Based in Southern California, Amanda Kate is a country singer/songwriter with a burning passion for music from a young age. Amanda Kate fuses the stylish grit of country with the melodic sensibilities of pop on this latest release. Featuring 13 tracks that span the emotional spectrum of country music, the album “Time” kicks off with “Cowgirl Krytonite”. There’s a fierce guitar arrangement that leaps out of the acoustics, which underlines how full-on country can get! It provides a level of drama to compete with vocal delivery! Amanda Kate’s album “Time” brilliantly utilizes the opportunity to introduce an artist with a genuine, inherent connection to the music she makes. The calming, country-folk tones of “The Package” turn the project in a more heart-warming way, setting the bar high in terms of the melody, the crisp presentation, and Amanda’s own emotional yet flawless leading voice. Following this, the softness of an acoustic guitar continues to guide you through the collection, and the songs reach out to connect making it all the more memorable. “Different Kind of Rain” appears as a mildly classic, a gentle ballad with a similar sense of realness and honesty to the previous track. The subject matter is relatable, it means something very real, but it’s been approached in an accessible and fairly laid-back manner. The simple movement of the music, the rhythm, the subtly rising level of energy all satisfy and comfort in a wonderful way.
“Gypsy” is everything the title promises, a big hit with a worthy build-up and an explosive drop, a moment that contrasts brilliantly with what came before. At the same time, the song introduces Amanda’s unique vocal style and versatility. The pronunciation and the length of the notes pay tribute to performance styles that once made waves in the country world. Next up is “I Want You to Know” and the organic instrumentation impresses at every step, maintaining a big-band vibe that could easily translate to the stage to offer a mighty moment of high energy and togetherness. Complete with hints guitar and banjo alike, the whole thing skillfully walks the line between genres, leading with a strength of musicality and songwriting above all else. “Remember Me” brings through an artist with a slightly new style, and a flawless ability to easily meander through the complex melodies of just about any kind of song. The sound and style of the writing are classically authentic, rooted in the organic songwriting from a simpler time, yet clearly conceptually linked to the artist at hand, adding originality and freshness to the journey.
“The Last Time” is a personal favorite, a sense of progression emerges, with a contrasting descending melody-line and some notably scene-setting lyrics. The rise up to the hook is beautiful, the song uplifts you with it, and the whole thing moves from minimalist and somewhat optimistic, to heartbreaking; the perfect sort of track to turn to during times of deep reflection and isolation. Amanda Kate’s full vocal range is beautifully on display during “The Last Time”, a true highlight. “Time of Innocence” continues the story-telling aspect and perhaps captivates all the more-so than anything from before. Amanda’s voice takes on that of a story-teller, somewhat clearer, a little more Americana-soaked. Again, a subtle but effective build-up is all that’s needed to see this song through to its finish in an enjoyable manner.
“Watching You Give Up” is the sort of song that’s quickly familiar, memorable for its rising melody-line and for the way the soundscape surrounds and supports this building intensity and brightness. The song itself has clearly been well written, the concept is honest and intensely vulnerable – it’s the sort that can be taken on by anyone and everyone experiencing this kind of emotional turmoil. At the same time, this particular performance is stunning Amanda’s voice is phenomenal, effortlessly meandering between moments of delicacy and those that need to hit a little harder in order to emphasize certain emotional peaks.
There’s a natural air of strength and beauty to Amanda’s vocal style, and this makes the connection to the words shine all the more brightly. “Without You Here” is everything it needs to be, a superb performance, emotionally compelling, and a notably timeless song. The electric guitar comes in at the opportune moment to intensify the emotion even more so. The track is easily memorable, even among an ocean full of songs from the album. It offers a subtle but certain ear-worm, cleverly making sure you’ll remember and recognize it. “Velvet Leather Tough” has a great musical set-up, the country warmth and the guitar twang backs up Amanda’s leading voice in a fitting way. Her vocal and the song’s concept and melody undoubtedly drive the piece, there’s a certain quirkiness to the sound but it comes through as an authentic danceable country tune. As the album approaches the conclusion, “Healing When I Ride” comes through the speakers to slow down the pace once again. Those opening chords and that riff strike up memories pretty instantly. Then when the vocal melody comes in and tells the listener a story, everything falls into place. The hook in particular, and certain lines paving the way to it offer a bigger moment that absolutely seals the deal.
