CD Reviews for 05/29/06 – Amy LaVere, Robbie Fulks

Compact Capsules for 05/29/07
by Dan Ferguson

Robbie Fulks
Yep Roc Records YEP-2125

The many sides of the Robbie Fulks performing persona are in full bloom on the new double disc live recording called Revenge! While many know of Fulks’ range as a singer and songwriter running from hard country to rockers, Revenge! widens the palate showcasing his nifty fingerpicking talents, not to mention his thespian leanings. Comprised of 23 tracks spread over the two CDs, Revenge! is the high energy Fulks in all his flying colors from hamming it up on the storytelling front to dishing out plenty of favorites on the tune end while in the process making sure to work in new material (half of the recording, as a matter of fact) to keep things fresh. Musically speaking, disc one features Fulks with a rocking four-piece band accompanying him, while disc two strips things down presenting Fulks in an unplugged cabaret setting during which his Carolina-bred flatpicking shines. (Yep Roc Records, P.O. Box 4821, Chapel Hill, NC 27515, or

Amy LaVere
Anchors & Anvils
Archer Records 3319272-2

The initial attention grabber is that she’s a young and extremely attractive female playing the stand-up bass with as much grace as she does authority. That, by its lonesome, places her in rare company. The next grabber is that she’s dabbled in films such as I Walk The Line (a cameo as rockabilly filly Wanda Jackson) and most recently, Black Snake Moan. Perhaps most importantly, where her music is concerned, she’s gotten the seal of approval from one of the legends in the business, Jim Dickinson, whose production credits span Big Star to the Replacements to the North Mississippi All-Stars and whose sideman roles have ranged from the Rolling Stones to Dylan to the Atlantic Records house band in its early 1970s soul heyday. Based out of Memphis, Amy LaVere has the makings of the next big thing to come out of that historically rich music town. Possessing a provocative voice as sweet as it is sultry, the chanteuse LaVere describes her latest release called Anchors & Anvils as a classic country/gypsy/jazz thing. Couldn’t classify it better myself. Mixing originals with a bunch of tasty covers (the aforementioned Dylan, Stax queen Carla Thomas, et al), LaVere calls upon some of Memphis’ finest – Dickinson, Jimbo Mathus (ex-Squirrel Nut Zippers), Jason Freeman, Eric Lewis, Paul Taylor – to help fulfill her vision on this stylistically adventurous outing. Also produced by Dickinson, this sophomore release picks up where Ms. LaVere’s wonderful 2006 debut This World Is Not My Home left off, that is an album anchored in a sea of savory Southern sounds form-fit for her wistful, cool breeze of a voice. (Archer Records, 88 Union Avenue, Memphis, TN 38103, or

Amy LaVere appears at Cafe Nine in New Haven on Wednesday, May 30. See for details.

(Dan Ferguson is a free-lance music writer and host of The Boudin Barndance, broadcast Thursday nights from 6 – 9 pm on WRIU-FM 90.3. He lives in Peace Dale and can be reached at [email protected].)