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Amy Rigby | Til the Wheels Fall Off (Spit & Polish)
This is the second disc I've received in as many months on Spit & Polish by a woman called Amy. But whereas Amy Allison's voice makes her's all but unlistenable to me this one is very much not. This Amy comes from Pittsburgh, lives in New York and recorded this album, her fourth, in Nashville, NYC and the East Kilbride Arts Centre. The sound is broadly acoustic but not narrowly country, what with the strong likelyhood of a trombone, bodhran or organ putting in an appearance and the variety in pacing. And the strings make for more of a Burt Bacharach vibe than pop-country mush. We do get some banjo, but it's on a song called Are We Ever Gonna Have Sex Again? so we're still not talking Nashville in the perjorative sense here. The songwriting more than matches the music for quirk here and so the Elvis Costello comparisons are appropriate, for once, and then it's to prime mid-period Elvis and very much not to his more recent exercises in dullness. A wry and cynical take on relationships and much sharp commentary run through all fourteen songs, with lines like "I kiss the boys but I'm the one who cries" and "What happened to Babe and Stud? / Too much KFC and Bud" [ooh, we have a poet in our midst - Ed] Her voice similarly combines the world-weary and the girlish and so suits the songs fine whether called on to do wistful or spiteful. Lyrics to make you smile and tunes to make you sing in the bath come together so very rarely, but here you get them combined with some real style and spark.

Jeff Cotton
CWAS #13 - Autumn 2003

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