AMY GODDARD – Burn & Glow ( Incantus Media)

Burn&GlowI tend to approach new singer-songwriters warily. After all, it’s quite something to put your deepest thoughts out there for public consumption and I may not want to know about the inner workings of a troubled psyche. Secondly, new singer-songwriters are usually young and I’m more … not. You can argue that human feelings and concerns are universal and you’d be right but the social context is mutable and often the deeper mystery. I know what to expect from Leonard Cohen but I don’t know what I’m going to hear from, say, Amy Goddard.

Fortunately, Amy has wisdom and experience beyond her tender years and is a damn fine songwriter with an ear for a sprightly melody like ‘Morning Train’ decorated by Rob Crocker’s mandolin and a country chorus of backing vocalists. ‘Lonesome Picker’s Last Hurrah’ is Amy’s tribute to John Stewart and it’s followed by one of his songs, ‘Jasmine’. Amy doesn’t really sing country, though, for all the mandolin and slide guitar stylings but I’m sure that she could coarsen her beautifully modulated voice if she so desired to give us a dust and whiskey drawl.

Amy’s guitar playing is a distinctive as her voice: steel strung, simple and clean, it is enough to carry a song on its own and there are a number of exceptional songs here. The proceeds from ‘Don’t Try’, also released as a single, will go to the mental health charity, Sane. Its message is that it is sometimes enough to be there but you can’t mend the universe. ‘Taking The Edge Off The Day’ addresses the dangers of having “just the one” on too regular a basis and ‘Make You Whole’ is its opposite, about the comfort and pleasure to be found in a musical instrument. ‘Lullabies’ could be terribly mimsy except that these are by Brahms and Schubert and provide a contrast to ‘Web Of Lies’ which follows it. Finally ‘One More Song’ is a feeling that every gig-goer will be familiar with.

Burn & Glow is a splendid debut album and it deserves to do well as does Amy herself.

Dai Jeffries

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Artist’s website: www.amygoddardmusic.co.uk

Excerpts from the album launch concert: