Editors' pick

Al Petteway & Amy White


Editorial Review

'Home Sweet Home'
By Mike Joyce
Friday, November 16, 2012

Subtitled “Songs of Love, Loss and Belonging,” singer-songwriter Amy White’s new album comes with brief liner notes that shed light on the 11 original compositions. The title track, the multi-instrumentalist says, was inspired by her travels through “the beautiful valleys that parallel the spine of Blue Ridge Mountains.” It’s a lovely, sinuous ballad, warmly conveying the pleasure White derives from her commutes, but like most of the songs here, it’s not an entirely sentimental affair.

Indeed, the album’s standouts are often as soulful as they are reflective. Addressing a variety of social issues, “Salt of the Earth” is rooted in the same musical soil as Stephen Foster’s “Hard Times.” “American Dream” is dedicated to the folks who have been teetering on their own fiscal cliff for years, while “Dying on the Vine,” inspired by White’s late father, extends some of the album’s themes: “Death, drought and politics, all in a nutshell for you, Dad.”

The love songs tend to be deeply personal or, as in “The Best Dog,” brimming with gratitude. And the arrangements featuring White and husband Al Petteway on acoustic guitars crisply complement the album’s rustic charms and quietly affecting vocals.