Amelia White


Home Sweet Hotel - Maverick Magazine


White-Wolf Records

 (4 / 5)

Gritty and melodic set from Nashville singer-songwriter

Amelia White’s voice has the craggy, jagged grit and pain of Lucinda Williams at her best but it also has a sweetness that Ms Williams doesn’t possess. Allied to White’s gift for melody, some mighty fine playing from her musicians and songs that can go toe to toe with anyone and you have an album that, even this early, is going to be one of the best of the year.

White has been making music for 15 years or so and this is her eighth outing (at least, it’s a bit vague). Her experience of life on the road described in the title track, encapsulates her greatness. A subject that’s been done to death and one rife with clichés, it’s basically a complete no-no for a writer. But, over some fuzzy guitar and a hooky tune White avoids the pitfalls, avoids the self-pity and makes something new. ‘It can bring you down, it can bring you round’ she sings, a sentiment that’s universal. It’s the same story with Rainbow Over The East Side, which is about Nashville but could be anybody’s hometown. Elsewhere, the sultry Right Back To My Arms has echoes of classic country a la Patsy Cline and the lashing of gossips in Dogs Bark raises a smile.

Every song opens with a melody that gets you from the off, every tune drives the words into the consciousness. The musical pace is steady, there’s no rocking out, no funereal dirges, things never drag or race by, they’re just… right. A great start to the year.

Jeremy Searle

Click here for the original review.

Amelia White : Home Sweet Hotel - The Rocking Magpie

Amelia White
Home Sweet Hotel

Superb Set of Lonely Country Love Songs.

I was smitten with Amelia White’s previous album Old Postcards; and three bars into the sultry opening song on her latest disc; Dangerous Angel, I felt that same tingle in my tummy and my knees go wobbly again.
There’s something darkly sexy about the way Amelia delivers the words in this ‘world weary’ love song that tugged at my heartstrings in a way very little else has managed in recent months.
The title track Home Sweet Hotel follows; and Amelia’s voice sounds just as sultry and sad; as she tells a story only a songwriter who lives her life on the road could pen; and is exactly the type of reflective Country Rock that I’ve loved for over thirty years.
On her previous album I likened Amelia to Lucinda fronting Fleetwood Mac; well she’s ditched that backing band and picked up the Heartbreakers (in spirit) for songs like that previous one, Love Cures and later Right Back to My Arms.
Each of these songs has just the right amount of cool Southern Rocking impertinence to boost the singers expressively tired vocals; and make each song ultra-special.
All of those things also apply to Leaving in My Blood; but with added Twang too! The shadow of Lucinda and possibly a young Chrissie Hinde is cast over this song and a couple of others too; but Amelia’s distinctive voice is hers and hers alone – she sure don’t copy anyone!
By the time I first arrived at Rainbow Over The East-Side my senses had already taken a real battering; and this song very nearly pushed me over the edge towards real tears (I don’t recommend listening at 3am on headphones after taking strong painkillers!) and subsequently; I’ve had to take a deep breath before listening to the singers voice soar like a Dove on this sensational story/song every time.
In an album full of sad songs; The Road Not Taken; a co-write with Reckless Johnny Wales and the legendary guitarist Sergio Webb, who adds some seriously ‘cool guitar licks’ is a heartbreaker par-excellence. The story is pure sadness in Technicolour; and the type of Country song that Country fans claim isn’t written any more. Seriously, when you hear it you will become an Amelia White Evangelist and force feed it; and the rest of the album, to friends, family and lovers alike.
Home Sweet Hotel closes with another darkly bonnie song; Six Feet Down as it’s slow; dirge like melody is the perfect way to end an album that. hopefully will be a game-changer for one of East Nashville’s finest singer-songwriters.

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

Amelia White: Home Sweet Hotel - American Songwriter

Despite the consistent quality of her work, it’s hard to imagine Amelia White topping Home Sweet Hotel.

Amelia White
Home Sweet Hotel
(White Wolf)
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

East Nashville — by way of Boston and Seattle — singer-songwriter Amelia White has no shortage of road miles on her odometer over the past 15 years. She’s done it the hard way, releasing six previous albums on a variety of indie imprints and hitting the endless highway, winning over audiences one club, bar or opening slot at a time. She has landed a handful of tracks on TV shows and gotten uniformly positive reviews but the gold ring has so far eluded her. That may change with Home Sweet Hotel.

While there is no such thing as a bad or substandard Amelia White release, it’s clear she has gradually honed her songwriting and, especially, her vocal skills. But White has gradually refined her voice to take elements of Marianne Faithfull’s edgy growl, Lucinda Williams’ southern drawl and Sam Phillips’ dark, jazz tinged croon and combine them into something instantly recognizable. Likewise, her songwriting has become tighter with arrangements that fuse country, folk, pop and even some blues for a sumptuous American gumbo that’s often similar to a mashup of Rosanne Cash and Tom Petty at his most rustic. It also helps having drummer/producer Marco Giovino (Buddy Miller) to tweak these songs into fighting shape. 

The ethereal strum of “Rainbow Over The East Side” with its yearning vocal and crying fiddle and the darker, earthy love song “Right Back to My Arms” display the maturity and subtlety of White’s singing, while the backing keeps the sound edgy yet commercial enough for more mainstream tastes. Selections like the subdued blues rock title track and the reflective Byrds-styled “Leaving in My Blood” reveal the traveling that has been a staple of White’s life and is implied by the album’s title. The funky “Dogs Bark” pushes boundaries utilizing a drum loop to drive its swampy groove. The easily melodic “Love Cures” seems to have the right balance to be the hit that has so far eluded White. 

Despite the consistent quality of her work—2006’s Black Doves remains a high water mark — it’s hard to imagine Amelia White topping Home Sweet Hotel, an album that, if it connects with a wider audience, should provide a respite from the love/hate relationship she has with the road that has been her second home.

By Hal Horowitz