20 September 2019 (released)
08 September 2019
Three days ago I had never heard Amanda St John – never even heard OF Amanda St John. Now I find myself captivated by a blonde lady from Northern Ireland with one of the best white soul/Blues voices I’ve heard in ages.
This album was recorded in Muscle Shoals Alabama at the famous FAME Studio with additional horns and strings added in Northern Ireland.
If you don’t got the chops, they don’t let you in to FAME so that gave me a hint that she was going to be a class performer.
When the album arrived and I started to play it, I was truly knocked back by what I was hearing – Amanda St John has a VOICE!
She also writes a pretty good song (all 11 tracks were written by her) but really it is her voice that grabbed me and after listening through half a dozen times I am still finding the depths and breadth of her vocal skills.
She grew up listening to a plethora of the soul greats – Aretha, Etta, The Supremes – and I could hear some of all of those in her style and songs but there was another great hiding away in her vocal – she reminded me very much of Dusty Springfield and that is not a comparison I make lightly.
She has the ability to sing big and bold or to come across with a breathy ‘little girl’ simplicity and there really isn’t any struggle in any of her vocals here.
Personal favourite tracks are many but I especially loved hearing the album title track – all deep Southern soul – or her belting out ‘You Got Me’ with a wonderful bassline (David Hood) and keyboards (Clayton Ivey) driving her unrestrained vocal or maybe the gorgeous ‘Take A Leap’ – deep into whimsy and sweetness, just an acoustic guitar leading into lovely strings – her voice here just set the hairs on the back of my neck all atremble.
She has had plaudits from the likes of Whispering Bob Harris for her first album (2016) but this deserves the widest audience possible. Sheer class.
She will be touring shortly:
Friday 20th September Crescent Arts, Belfast
Sunday 22nd September Whelans Dublin
Wednesday 25th September Green Note London
Friday 4th October Market Place Armagh
Saturday12th October Playhouse Theatre Derry (with the Inishowen Gospel Choir)
Thursday 17th October Voodoo Rooms Edinburgh