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Rhythm & Views

Amy Rude

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Local singer/songwriter Amy Rude can do the full-band country-rock thing better than your average hip Canadian hack, but My Love Is a Velvet Farm sounds more like creative freak folk that several of our own homegrown musicians play: breathy, blended off-key vocals, sparse instrumentation, casually strummed guitars and the feeling of sitting in the backyard and playing for the creosote.

My Love Is a Velvet Farm is five original songs and two covers, and the fact that it was recorded in a motel in the Mojave Desert in June of last year is evident in the pace and texture: You can hear Rude's guitar pick hit the strings on the title track as a keyboard squeaks lazily in the background. You can almost hear the wind rustling in the Joshua trees on "Gold Rush in Germany," and the shuffling drums in the background on "Carnivorous" prickle the guitar. The percussion on "Bloom in Pioneer" sounds like dried branches clicking together, and Rude's voice sounds like a ghostly, girlish Carter sister.

"The West and transient myths pour from this desert," Rude writes in the liner notes, "To me, this is what songs are about: moments, isolation, security, fear, loss, myth, fantasy." Rude's cover of Jack Clement's "Miller's Cave" (à la the Gram Parsons version) is the most upbeat moment on the EP, and her cover of "Only Love Can Break Your Heart" starts out shaky but is a logical summation: It ends the afternoon or evening porch jam on a relaxed note, invoking myth, security, isolation, loss, fear and fantasy all at once.

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