She is resigned and resilient, vulnerable and strong. Rising roots star Amy McCarley is not exactly — and yet, every last thing — you might expect of a talented singer songwriter. No Depression called her voice “a nuanced instrument best paired with a strong lyrical hook.” And boy, can she write one. Take “Fools Lament,” for example, with verses that wind their way expertly toward a simple, brilliant chorus, “There ain’t no way to change fake to real.” There is nothing fake about McCarley, whose voice and vibe delivers the goods from the stage as well as the studio. Her 2011 self-titled debut led her home state of Alabama to name her an Artist to Watch.
The anticipated follow-up, Jet Engines (2014), has garnered positive reviews and made its way onto various “Best Of” lists. In February, LoneStar Music Magazine included the project among its Top Americana Albums. Bill Bowker/KRSH added it to his Top 10 Americana Albums of 2014. In addition, McCarley’s song, “Everybody Wants To,” earned her an honorable mention in American Songwriter’s Lyric-Only Contest (Nov. 2014).
Co-produced by Grammy-winning Guitarist Kenny Vaughan (Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives), Jet Engines was recorded in Nashville’s Tone Chaparral Studios. “The record happened in one day of tracking,” says McCarley of recording with Vaughan and Tone’s George Bradfute. “What we captured that first day wound up winning out over any modest technical improvements I was able to make after the band had gone.” From the Bakersfield-influenced “Here I Am” to the smoldering, alt-country “Hands Tied,” Jet Engines covers a wide range of roots music that has been embraced by fans. The album spent months on the 2014 Americana Music Chart and has led to ongoing, national tours in its promotion.
In support of Jet Engines, this year McCarley has appeared at the Kerrville Folk Festival in Texas; played celebrated showcases during February’s Folk Alliance and SXSW as well as first-time appearances at Alabama’s famed W.C. Handy Festival in Muscle Shoals, The Space Camp Alumni Festival in Huntsville and Tuscaloosa’s Summer Shindig at The Bama Theatre. In September –after an opener for Kevin Gordon celebrating his album release during Americana Music Festival Week– her showcase with headliner John Hiatt at EarleFest: A Celebration of Americana Music was preceded by several in-studio live radio performances on California radio programs like KPIG’s Please Stand By with Sleepy John Standidge, Robin Pressman’s Evening Muse on The Krush 95.9, et al.
McCarley is also becoming a sought-after singer and cowriter on Music Row, where she co-writes regularly with the likes of Pat Alger and Wood Newton.
Soaring to the top of her game – the perfect place to get acquainted with her music.