Reviewed by Harry Kaplan
I know I ask a lot of rhetorical questions in my reviews but indulge me for one more. Why is Amelia White not a household name? After you listen to Rhythm Of The Rain in its entirety, I am certain you will draw the same conclusion I do. The writing and music are among the tops. And production and mixing is a 10 out of 10. I never realized how important those things are until I started listening with a critical ear.
Rhythm Of The Rain doesn’t only pass the critical ear test, it scores a perfect. All of the songs are quite varied but the sound levels and overall mix is impeccable. Everything works in perfect concert. No pun intended. Well, maybe a little pun intended.
I have just gotten to Mother Of Mine (Track 6) and it stopped me in my tracks. I was writing, but I had to stop and listen. This is an absolutely beautiful tribute to Amelia’s mother, who passed away way too early. The music and vocals are lovely, but the words are what makes this song operate on a higher plane. This song will make you think about your parents, whether they are living or deceased. I will call my mom after this writing.
As the previous track ends and the next track begins, I can’t help thinking about a younger Lucinda Williams, circa 1994. That’s the way Amelia’s voice sounds to me on How It Feels (Track 7). This is a powerful number about the fact that we are all pretty much the same. “We’re all the same and this is how it feels”. Truer words have never been spoken. What an absolutely perfect sentiment for a song and for our lives. Let’s realize we are all more alike than different. Hopefully we can judge people by the quality of character and not skin color, religion, sexual orientation, etc.
If we go back to the beginning, Little Cloud Over Little Rock (Track 1) could be a Drive By Truckers’ song, both in musical style and song content. Yes, the song contains some really nice distorted electric guitar fills that sound quite a bit like Patterson and Cooley trading licks. The lyrical content is pure protest on the micro level. Amelia sings about issues that affect blue collar Americans. Real Americans.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Rhythm Of The Rain (Track 2), which also happens to be the title track. This song has a guitar riff that is more addictive than cotton candy. The vibe of this song is pure Louisiana swamp. Definitely high in heat and humidity. This number really digs its way deep into the recesses of my brain. There seem to be a couple of themes going on here. There is definitely some salvation. I also sense there is a message for our leadership somewhere in the lyrics.
The strength of Rhythm Of The Rain released in January indicates to me that this is going to be a strong year for music. This is a predictive model, a bellwether release. The glass is half full. Definitely make sure you pick this up. This will not be the last time you hear about it.