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AMY GODDARD - Burn And Glow

AMY GODDARD - Burn And Glow
Incantus Media

Originally from South Wales, singer-songwriter and guitarist Amy Goddard now lives in Portsmouth, where she performs regularly at local folk and acoustic clubs. She co-wrote and released one CD with a friend and musical partner, Helen Harris, before circumstances dictated she continue in a solo capacity. She then embarked on a life-changing course that explored a holistic approach to both singing and songwriting and gave her the confidence to produce a whole album’s worth of her own songs.

These stem from her self-confessed epiphany, the catharsis of writing obliquely about her own experiences without spelling them out; for, by majoring on this principle of lyrical detachment, she leaves the listener to draw his/her own conclusions by using personal experience to fill in the picture with specifics. This apparent ambiguity can lead to some revelations and unexpected insights through its flexible portrayal of key feelings and images. Make Me Whole, for instance, is a beautiful song depicting the solace found in playing a musical instrument but written from that object’s point of view, whereas Don’t Try tellingly expounds the virtues and value of a listening ear over and above a more active (albeit well-intentioned) problem-solver. On the other hand, Amy shows she can also write powerfully dark songs that more directly explore their subject (Suzie, which examines the lasting effects of serious bullying). And then, the disc’s ostensibly-final track One More Song is the perfect encore. Amy also admits to deriving songwriting inspiration from John Stewart (who could forget Daydream Believer?) and in addition to covering his song, Jasmine, she’s penned a tribute to John, Lonesome Picker, while the breezier of her own material also seems to reference John’s work, if at times (Morning Train, Just Be You) a touch obvious in its sentiment and expression. As is the brief medley of lullabies that derives from childhood memories of these being sung to her by her mother.

But the finest of her compositions – I Will See, with its striking, assured imagery; Don’t Try; the painfully vulnerable Web Of Lies – prove to be very special indeed, as is the intimate and involving atmosphere conjured by the album’s production, which conveys so well the close-knit sense of identification with her listeners that Amy’s persuasive singing voice affords. Her guitar work is both stylish and amicably phrased, allowing just enough space into the sound-picture for very occasional, selective instrumental enhancements (double bass, guitar and percussion – Greg Mudd, James Crocker) and subtle backing vocals (Matt Goddard, DiElle and the Igloo Choir). This rather lovely CD is so aptly titled, for it surely burns itself into your consciousness and leaves a wonderfully warm glow there.

David Kidman

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This album was reviewed in Issue 104 of The Living Tradition magazine.