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Amy Hart - Congratulations

Painted Rock Records

10 tracks 34.18mins

Born in Chicago, Amy Hart is a singer/songwriter who is developing quite a following as a purveyor of smoky blues, with a tinge of contemporary Nashville country music.

Here working with Nashville alumni, Wayne Killius (d), Howard Duck (b), Bob Bryant (g) Steve Bryant (b) and with some excellent, if occasional, resonator work by Gene Bush. Amy gives us 10 originals, moving from the opener, the title track Congratulations, a mid paced, loping song with a clever lyric through Get Ready, with some nice guitar work, to the (in my opinion) outstanding track on the CD, Rich Ass Daddy, a song of longing not for a handsome lover but for a man loaded with the necessary right stuff…C A S H.

Even County Gets The Blues is another of those Cowgirls With The Blues songs and sounds like something that might have graced the Nashville charts of twenty years ago and is a pretty futile attempt to join two genres – a melding achieved far more successfully by the likes of Johnny Cash and or Waylon Jennings.

There are shades of Sheryl Crowe in Amy’s vocal style and her voice often has a smoky tinge, although in some places her diction could do with a tad more care. (Although that has never affected Emmylou Harris.) The song, When Love Comes To Call, is pop music, an observation which points to one of the two problems with this CD. The first is that with some exceptions the songs drift towards MOR with a dash of blues, the second is that at less than 35 mins, this CD is a tad short. In some of the tunes, although there is space, there is rarely an extended solo and the result is, not to put too fine a point on it, unfortunate.

Let me, however, end on a positive note: this is a fine recording, Amy has a great voice and demonstrates some fine song writing skills. The musicianship is exemplary as you would expect from such Nashville luminaries and Amy’s fans will LOVE IT. However, with the exception of a few tracks, don’t expect too much airplay on blues based stations.

Reviewer Ian McKenzie lives in England. He is the editor of Blues In The South (  a monthly flier providing news, reviews, a gig guide and all kinds of other good stuff, for people living and going to gigs along the south coast of England. Ian is also a blues performer (see and has two web-cast regular blues radio shows. One on www.phonic.FM in Exeter (Wednesdays: 1pm Eastern/ 12 noon Central), the second on KCOR – Kansas City Online Radio (on Fridays at 1pm Eastern/ 12 noon Central)

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