Material: Finding her roots in Pennsylvania, drifting through Texas and Nepal before establishing herself in Los Angeles, singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Amilia K. Spicer is an experienced nomad. Upon initial listen, it is clear Spicer draws influence from an array of locations. Americana with notes of folk, country and blues, Spicer’s sonic profile is multi- faceted, accurately exemplifying her vagabond nature and transporting the listener to a place featuring lush hills and expansive skies.
Musicianship: Sultry croons transition into enigmatic whispers as Spicer renders her listener transfixed with her vocal ability. The undulating quality of her voice, reminiscent of Fleetwood Mac era Stevie Nicks, lends to the folky sentiments of the overall arrangement. Her lyrics feel achingly intimate, often inciting rich, earthy imagery and poetic symbolism. The backing instrumentation, consisting of strings such as guitars, banjo, mandolin and a variety of percussion, interlocked skillfully to provide a swinging support for Spicer. Even electric guitarist Steve Postell exhibited his chops with a number of blistering solos in between passages.
Performance: Celebrating the release of her new album Wow and Flutter, Spicer brought a sizable crowd onto the floor, those who could not fit inside craned their necks from the doorway. She kicked off her set with the debut of her music video “Lightning,” a dreamy visual companion that Spicer shot almost completely by herself—while underwater. Although the musicians were of a very high caliber, the set felt organic and down to earth. Spicer frequently addressed the crowd in a conversational manner, and even swigged a bottle of Pinot Grigio before she plunged into “Wild Horses.”
Summary: Spicer characterizes her sound as “red-dirt noir,” which aptly summarizes the relationship between the rustic twang of the accompaniment and her seductive, smoky vocals. Her stage presence was undeniable even amid the All-Stars roster of musicians with which she shared the stage. Moody and emotional, Spicer has the unique ability to induce nostalgia for a place and time one may have never experienced.
The Players: Amilia K. Spicer, keys, banjo, guitar, vocals; Steve Postell, guitar; Don Teschner, mando, lap steel, harmonica; Tom Felicetta, bass; Andy Kamman, Michael Jerome and Christopher Allis, drums; Bliss Bowen, vocals.
Photo by Austin Arthur