How to Sleep in a Stormy Boat

In the lead-up to her latest, Amy Speace lost some things—love, judging from the lyrics, and also her voice, thanks to a bout with acute laryngitis. Still, by virtue of being alive and having the friends, family and emotional toughness to muddle on, for better or worse, this Nashville-based singer-songwriter considers herself among the “Fortunate Ones” she sings about on the leadoff track. “We are fleers and fighters, lying backbiters,” she declares, humble and headstrong, delivering her lines simply and elegantly, as is her way. Speace sometimes works herself up and flutters songbird-style into higher registers, but this onetime Shakespearean actress is more interested in setting subdued scenes and letting listeners do the rest. On every song bar “Hunter Moon”—a murky blues-noir number colored by rumbling guitar fuzz and lines about torn dresses and spurts of blood—she makes spartan use of accompanying instruments, using acoustic guitar, cello and the occasional drum beat for little more than ambiance. All she needs is a melody and a nature metaphor or two, and she’ll break it down like a grateful survivor—not a bad thing to be.


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