Amelia White Conjures Tales from the Road - No Depression

Gritty like Lucinda Williams and expressive like Amy Rigby, Amelia White is a true storyteller/songwriter. Her new record Home Sweet Hotel is a dark, unglamorous slice of Americana. White’s voice is smoky and soulful, warm and deep, and her songs listen like entries from her diary on the road.

Title track “Home Sweet Hotel” is a nuanced portrait on a lonely artist, untethered from her roots. “Can’t remember how the dog smiles / but I can sing a hundred sad songs,” she sings, capturing that feeling of being in work mode and unable to conjure up anything familiar. White vividly describes the taste of road food, the smell of being on the road, and the isolation that comes from spending so much time with yourself and the strangers for whom you perform every night. The loss of identity that comes from long stretches away from home hit hard and unfold in a poignant and beautiful way. In fact, White even began writing the songs on the record from a Days Inn.

There’s a bluesy, almost Cajun feel to some of White’s instrumental arrangements, but many of her melodies and choruses are true ear candy pop-rock. “Love Cures” is a sweetly satisfying ode to the power of the heart and its tune is sure to stick around. “Dangerous Angels” is menacing and moody, with a driving rock and roll pace. “Rainbow Over the East Side” is an atmospheric tribute to a beloved city, and “Dogs Bark” draws you in from the first few alluring guitar licks before unfolding into a gospel-tinged Southern gothic treat.

Like most singer-songwriters, White spends a significant amount of time traveling and playing to small rooms to make a living. It’s not a pretty lifestyle, but White beautifies it with her raw, authentic lyrics and gorgeously lived-in pipes. Listening to Hotel may leave you feeling like you want to buy her a beer and then sit and drink it with her so she can share her tales from the road. But if she doesn’t come through a city near you, buy yourself one and give this record a good listen.

By Maeri Ferguson