion threading through these rollicking 9 songs from the opening explosion of summer sunshine, through the heat of lust and addiction, landing with a glance at politics and fate while the window is still wide open, warm breeze blowing in the late afternoon. Amelia White asks us to not take it all so seriously and, at the same time, shows us how critical it all is: love, fate, death, grief, politics, which isn’t surprising considering that White made this record in the four days between her Mother’s funeral and her own wedding. “The Rhythm of the Rain” digs deep. Her well worn smokey pipes deliver a rawness you’d expect from mining that liminal space between grief and joy.
2016 was a good year for Amelia White in the UK, where her last full-length release, “Home Sweet Hotel,” landed some killer reviews, like a top country pick in the Telegraph (along with Buddy Miller, Bonnie Raitt, and John Moreland.) She played Maverick, Summertyne, and Platform festivals, along with a month of club dates. While touring, White stayed in a promoter’s attic in York, and reading the news from the US began to write, the songs that would make up “Rain.” That ocean of separation gave her the necessary distance to comment on the shake-up back home without finger pointing, something that White has always done. No judgement, just sharp observations that lead to emotions. Music City Roots host and journalist Craig Havighurst wrote that “her songs each have some fascinating crystalline shape that invites close attention and touch. “Rhythm of the Rain” is a collection of tunes touched by White’s tenure in theUK, where it will be released on Oct. 27th, 2017, (Distribution through Proper Records) as an offering of thanks for feeling embraced just when she needed it.
What separates Amelia White from most other songwriters in the Americana genre is her details. Like a short story writer steeped in the gothic humidity of the backroads, White illuminates the ordinary: “dyed black hair and ear ring feathers/she’s gotta put three kids through school – she’s sipping on the sly to keep her cool” (Little Cloud Over Little Rock). “Boy sat on a bus in the only open seat, mittens in one hand and a backpack at his feet” (“Said It Like A King”). There’s a catchy melodic laziness to her rock and roll, an afternoon drive in the country, the top down, bare legs up on the dash, singing along to your favorite song: “When you feel like a sinking sun, you’re not the only one,” she sings, on “Sinking Sun” and you can almost taste the freedom of summer adolescence. The light threads through these songs. “Sunshine coming through my window/I found something that I wanted…you” she sings to a lover in “Super Nova,” and later the love turns dark in “Sugar Baby.” As the album winds to a close, White leaves us with the one-two political punch of “True or Not?” “There’s talk in the street that the deal is changing, everybody’s on edge, look around” and then gently releases us with the hopeful coda, “Let The Wind Blow,” written with UK darlings, The Worry Dolls. It’s a wistful dream: “Miles and miles I thought I’d found a place to call home and a hand to hold/I put good money on this one, I don’t like to be wrong, I don’t like to be wrong.”
Lifer’s. It’s how we define musicians called to the stage, living life in hotels, and friend’s spare rooms, playing small and large clubs with sticky-floor stages, and microphones that taste of cigarettes. White has had TV and film placements ( most notably “Justified” ), record deals, and cuts by some of the finest artists in the Americana world, but for her the success is in the doing, and there is no choice in the matter. She is a rock and roll soothsayer, an East Nashville Cassandra with an Americana gospel shout thicker than the paper-thin illusion of fame and money. “Rhythm of the Rain” is a late afternoon storm, a sky on the verge of cracking as wide open as Amelia White’s heart.