Listen Up: Wednesday, January 25, 2006
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PHOTOS: 1
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Amy LaVere

This World is Not My Home (Archer Records)

By Tom Geddie

With her almost ethereal, little-girl-lost voice and first-class musical accompaniment, Amy LaVere wanders through a melancholy world that’s seemingly without love. On the title track of her debut c.d., This World is Not My Home, she claims she’s not from here but seems to know the emotional terrain pretty well: Most of the 10 songs deal with the aftermaths of failed relationships.

After a stint in Nashville, LaVere, who once fronted a punk rock band as a teen-ager in Detroit, seems to have found her artistic home in Memphis. Lacy and lovely in the black-and-white photos in the album sleeve, LaVere played Wanda Jackson in the Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line, and she also has a role in the upcoming Black Snake Moan featuring Samuel L. Jackson, Christina Ricci, and Justin Timberlake.

As long as LaVere stays within her limited vocal range, she sounds good, and her brand of country-pop is distinctive. It circumnavigates the typically rote method by which Nashville tries — and usually fails — to blend those two styles. LaVere, who plays an upright bass almost as big as she is, and producer Paul Taylor get excellent support from guitarist Jimbo Mathus, who regularly tours with Buddy Guy, and piano-man Jim Dickinson, who’s worked with the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan.

LaVere wrote five of the 10 songs, including the first track, “Day Like Any,” in which she claims she doesn’t really miss her lover because she still has the moon. “Nightingale” and the title song, both written by Mathus, are also highlights.

This collection of love-lost songs makes the listener wonder why LaVere has trouble holding onto men — or if she’s just really good at role-playing.


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