"Cross is a real treasure, real country...a fine story-teller."
Maurice Hope , Flyin Shoes
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COUNTRY MUSIC PEOPLE MAGAZINE, UK
Review by Editor, Duncan Warwick
"A year or so ago I was blown away by the debut album by Amber Cross, and now the California-based singer and songwriter returns with a selection of old-time Gospel music recorded live at Parkfield Bluegrass Festival.
Alongside songs of traditional sources from the early 20th century, and even a couple form the 19th century are a couple of terrific Amber Cross originals – Black-Eyed Susan and How Do You Pray – which I actually think outshine everything else here.
There is also a cover of an Iris Dement song, He Reached Down, from a gospel album she recorded some years ago, and whom Amber Cross cites as one of her favorite singers, which is entirely fitting as there is a distinct similarity in their vocal styles. Personally I’d say Amber has the edge.
Performing as a trio, Amber is joined by hubby James Moore on lead guitar, and Gary Arcemont on fiddle, banjo and mandolin, and the down-homey acoustic feel, rather than strict Bluegrass, is especially enthralling on Just A Closer Walk With Thee and I’ll Fly Away, but that might be because they are the two songs with which I was already most familiar.
Whilst it is a live recording, you wouldn’t necessarily know it if it weren’t for the introductions to the songs and some politely restrained cheering and clapping, and that for me is the highest compliment one can pay to a live album.
I adore Amber Cross, the unique quality of her voice is intoxicating, she has some serious songwriting chops, wonderful phrasing, and while this CD is something about which she obviously feels very passionate - she and husband James spend Sunday mornings playing Gospel songs in local retirement communities and her father was a Baptist minister - it is difficult for me to view it as more than a stopgap until her next proper studio release no matter how much I enjoyed it, and from a completely selfish point of view I need many more Amber Cross original songs in my life. She is truly special."
Duncan Warwick, Editor CMPM