Ran across this story the other day… It was published in Harp, a great magazine that spit out its last pages in 2008. Amy’s music sticks with me to this day. Part of it is her sincerity, part of it is the “uniqueness” of her voice, part of it is that I feel that she’s writing and performing music because it’s in her soul and those folks, I think, need a bit more applause than they typically get.
Here’s the article as it ran:
Amy Allison wants to clear a few things up.
“I get a little puzzled when people think my stuff is so sad,” Allison admits,
“[because] there’s also humor in it. There are so many ways to put hope into a
song with a pretty melody. My favorite thing was when you had sad words [with] a fast tempo. I used to love that, because the juxtaposition is that I’m sad, but
I’m dancing anyway. I feel like [my music] is very life affirming.”
Okay, puzzled it is.
Growing up in a musical home — her father is the legendary Mose Allison —
Amy Allison started writing music after discovering Loretta Lynn on television.
With a well-stocked cupboard of songs, she played out for the first time at Dixon
Place, a New York City performance laboratory, in 1986. During the next six
months, she reports, she got a fair amount of attention. “It wasn’t major
attention, but more that I had expected, a lot more than I had expected,” she
says. It caused her to pull back a bit. “Maybe I just had cold feet,” she allows, “I
feel like I delayed things by just not being sure.”
Fate overpowered doubt, however, as Allison joined the country rock band The
Maudlins and then hooked up with ex-Lone Justice member Ryan Hedgecock at
a songwriter’s workshop in 1994. The duo formed Parlor James and offered an
EP and a full-length release to fans. Along the way, Allison has continued to
craft a bevy of emotionally wrenching songs set upon a country-blues laced bed
and made unique by her nasally vocal approach. Her latest, No Frills Friend
(Diesel Only) takes listeners through the ups and downs of a burgeoning love.
From Allison’s perspective, this collection is more optimistic than her past
albums. “I feel that it sounds so hopeful and there are a lot of pretty things to it,”
she explains. “I would hate to give people heartbreak.
There’s got to be some kind of beauty beneath it all,” she continues, “and I do
think there’s a resiliency and a kind of a hope in a lot of the songs, like “Pretty
Things to Buy” and “Beautiful Night.” I mean, life is hard and stuff, but there’s
beauty in the little things.”