P.E.I.'s Amanda Jackson has vocal power galore, but on this new, sophomore release, she and the band hold back with more reflective and moody songs. And you know what? In a way, that's more powerful. The collection is the result of a trip to a secluded cabin in the woods of P.E.I., and several days of recording with the band. It's not a rough sound, more warm and inviting. Rather than big drums and guitars, it's filled with acoustics, subtle electric leads, surprising solo horns, and percussion touches, and always that soulful voice.
While they identify as blues, roots is probably a better description, with solid songwriting throughout, and lots of melody for Jackson to work her magic. "Firestorm" isn't a blaze, it's a slow burn of a love song, which is of course more intense. "The Warrior" is a plea for strength, "Hold the line, we'll walk like warriors." The lone cover, a version of Crowded House's "Don't Dream It's Over," is slower and more dramatic than the original, again showing Jackson an able balladeer.
After all that simmering, the tension is released on "Break It To Ya," where the band (Dale McKie, Todd MacLean) gets to turn up, and now we hear the growl the Jackson's been holding back, on this funky, '70's workout. Ultimately this is very smart album; Jackson could easily be known as a belter, but in fact she's a multifaceted singer.
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