“Amy Speace’s songs hang together like a short story collection, united by a common vantage point and common predicaments…it’s a gift to hear a heart so modest even when it’s wide open,” says legendary rock critic Dave Marsh in his liner notes to Amy Speace’s newest collection “How To Sleep In A Stormy Boat” (WindBone/Tone Tree). Marsh continues, “It is the most daring, confident, ambitious and beautiful album Amy Speace has made since she began recording.” Speace, once an actress with The National Shakespeare Company, has crafted a document to living gracefully with grief that weaves a most unlikely yet beautifully poetic narrative between her very modern lamentings and the characters in Shakespeare’s plays. The New York Times wrote “For those who argue that poetry is a dying genre, I suggest listening to Amy Speace.” The Tennessean writes, “What Speace says – what she sings — she says with a confluence of poetry and honesty, of emotional specificity.”
The son of a welder from rural New England, Rod Picott is a masterful songwriter and soulful singer who carries with him as fine a suitcase of songs as you’ll find anywhere. Slaid Cleaves, Ray Wylie Hubbard and Fred Eagelsmith have recorded Rod Picott songs. A former construction worker who hung up his tools when he released his debut CD in 2000, Picott has carved a career for himself with a run of 6 beautifully crafted self released CDs over the last 13 years and a well earned reputation as a engaging, emotion fueled performer.
Written during a busy year on theroad, Things That Used To Shine is an album about leaving somethings behind…and meeting others head-on. It’s also the studio debut of Wild Ponies, a Nashville-based outfit fronted by Virginia natives Doug and Telisha Williams, who have previously toured and recorded as acoustic folk duo Doug & Telisha. Released by the band’s newly formed independent label, DitchDog Records, Things That Used To Shine finds Telisha opening up about the skeletons that have haunted her closet for years. Grammy-winning producer Ray Kennedy (Steve Earle, LucindaWilliams) recorded the album’s 12 songs in three days, running the band’s harmonies through the same pre-amps once used by the Beatles. Casey Driessen, Russ Pahl, Jake Winebrenner and other heavy-hitting roots musicians also make appearances, beefing up the band’s songs with everything from organ to pedal steel.