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Amber Norgaard

Roots Run Deep

Review by Gary Hill

Amber Norgaard's brand of music is deeply roots based, but also modern at the same time. The song writing and arrangements here are great. Really, though, the one factor that steals the show over and over again is her vocal delivery. She's a soulful, bluesy singer who really emotes when she delivers her songs. All of those factors work together to create a particularly effective set of music. 

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2020  Volume 5. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2020.

Track by Track Review
Came Here to Love
An ambient introduction brings this cut into being. From there we get a keyboard arrangement that serves as the backdrop for some soulful, evocative vocals. There are fully arranged sections with horns, but a lot of the piece features that keyboard and vocal approach. Backing vocals are used well to augment the song, too.
Good Day to Be Alive
While this has a modern pop rock arrangement at its core, the tune has plenty of old school country in the mix. The violin (or fiddle depending no your preference) is a nice touch. The vocal performance is really the winning element, though.
Roots Run Deep
Much more of a modern rocker, this still has some hints of the roots sound we heard on the first couple numbers. This is a powerhouse tune that's among the highlights here. The vocals again shine even brighter than the rest of the tune does.
Mama's Eyes
Another that starts with keys, the backing vocals on this cut bring some real gospel vibes. The cut has a classic soulful rock music sound to it.
How We Spend Our Time
I love the piano that serves as the main basis for the opening movements of the cut. This is the first tune that qualifies as a ballad, but it gets powered up a bit later. The vocals are more on the gentle side here. This is a cut that leans toward folk rock with some hints of prog.
Daylight Breaks
Back into more modern rock zones, this is another powerhouse tune with roots elements at its core. The saxophone later along the road is a nice touch.
Take It Higher
I dig the fiddle playing on this number. The tune has some great guitar fills, too. It's another rocking piece that showcases some roots sound.
By My Side
Not  a big change, this is perhaps a bit more blues oriented. It's not one of my favorites, but it is catchy and entertaining.
Lasting a Lifetime
Another ballad, this has a bit of an old-school rock and roll vibe to it. I think this number works better for me than the last one did, but it still doesn't rise to the level of standout.
Blessed With Life
Keyboards and vocals are the sole elements of this number. It's a mellower song, but also a strong one. I'm not sure it was the best choice to close the set, but it does have a grounding effect.
 
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