Elmore Magazine: Album Review

January 20, 2019

Riding a wild elevator of emotional highs and lows over a span of four days, as she mourned her mother’s passing and experienced the joy of marrying her partner, East Nashville singer-songwriter Amelia White somehow managed to get through the recording of Rhythm of the Rain. And she’s still dealing with the ugly fallout of the 2016 election and what it means for an openly gay artist residing in the South.

What she refuses to do is sweep these issues, whether personal or political, under a rug, as pliable, flowing folk-rock and richly layered Americana—often buoyed by soft, yet supple, rhythmic propulsion —gently frame White’s poetic protests and evocative storytelling. A dark, immersive spill of liquid tones, “Free Advice” takes dead, sardonic aim at sexism in the music industry, while a reflective “Mother of Mine” is cloaked in swoops of violin as it wrestles with conflicted memories. The spare desert that is “Yuma” mesmerizes, as does a haunting, bluesy “Sugar Baby” that’s sensual and seductive and talks of being “stuck here with a jailhouse ghost.” The imagery she employs is cinematic, and so is the instrumentation, never intruding on White’s meditations as it works on creating lovely backdrops.

Plucking banjo, the slight whinny of slide guitar wrangling and wraiths of lap steel crop up here and there, accentuating a connection to Nashville’s greats that is undeniable. It all seems perfectly arranged, the product of sublime craftsmanship and subtle instincts. Warm and inviting, the easy country-rock drawl and gritty chrome of “Little Cloud Over Little Rock” contains traces of Neil Young’s DNA, while the swaying title track, with its sweet, golden nest of interwoven acoustic and electric guitars, is a rippling lullaby coming to grips with anxiety in the age of Trump. Rhythm of the Rainfights the good fight, standing up to bullies in the earnest, lightly weathered folk-pop sweep of “Said it Like a King” and fighting religious intolerance in a stirring and soulful “How it Feels,” with soaring accompaniment from the Anti-Bigotry Choir. It also has the power to soothe.

—Peter Lindblad

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