Black Music Matters Festival

Amanda Cook

Deep Water – 2017 (Mountain Fever)

Reviewed by Devin Adams

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CDs by Amanda Cook

Amanda Cook's label debut put her in "Deep Water," and the water is fine with fantastic musicianship and good songwriting.

The Florida native is no stranger to bluegrass, having fallen in love with the sound as a child. On her second album overall, Cook delivers an emotional and passionate, yet angelic vocal style that seems almost effortless, and when joined in harmony, it sounds as though the angels really are singing. Carolyne VanLierop (banjo), Scotty French (guitar) and Jeff Partin (Bass, Dobro) compliment Cook's vocal sound perfectly, especially on "Magnolia Wind."

To go along with top notch vocals, producer Aaron Ramsay, created an instrumental blend that at times is smooth, like on the Ronnie Bowman penned, "Till I'm Too Old," but can also crash like the tide when called upon, see "Leaving Louisville" for instance.

Thomm Jutz, Gillian Welch, Guy Clark and Jerry Salley lend their writer's credits and are responsible for some of the strongest tracks.

"Banks Of Big Bend," written by VanLierop, (bonus points for slipping in the word "Mammy") and the aforementioned "Leaving Louisville" make the biggest mark.

Like so many other projects "Deep Water" finds its strength from its combination of individual songs. Each musician and songwriter's contribution gives great depth to "Deep Water."