I would like to coin a term today, in the manner of the adjectives Jeffersonian or Keynesian. My new word would be Waitsian, and would refer to a particular kind of music; gruff and sparse, growling and noir. Songs like this favorite of mine, “Heartattack and Vine.” Yes, Tom Waits has spawned something of a cottage industry in this next generation of musicians, who sat metaphorically at his knee ingesting his art and his aura. We know that so many people have covered his songs, in kind making them prettier. The Eagles doing “Ol’ 55,” or “Jersey Girl” from Bruce Springsteen, or Rod Stewart with “Downtown Train.”
I don’t think it is a stretch to go from there to Amy LaVere. I am reminded of the expression ‘Still Water Runs Deep.’ She is self-possessed, with such style and such ease with matter-of-fact darkness. She has recorded three solo projects since 2005. And she has emerged in film roles as well, including the Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line and Craig Brewer’s Hustle and Flow. Her first lead role is scheduled for this year, The Romance of Loneliness, which will be filmed in Memphis next month.
“Acting is very much like singing,” she says. “It’s losing yourself in a story. My favorite escape.” Amy’s fourth CD, Stranger Me, will be out in July, and she will hit the road to tour. Just to whet your appetite a tad, here's "Red Banks," an exclusive track we captured at Threadgill’s during our Marathon in March. - Jessie Scott