AMY HENDERSON – Soul For A Compass (own label AH2017CD)

Soul For A CompassThese days we need all the cheering up we can get and my first thought was that this record would do the job nicely. Amy Henderson is a graduate of the Plockton school, studying accordion under Blair Douglas, and is as much a teacher in community music projects as she is a performer. Soul For A Compass is her debut album.

She kicks off with Mary Chapin Carpenter’s ‘Why Walk When You Can Fly’ which she mixes with Bruce McGregor’s tune ‘Highlander’s Revenge’ and really rocks it with a two-step beat. Amy has a fondness for the music of the bayou which she sometimes brings into her playing. Jack Anglin’s old country hit ‘Make Up Your Mind’ is another song that she takes apart and I could listen to a whole album like this.

But Amy is a serious musician so we can’t be rocking all the time. There are two semi-traditional tune sets, ‘Lady Mary Ramsay’ and ‘Nina’, but Amy doesn’t give us the breakdown of the tunes within them. The former features co-producer Marc Clement on piano and although the arrangement of the first part is very traditional I get the feeling that the players know that they are on the edge of parodying the style. Amy has written three tunes, two of which are obviously cheap presents. ‘Kirsty & Kevin’ is a smooth romantic piece and ‘Linda & Kenny’s Waltz’ has a country feel – almost a hint of ‘Red River Valley’ with double-bass from Euan Burton who actually gets a solo.

Finally, there are two traditional songs. ‘Easy And Free’ could well have been the album title with a lovely relaxed vocal from Amy and ‘Bonnie Ship The Diamond’ cranks up the beat again. There’s a good mix of material here and I do like Amy’s voice. I just wish she’d form a Cajun band and be done with it.

Dai Jeffries

Artist’s website:

‘Why Walk When You Can Fly/Highlander’s Revenge’:

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