CD Review: Amanda Allman (Amanda Allman)
Amanda Allman is Chris Allman’s daughter-in-law; she married his son, Dustin Allman (of Friday Night Revival fame), about a year ago. This self-titled debut project was produced by Chris Allman; Gerald Wolfe played piano and was the session leader for the tracking session.
With seasoned hands like these at the helm, guiding the Crossroads Studios team, the album has a major-label level of production quality. The style is middle-of-the-road. Most of the tracks would fit at home stylistically on a Greater Vision table project (e.g. The Ones that Got Away); there are middle-of-the-road songs, songs with a hint of traditional country, and two songs (“Things are Different Now” and “I’m Free”) add more electric guitar to the mix for a less acoustic feel.
“I’m Free” is the same song recorded by The Talleys on their 1999 Life Story album, as a Lauren Talley feature. (It was written by Chris Allman). On this song and a couple of others, Amanda’s voice has a touch of Lauren-esque soul. Her voice seems to be at its strongest, though, on slow and mid-tempo songs; her tone here is more like Olivia Collingsworth or Courtney Collingsworth Metz, with a little more country twang.
Interestingly, the background vocals are all done by Allmans—by Chris and his sister, Robin Allman Riggins. One of the album’s highlights is an Amanda/Chris duet on “God on the Mountain.” Their mellow take is dramatically different from either the McKameys or Lynda Randle versions, but works quite well.
Though the album has its uptempo moments, by and large, it doesn’t seem to be the sort of album that would leave you at risk of speeding on your morning commute. It’s an enjoyable and relaxing listening experience.
Credits: Produced by Chris Allman. Project coordinator: Dustin Allman. Session leader: Gerald Wolfe. Musicians: Gerald Wolfe (piano/keyboard), David Johnson (acoustic guitar, mandolin, fiddle, steel guitar, harmonica), Jeremy Medkiff (bass guitar, electric guitar), Tony Creasman (drums, percussion), Milton Smith (Hammond B-3, orchestrations). Background Vocals: Chris Allman, Robin Allman Riggins. Engineered and mixed by Scott Barnett and Van Atkins at Crossroads Studios in Arden, NC.
Song List (songwriters in parentheses): I Lean On You (Dawn Thomas); I’m Free (Chris Allman); God On The Mountain (Tracy Dartt); That’s Why He Died (Chris Allman); Too Late For Lazarus (Daryl Williams); Jesus Saves (Chris Allman); Tears Fall (Chris Allman); Things Are Different Now (Chris Allman); That’s God’s Job (Rodney Griffin); I Will Praise Him (Margaret J. Harris).