Amy LaVere (feat Will Sexton)
plus Iszaak Opatz
Friday 31st January 2020
Listening Room @ The Cross Keys, East St, Thame, OX9 3JS
Doors 7.30 pm
Tickets £10 in advance
There’s something uniquely fun about Amy LaVere, even when she’s breaking your heart. She is well known among songwriters and critics alike. NPR’s Robert Siegel says she “specializes in lyrics that are more barbed than her sweet soprano prepares you for.”LaVere’s growing catalogue of material and steady critical acclaim suggest a first-tier presence on the Americana and indie-folk/punk circuits.
Born in Shreveport, Louisiana, this future bard moved continuously throughout childhood due to her father’s job. She spent notable parts of her life in Canada, Texas, Maryland, Illinois, Ohio, and Michigan. Outside of Detroit and only just entering high school, LaVere formed her first band and began writing and performing. Music fans first discovered this “sweet soprano” on This World is Not My Home in 2005, but it was her Jim Dickinson produced breakout album, Anchors & Anvils two years later that put Amy LaVere on the map.
Her latest album, Painting Blue, which was produced by her husband Will Sexton, captures perfectly the moment that LaVere is in. Sexton’s masterful production and LaVere’s soft, clarinet-like vocals pour over you, pushing and pulling, stirring and calming. As we’ve come to expect, this record is honest, revealing, and sounds uniquely like no one else.
Lead single “No Battle Hymn” is an instrumentally fast-paced, yet vocally reflective piano-popper. Touches of warm horns and wavering organ notes grace the laid-back, shuffling “You’re Not in Memphis.” LaVere delivers a spare, but involving cover of the classic “Shipbuilding”, adding accordion inflection and subdued male harmonies on the chorus sections. Upbeat album-ender “Painting Blue (on Everything)” struts with a pronounced drum beat, and swoons with bittersweet violin strings.
Izsaak Opatz is one of a kind, an eccentric singer-songwriter whom you not only connect with, but root for as he tries in vain to sort out his love life in songs he describes as “Nora Ephron Rom-Com-earnestness with a sense of humour.” His latest album ‘Mariachi Static’ (which takes its title from a lyric in Zevon’s ‘Carmelita’), produced by Malachi DeLorenzo, is an easygoing listen, driven by Opatz’s sublime way with a lyric. He’s opened for Langhorne Slim and James McMurtry, and is currently on the road with Traveller, which counts Opatz’s erstwhile mentor, and fellow Montanan, Jonny Fritz as a member.