Good musicianship is something you can find almost everywhere these days, good songwriting on top of that though is a little rarer. To end the album is the title track “Time”, it settles in and works its magic in a humble, enjoyable way. Everything about it has just enough character to strengthen the central sound and keep you involved. The country twang and the passion that Amanda Kate injects into the delivery work gorgeously. A great way to end the album, and a final hit of memorable character that will hopefully let the name Amanda Kate ring loud for quite some time.
Listen to “Time” here.
Welcome to BuzzMusic Amanda Kate! Great to be able to chat with you, thanks for the interview! What can you tell us about the overall concept of your album “Time”?
The reason I named this album TIME was because of how much I cherish time these days. My mom was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer 2 years ago and It felt like my whole world came crashing down and at that moment you become so aware of TIME. My mom is more than just my mom, she’s my best friend, my songwriting partner, my horseback riding partner…my everything. When you are faced with a limit of TIME you realize that there is no time like the present and you have to take advantage of every day. I decided that I wanted to never give up on my dream. I want my mom to see how her music can change people's lives. I want her to know I'll never give up. Music has always been such a huge part of my life but this time it was more than just my dream, this was about my mom. Giving her songs a voice. When cancer took her vocal cords I promised her no matter what happens I would always sing her songs, I will always help your songs fly. This album is dedicated to my mama.
Your music always seems to light up the room and lift an audience up just when they need it! Was it your intention to be this kind of optimistic artist, or is it something that simply comes naturally for you?
I genuinely love to make people feel good and see the good in life. I grew up with a mom who was a dreamer, a believer and just downright always happy. I want people to walk away from a show either being touched by a lyric or entertained by a performance from my energy. I want people to always say "man she looks like she is having the time of her life up there".
How have you honed your songwriting style over time, and what do you think are the main qualities that make a song truly connect and last in the long-run?
For me I really love writing about my personal life experience, I grew up with a mother who was a songwriter and she always told me that songs should be about "one soul at a time". If you write a song and it changes one person's life, that's enough. I don't consider myself a great songwriter, I think I have a long way to go but I know I'm writing my truth and I'm writing songs that I believe in. I always want to be authentic and even when it feels uncomfortable I want to always have the courage to sing those songs.
Although the entire album was beautifully written, “Watching You Give Up” was a notably vulnerable and emotional song, it gave me chills from start to finish. Are all of your songs based on life experience? Do you ever worry about being too honest and open?
So that song, in particular, was really hard to write and sing because it was about my father. For the longest time, I couldn't even sing it live because I would start crying. Now as more time has passed I've been able to disconnect my personal connection with the song and just tell the story. Alcohol plays such a big part in ruining lots of people's lives and I have had so many people tell me that the song hit home with them over a parent or friend... it's definitely one of the songs that I will always be so proud of writing because it's 100% truth and heartache.
Thank you so much for sharing your new music with us and telling us a bit about yourself in the process! Do you have any upcoming shows in support of the new album?
I always tell people I'm really a normal simple girl, I have a beautiful little girl who is my entire world. I'm a mom, a wife, a daughter and a horse mommy to 3 beautiful quarter horses haha. I'm a completely independent artist chasing my dream while keeping all the other plates spinning. It's the most rewarding time in my life being able to chase my dream with my family by my side. I grew up in a small town in New Mexico and I'm so thankful for those years as a child in such a small town, I really shaped who I am today. California is home because this is where my baby girl was born, where I met my husband and where I planted roots. My mom was a dean martin golddigger when she was young, performing with the likes of Dean, Bob Hope and more. The entertainment business was bound to catch up with me, it's in my blood to be on stage.
I have my album release party Oct 9th at The Ranch Saloon, I will be playing the Suburu Country Freedom Festival in San Pedro with Chris Janson and Cody Johnson on Oct 19th. I also will be planning a southwest tour in 2020 through New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas. You can hear my singles currently on iTunes/Spotify/Amazon and stay in touch via Instagram or my website www.amandakatemusic.com