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Music Review - 'Amanda Cevallos` by Amanda Cevallos (jh)

Amanda Cevallos -  Amanda Cevallos (click on image to watch video)

8 June 2020 

 

This is the fifth album for Amanda Cevallos, who created quite a stir with her debut, Rainy Day, in 2006. There are so few artists making credible classic country these days, that her impact remains vital and her new offerings are eagerly anticipated. The Houston-raised, Austin-based singer/songwriter stays consistent with her sound on this eponymous effort, bringing honky-tonk, classic country, and alternative country. She wrote ten of the eleven songs here, all except the closer, “Ready For the Times to Get Better” (aren’t we all?) which she sings in Spanish, nodding to her Latin heritage.

On past efforts, like her debut and 2012’s I’ll Never Honky Tonk You, Cevallos called on big name session players like Lloyd Maines, Earl Poole Ball, Redd Volkaert and producer James Hyland. Hyland returns with a group of lesser notoriety but equally effective backers in Eldridge Goins (drums, backing vocals), Jimmie Greaves (lead guitar, backing vocals), Vance Hazen (bass) and Danny Hawk (pedal steel). Cevallos carries herself with mature confidence, capable of several personas be they dejected, joyous, playful, or sultry.  

From the opening “All My Boyfriends,” a witty lament about not quite finding the right one and needing a little of each, we know we’re in for an enjoyable set.  She then settles into the tear-in-the-beer ballad, the gorgeous perfect classic country sounding “Got Me Where You Want Me.” She revisits “Freddy Ain’t Ready” from a previous album, as if it’s the sequel to the opener, saying that “Freddy ain’t ready for love like mine.” She’s having fun playing hard to get and her feisty attitude, which could be annoying coming from others, is instead alluring.

She brings more tender emotions of “Crazy,” carried by Hawk’s swirling, weeping pedal steel while staying in that mellow mode for “Gonna Lose Me,” bringing the requisite heartbreak. “Love Me Together” is rendered in a hush, with gently strummed acoustic guitar punctuated by snippets of electric guitar and again by Hawk’s terrific pedal steel. These are as good a tri-fecta of ballads you’ll hear from anyone singing authentic country music today.She picks up the tempo with “The Way I Go,” with her attention-getting line “Baby I’ve been smoking weed” while taking the honky-tonk route on “Goodbye Truth. She even revisits one of her classic songs in a new arrangement of “Jose Guadalupe,” a mid-tempo swing song about her dad.

Go ahead, compare Cevallos to some of the bigger female names in country music. Cevallos has so much more talent and is far more worthy of donning that cowboy hat than most. Yet, 14 years into her career, she remains criminally under the radar. She deserves a far better reception. We can only hope that this fine recording points her in that direction.

 

Jim Hynes

 

 

Jim Hynes is an independent contributor on music for several magazines, including Elmore and Country Standard Time. He has also written for Variety. He was a listener-supported public station(s) radio host for 25 years in CT, MI, NJ and PA. He is also a Live music host/Emcee at several national and regional venues.

To Read All of Jim's Reviews, Click Here

 

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