Amy LaVere, Ernie Hendrickson | Schubas | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

Amy LaVere, Ernie Hendrickson Soundboard

When: Thu., Aug. 11, 9 p.m. 2011

On her third album, Stranger Me (Archer), Memphis singer and upright bassist Amy LaVere makes perfect use of the sweet innocence of her delicate voice. Though she sounds fragile if not wounded, an almost sinister fighting spirit lurks deep in her throat. LaVere seems to have written "Damn Love Song" as an act of emotional warfare, and tosses the lyrics "Here's your damn love song" at her lover with contempt. "Red Banks," written by Kristi Witt, is a modern murder ballad—the narrator offs her jealous lover before he can kill her, then denies she did him in ("He'd of killed me if I did," she explains). Her parched melodies poke at Memphis soul, but she doesn't push her thin voice to places it can't go, instead singing in a shadowy whisper—a whisper cradled by a terrific band that includes several guest horn players and resourceful guitarist David Cousar. —Peter Margasak

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