Catching up on albums that I overlooked or couldn’t find time for in 2016 and uncovered this little gem, Holding Patterns by Amanda Rheaume, from the bowels of the Beat Surrender inbox, coincidently Amanda is on tour in the UK from the 11th of Jan thru’ to February and will be supported by Anders Drerup (pedal steel, electric guitar and vocals) & Anna Ruddick (bass).
The album was produced by a favourite Canadian singer-songwriter of mine Jim Bryson who’s solo album from last year was featured in my Best of 2016.
Stand-out tracks include ‘The Day the Mountain Fell’, a true story Amanda’s grandfather told her about a second cousin in the 1950s who became known in media reports as a “miracle child”. This after surviving a landslide near Mount Hays in northern British Columbia, the flow of rock having lifted her crib above the debris. ‘The Wolf of Time’ inspired by an image Amanda’s grandfather invoked to remind people to get on with their dreams, was written following the recent death from leukemia of Amanda’s close friend and musical collaborator Fraser Holmes, aged 28.
Many of the other songs are deeply personal and vulnerable reflections on the end of Amanda’s troubled long-term relationship and the unique struggles faced when two women – socialized to be kind, avoid conflict and solve problems by talking them out – stay in a relationship that was doomed from the start because nobody wants to be mean enough to end it, and everyone wants to believe they can work it out if they just try hard enough – ‘Time to Land’ is about repeating the same relationship patterns over and over again and expecting a different result – and about deciding to let those patterns go.
In contrast, ‘Blood from a Stone’ is Amanda’s “F-You song”, her version of ‘You Oughta Know’.
For the song ‘Red Dress’, Amanda enlisted support from Juno Humanitarian Award winner Chantal Kreviazuk for a powerful statement about the role of intergenerational trauma and oppression in the crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG).
Written in a single evening and set to a gorgeous video featuring dancer Aria Evans, the song is, in part, a reaction to those who blame the victims themselves for the murders and disappearances – without considering how perceived “high risk behaviors” such as sex work or substance abuse are the direct result of Canada’s decades-long attempt at cultural genocide.
With ‘Red Dress’, Amanda makes the personal political, reflecting on how each disappeared woman has both a story of family struggle and a world of potential that was taken away.
Wed 11 Launceston, Cornwall, No. 8 Café
Thu 12 Colyford, Devon, The Wheelwright Inn
Fri 13 Torquay, Midwinter Festival
Sat 14 Lewes, The Con Club
Sun 15 Belfast, The Black Box, Out to Lunch Festival
Tue 17 London, Green Note with Robbie Cavanagh
Thu 19 Sheffield, Cafe # 9
Fri 20 Haile, Cumbria,m, Haile Village Hall
Sat 21 Cockermouth, Cumbria, Wild Zucchini
Mon 23 Edinburgh, Traverse Theatre
Tue 24 Cottingham, East Yorkshire, The Back Room
Sat 28 South Woodchester, The Convent
Sun 29 Marnhull, Dorset, Marnhull Village Hall
Tue 31 Norwich , The Bicycle Shop
Fri 3 Bewdley, Worcs.St. George’s Hall
Sat 4 Kirton-in-Lindsey, Lincs.Town Hall
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