"This recording is a celebration of songs with wings. Whether the wings of a fairy from an age-old tale, or the wings of a blackbird from a traditional ballad or poem," writes singer and multi-instrumentalist Amy White in the liner notes to her new release. Sound a little precious? Stay tuned.
"Golden Wing" may well turn out to be the White album with the strongest legs, thanks not only to a series of alluring, string-woven arrangements that sound both contemporary and Celtic-rooted, but to verse and lyrics contributed by everyone from William Blake and Edna St. Vincent Millay to Jesse Winchester and Karla Bonoff.
White, too, displays her songwriting gifts, enhancing the album's reflective tone and gentle lyricism. The wistfully evocative "Hide and Go Seek" could pass for a mid-career Joni Mitchell tune, and there are other examples of White's impressive songcraft. Yet it's her voice, a lovely and expressive soprano, and the way she and her husband, picker par excellence Al Petteway, elegantly frame the songs and poetry that stands out. True to form, Petteway, who plays several instruments on the album -- guitars, mandolin, bouzouki and fretless bass -- adds color without clutter, consistently complementing White's rhythm guitar work and quietly affecting vocals. With help from some talented friends, they imbue songs old and new with a seamless and soulful beauty.
-- Mike Joyce
Appearing Friday at Jammin' Java. * To hear a free Sound Bite from Amy White, call Post-Haste at 202-334-9000 and press 8129. (Prince William residents, call 703-690-4110.)