Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Mitch Easter, James Mastro, And The Faces Help Amy Speace Make "Better" One Of Her Best

Amy Speace's empowering twang "Better" almost didn't make it on to her new album 'The Killer In Me,' out June 30 from Wildflower Records. But thanks to some expert advice from producer and guitarist James Mastro (formerly of The Bongos/Health and Happiness Show), the song that started as a whim blossomed into an endearing anthem for those not willing to settle for less than the best from love.

Listen to "Better": windows media | quicktime

Speace originally imagined "Better" on a lark after she and her band listened to pop-country radio incessantly during a recent tour. "I joked to my drummer," remembers Speace, "'I want to write a song for Shania Twain to sing,' and wrote the chorus while humming along to the radio." Speace tried to include the song on her 2006 Wildflower debut 'Songs For Bright Street,' but "I wasn't happy with the version," she says. "It always seemed too treacly."

By the time Speace went into legendary engineer Mitch Easter's (R.E.M., Pavement, Suzanne Vega) Fidelitorium studio in North Carolina to record 'The Killer In Me,' she had all but given up hope in the song's potential: "I didn't think I'd actually find a way to arrange or record 'Better,' until we were in the studio at Mitch's, listening to The Faces, when James said, 'THAT'S IT!' and the band just went in and tried to emulate the sloppy rock feel of 'Ooh La La,'" Speace explains, referring to the famed English rock band's 1973 classic.

"Better" is one of the more jovial songs on 'The Killer In Me,' an album that finds the New York-based singer/songwriter forging into deeper, darker lyrical and musical terrain, borne largely out of relationships gone wrong, then right and wrong again. Killer's 12 soul-baring new songs maintain the effortless melodic appeal of Speace's prior work, while delivering complex emotional insights that give the album startling intimacy and resonance.

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