As We Are

Amy Correia

Independent release, 2022

http://amycorreia.com

REVIEW BY: Jason Warburg

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 03/18/2022

Singer-songwriter Amy Correia’s path to the here and now has been a winding one. Signed by Capitol at the turn of the century, her 2000 debut Carnival Love presented her inventive, heartfelt songs, sung in a distinctive, delicate voice that invited comparisons to the likes of Victoria Williams and Nanci Griffith. Working a broad folksinger groove that embraced the full range of sounds now generally recognized as Americana, Correia won critical praise but was dropped by Capitol, only to resurface four years later with Lakeville on the Nettwerk label.

Correia has been an independent artist ever since, winning multiple Independent Music Awards for her self-released 2012 album You Go Your Way, re-releasing Lakeville in 2021, and following up with the March 25 release of her brand-new five-song EP As We Are.

The new songs find Correia in fine form, supported by a band of Mike Castellana (guitars), Andy Plaisted (drums), and Kimon Kirk (bass and backing vocals). Kirk, who doubles as producer of these sessions, has been a frequent collaborator in recent years, with Correia contributing a co-write to his 2021 solo album Altitude. They share a core musical sensibility: honest, artful lyrics presented in deceptively simple yet textured and vibrant musical arrangements.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Opener “Bow To The Fire” has a rather meta feel, an overt celebration of creativity that neatly sums up Correia’s life philosophy: “All we have to give the world and God / is ourselves as we are.” The gently bluesy arrangement features stutter-stepping verses that move smoothly into the chorus before diving sideways into a tasty jam at the bridge that eventually resolves and returns.

“Sunday Driver” has a pleasantly daydreamy feel, a number about the joy of wandering at your own pace, unhurried by the tightly wound people around you. (Not that I’d want to be the driver behind this person… but maybe I shouldn’t be in such a hurry?) As Correia stretches out another syllable, her fragile voice rising and swerving, dipping and doubling back, another influence becomes apparent: Joni Mitchell. Not a name to be used lightly, that one, but it’s there in the bones of these songs and performances.

Midway through, “Sweet Things” is a meditation on love and loss whose warm acoustic melodies balance out Correia’s efforts to work through the bundle of mixed emotions in front of the mic. “The Beggar” follows, a stark, intense story song whose titular narrator declares “I know I’m nothing to you / But I’m still something to me… My mind is broken glass / So many changing shapes and colors.”  At the bridge, the song billows upward and outward in an explosion of thoughts and chords, giving you a front-row seat to its narrator’s troubled mind. “The Beggar” is everything Phil Collins’ “Another Day In Paradise” wasn’t: insightful, empathetic, raw and honest.

My personal favorite here arrives in the form of closer “With All Of Us.” A song with a continental melody and tidal flow, it celebrates in gentle and dreamy fashion the special tribe of which Correia is a member: the artists. “They kind of remind me / To share my love / With all of us / When they share their love.” By its climax there’s a lot going on, with acoustic guitars, layered vocals, bass, drums, and whispery percussion creating an almost orchestral lift, with Correia’s gentle cries at the center of the storm.

At five songs and 16 minutes, As We Are feels like an appetizer rather than the full meal, but it’s a strong showcase for Correia’s abundant gifts as a songwriter and bandleader, and one well worth seeking out. These songs steadily work their way under your skin like lullabies for the soul.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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