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Lori Amey

Big and Bold

Review by Gary Hill

There is an intriguing array of music on this disc. Just as soon as you get complacent and think you know what's coming next, it changes. The vocal performance ties it all together, though. A couple of the songs here lean a bit too far toward mainstream adult contemporary sounds for my choice, but don't be fooled. Lori Amey delivers music ranging from folk to jazzy to blues rock, near progressive rock and more. All the songs work well, too. While different parts of this album are likely to appeal more to different listeners based on their personal tastes, it seems a wide range of people will find plenty to like here.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2018  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
A Little More Than Perfect
Clean guitar sounds open the set. The cut launches out with some jazz and some roots music in the mix. The vocals are so strong. This is part classic rocker, part bluesy old school number and part soaring jazz. I love the bass sound on the breakdown late in the number.
What Would They Say
While the vocal performance on this tune is every bit as effective as the one on the opener, this cut isn't as strong. That's largely because the layers of musical accompaniment at times feel a little overly busy. Still, it's only in places. Beyond that, this is a good tune with a lot of sounds that lean toward progressive rock. It has a soaring element to it.
Big and Bold
The title track comes in with another arrangement that has a lot of progressive rock in the mix. This is energetic and very cool. There are definitely jazzy elements at play here. A more stripped back movement brings some hints of blues sounds to the piece. They power it up in an intriguing arrangement from there before making their way back to the song proper after a time.
No One is to Blame
Now, this is a big change. It comes in with a folk music arrangement and gradually works outward within that musical concept.
Season of You
With a lot of folk and adult contemporary music built into it, this feels like something that would have been at home in the 1970s. It has one of the strongest vocal performances of the disc, too.
Not Enough
We're back into rocking territory with this bluesy rocker. The vocals are very soulful and powerful here. This is one of the highlights of the set.
Drink it Down
Another rocker, this has more pop rock sound in the mix than the bluesy texture of the last one. It does get a bit of a parental advisory on the lyrics. There are some really soaring elements here, and hints of prog rock.
So Estranged
Combining adult contemporary sounds with rock, folk and more, this is a particularly mainstream cut. It's also effective. It has some interesting guitar soloing, too, leaning toward jazz.
Barefoot
Classical strings play a big role of this song. That's particularly true of the world music leaning introduction. There are hints of things like Camper Van Beethoven on this number. The vocals are delivered distantly, like through a mic and distant amplifier at times. The cut grows outward and really has a lot of progressive rock in the mix. The strings paint such wonderful pictures. There are jazzy elements here, too. The lyrics seem quite topical.
Unraveled
Piano leads this one out and holds it for the first vocals. Eventually other layers of sound are added to the mix, but the piano remains prominent for much of the cut. This is a balladic cut that is particularly evocative and powerful. It gets more rocking, but almost in a power ballad (albeit more of a country folk based version) mode than turning into a real rock song.
Zero Zero
The closer is more of an energized rocker. While I think the previous tune would have worked pretty well in this slot, I think this cut really is the better choice. There are some catchy melodies, and the whole tune just works quite well.
 
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