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Amy Millan

Honey From the Tombs – 2006 (Arts & Crafts)

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

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CDs by Amy Millan

Amy Millan is far better known as being part of the Montreal indie music scene with bands Stars and Broken Social Scene. But here she has gone the solo route with the cool country vibe coming through time and again.

Millan, who recorded this over three years in three studios, has a soft voice, sometimes slightly ethereal, but the music maintains enough edge and kick to make listeners pay attention. In fact, the spare instrumentation from some Broken Social Scene-sters and Toronto bluegrass band Crazy Strings puts the emphasis on the melancholy vocal effort and fits in well with songs about love lost ("Losin' You," "Baby I" and the downright depressing "Blue In Yr Eye")

Not everything maintains a strong country vibe as "Skinny Boy" and "All the Miles" attest, but they work.

But she follows that up with tried-and-true country instrumentation and theme with "He Brings Out the Whiskey In Me" and the closing "Pour Me Up Another." In this day and age where the good old country drinking song -alcohol is mentioned in many songs - is something of a relic, it's refreshing to hear an outsider jump in headfirst with a dozen very well put together songs.