Amy Speace, a power-house of country rock, took to the stage before a full house at Joe’s Pub in New York City on June 19th, 2009. The singer/songwriter celebrated the upcoming release of her new album, The Killer in Me, and it is a winner, fitting right in between energetic pop-rock, and the melancholy harmonies of country. At first glance, the perky and smiley Speace doesn’t seem like a singer/songwriter fighting a recent heartache, but that’s just what she accomplishes with her new album.
Playing guitar alongside a four-piece band, Speace was sharp right from the start, as rock-and-roll intertwined with her vivacious alternative country style. Speace was seemingly effortless in displaying her traditional subject matter of soul-searching. Like many singer/songwriters, Speace’s compositions begin with life stories, and her set list was fittingly compiled of these stories within her songs. The album’s title track, “The Killer in Me,” had the perfect amount of twang and tragedy to compliment her silky, achy voice, while her performance of the understated “Haven’t Learned A Thing,” prompted everyone in the audience to rethink the constant plight we all have to better ourselves. Through the sounds of triumph and defeat, Speace dared to show vulnerability and shed light on the state of mind of someone who has loved and lost.
During the rest of the set, we watched Speace easily switching back and forth between tantalizing and dark songs like “Blue Horizon” and the very vulnerable “The Weight of the World,” a disheartening and powerful acoustic tune of sorrow and unfairness. Though Speace has pulled inspiration from musicians such as Judy Collins and Lucinda Williams, she undoubtedly has enough of her own personality throughout her work as a strong, confident woman with a voice to be heard. This was unmistakably present in her performance, as Speace has composed a body of work with enough variety to keep everyone’s eyes and ears on her music at all times.
From here until the end of her nearly two-hour show, Speace left us with some of her best stuff as she and her band produced wonderfully intense, dazzling rock, a truly fitting end to a night of music shared between Speace and her New York City audience. Her music may be filled with heart-breaking honesty and aching openness, but Amy Speace is such a genuine and joyful personality that a night spent watching her perform has proved to be anything but a downer. The Killer in Me was released on June 30th, 2009.